Warren County blew through Rhea County and plucked the Golden Eagles in a best-of-three series in the District 6AAA semifinals to put them in the championship game versus the Cookeville Cavaliers on Wednesday night.
Pioneer junior Will Lupo took the hill for Warren County and his time was short-lived. Lupo allowed five runs off four hits and four walks. Lupo couldn’t settle into a rhythm and his night ended in the second inning. Freshman pitcher Tyler Prater came in and he threw the remainder of the game. Prater allowed no runs, one hit, and walked three and the Pioneer defense helped both pitchers when caught in a jam.
Taisei Yasunaga, who has been hot as of late, led Warren County with two doubles and an RBI. Tristan Reish, Nick Williamson, and Colby Elkins also had base hits for the Pioneers.
In the first inning, Chayse Frye walked to put the first man on for Warren County. Frye stole second base. Two pitches later Frye got another good jump and an error by the Cavalier catcher on the throw allowed him to cross the plate, 1-0.
Lupo got into trouble early and walked the first two Cavalier batters he faced. It got worse from there as Cookeville took a 4-1 lead after the first.
In the second, Elkins singled to right field. Reish singled to center field and Elkins held up at third base. Williamson hit a line-drive to center field as well and Elkins scored to make it a 4-2 game. Jordan Tidwell sacrificed and Reish advanced home to get within one run at 4-3 and Williamson went down to second base. Yasunaga blasted his first double of the game at just the right time. He scored Williamson and just like that, the game was locked at 4-4.
The Cavaliers were not going to roll over and the Pioneers knew there was still work to do. Cookeville drew another lead-off walk which brought out coach Childs for the second time and Lupo’s night was over. Prater entered the game and after a couple of singles a Cavalier run crossed the plate off a fielder’s choice for a 5-4 lead. Prater took a deep breath and induced a double play to end the inning without any further damage.
Things looked promising in the top of the fifth when Yasunaga smashed his second double of the game to lead-off. On a ground ball to second base Yasunaga reached third after the out at first base. Rogers hit a shot right at third base with Yasunaga headed for home and the Cavalier fired the ball right back to home just before Yasunaga could score to nail him at the plate. A strikeout ended the inning.
That was the Pioneers best chance of scoring the rest of the way as Cookeville held on for a 5-4 win.
Warren County finished its season 7-3 in the district and advanced to the regional tournament versus East Hamilton on May 11.