A late scoring surge turned a nail biter into a third straight victory for the Pioneers.
The WCHS baseball team scored four runs in the seventh, helping outlast the Ooltewah Owls 8-3 in the Rebel Classic. It was the seventh victory in nine games for the Pioneers, who moved their record above .500 for the first time at 9-8.
Brooks Helton threw six strong innings to earn the victory, while the Pioneer offense got on a roll in the seventh to distance themselves from the Owls.
Helton protected a 4-3 lead into the final inning, with Ethan Smith’s RBI groundout in the fourth providing the difference after the teams swapped three-run innings early.
Hoping to add some insurance runs, Warren County instead started the seventh with two quick outs.
Down to a final out, Helton decided to take matters into his own hands.
The Pioneer junior sent an 0-2 pitch into right field for a single, his second on the night and helped him raise his average to .396. Coach Trice Powers called on Tyler Hollingsworth to run for his pitcher. He’d get to stretch his legs moments later.
Jack Keele came up with a deep drive to center field, allowing Hollingsworth to come around from first to score. Keele cruised into second for a stand-up double.
Keele scored on a throwing error on the next play when Hunter Adams hit a shot to the shortstop, beating the throw to first – one that got away from the first baseman.
Will Cantrell followed with a RBI double, pushing the lead to 7-3. Another throwing error plated the eighth run, giving the Pioneers plenty of breathing room in what had been a close game going into the final inning.
Dylan Ward entered and pitched the final inning, working around two singles to close out the victory.
Rain forced a cancellation of the Pioneers’ second game in the Rebel Classic Friday.
The Pioneers are set to return to the diamond Monday in Cookeville. The District 6AAA matchup with the Cavaliers is set to begin at 6 p.m.