The WCHS Pioneer baseball team got a much-needed tuneup before its district tournament starts Friday night with a 12-0 rout over Huntland.
Pioneer head coach Phillip King has some long-term friends from Huntland, and there was some time spent with friends after the game. The story of the game was that senior Omari Harris pitched well on a Senior Night for 14 seniors.
Ten seniors started for Warren County, which is possible with a DH in high school. Other seniors got into the game in various ways with the exception of injured Byran Bynum.
John Garrett played straight up at first base, and Brady Melton filled in at second base late in the game. Jared Scruggs is coming back from an injury and was held out.
Two Pioneer sluggers banged home runs. Wyatt Wilson hit a 3-run homer in the bottom of the third that scored Alec Hobbs and Ty Martin to increase Warren County’s lead to 7-0.
Jace Brantley hit his third homer of the season in the next inning that sent Kason Holder home for a commanding 11-0 lead. Garrett singled to hit Ty Martin in for the final run of the game that sealed the 12-0 victory.
The game was never in doubt, making the celebration more enjoyable for the team, parents, and relatives who wanted a good sendoff for the 14 seniors. Make no mistake, the seniors do not want the season to end. They hope to win more games starting with their first district tournament game Friday night against the winner of Thursday night’s Stone Memorial – White County game.
Coach King is going to miss the 14 seniors and he said, “This group has some talent. They play for each other. They have character, great heart, and they play with passion. It was nice to be able to honor them tonight.”
King continued, “It is a whole lot better to play than practice right now. Omari (Harris) is a guy we love. It is hard not to love him. I wanted him to get into a rhythm because we are going to need him in the district tournament. Behind him we played pretty good defense, and we swung it pretty well too. These guys are special, and we will miss them when they are gone.”
Coach Brent Whitlock talked about Omari Harris’ comments and the team. Whitlock said, “It was great. It was an awesome night … for any night. All the guys prepare every day. When your moment comes, you have to be ready. Omari was ready tonight. He had a great night. It is always great to have the next man up. We have guys who have been role guys, and their roles change. They roll with it. They do what they have to do. It is a special attribute that will take them far in life.”
Senior pitcher Omari Harris, who ended the game with a strikeout, discussed pitching against Huntland and the season. Harris said, “I felt pretty good. I wanted to go out there and throw as many strikes as possible. My teammates hit the ball really well. We got out of there in five innings. I felt as though I was getting stronger as the game went on. Today I tried to stay focused and keep the ball in the zone. Had some great memories this season. I will do whatever I can to help my teammates win. We have a great group, and everyone loves each other on this team.”
Senior Kason Holder exclaimed, “When O (Omari Harris) is on, he’s on. He’s awesome!”
Senior Braden Bottoms said, “It feels great to get a win on senior night. Omari had a great game. He probably pitched the best game he’s pitched all year. We are all brothers around here. We all get along, and we love each other. It is a brotherhood for sure. I am pretty sure all 14 seniors want to keep playing and go as far as we can. I think we are all confident going into the tournament, and confidence is key.”
Junior Layne Roberts was glad to see Omari pitch a good game. Roberts said, “I am happy. It is huge for his confidence. We need him, and he showed what he can do tonight. I love these seniors. They are like brothers to me. They will do anything for anybody. They are good guys.”
Senior Wyatt Wilson talked about his home run and the team. Wilson said, “The home run felt great. It was a fastball right down the pike. I thought I got all of it, but I wasn’t sure. It felt good off the bat, so I knew it had a chance. I was really happy because Omari has been one of our guys all season. He’s had a great year, and he pitched a heckuva game tonight. I think all of us seniors have been waiting for this moment for 15 years. We have been together, and this is what we have dreamed about. We all love each other, and we are not just here for baseball. I think we are going to go a long way.”
Seniors Ben Rivers 2, Ty Martin 2, Jace Brantley 2, Braden Bottoms 1, Kason Holder 1, Wyatt Wilson 1 and John Garrett 1. Wyatt Wilson and Jace Brantley each hit home runs. Producing RBIs were Wyatt Willson 3, Kason Holder 2, Jace Brantley 2, Ty Martin 1, John Garrett 1 and Ben Rivers 1.
Senior Omari Harris pitched 5 innings with 3 strikeouts and gave up 3 hits and no earned runs.
The Pioneers’ season record is 20-11 going into the district tournament that begins Friday night. Warren County will play the winner of the Stone Memorial – White County game that concluded on Thursday night after press time for the Southern Standard. Warren County will go on the road Saturday to play the team they play Friday night in the tournament. If necessary, Warren County will return home to play that same team again Monday. The district championship will be Tuesday at the highest seeded team, which will be the Pioneers if they win and advance in the tournament.
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