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Pioneers open district tournament with win
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In the 6AAA district tournament, Warren County earned a first-round bye with a second-place finish in the district. The Pioneers played their first game of their best-of-three series games versus the Golden Eagles of Rhea County Monday night in McMinnville.
Warren County dropped the lead to Rhea County in the top of the third, but the Pioneers responded by reclaiming the lead and held the Golden Eagles scoreless in their final four innings at the plate. Warren County defeated Rhea County, 7-2.
Pioneer sidewinder Will Sweeton was called to take the hill. Sweeton allowed two runs and two hits, struck out three and walked two in seven innings for Warren County.
On offense, the Pioneers pounded out eight hits and drew five walks. All but two players reached base for Warren County and they seized the opportunities given to them by the Golden Eagles.
After Rhea County was retired in order in the top of the first, Warren County struck with a lead-off base knock by Taisei Yasunaga. He stole second before Lucas Rogers singled to deep center field and Yasunaga scooted around third and crossed home for a 1-0 first-inning lead.
Isaac Golden singled to left field and Roger moved down to second base. Another Warren County strikeout left the Pioneers with two on, and two out. Out three came when Warren County was caught too far off base and got picked off at second.
Rhea County started the top of the third with Sweeton hitting the lead-off batter with a pitch. The Golden Eagles laid down a sacrifice bunt toward third base and an error allowed both runners to advance but the lead runner went too far past second base and got caught in a run down for out one.
A single to center put runners on the corners with only one out. Rhea County held at third and second base after a passed ball and a single to second base scored the runner from third to tie the game at 1-1. A ground ball to third base was played to first base for out two and allowed another Rhea County run to score and the Golden Eagles claimed the lead 2-1.
Warren County responded in the bottom of the third and added three more runs to its total to take back the lead from Rhea County 4-2. Yasunga walked to lead the inning off and he advanced to second on an error by the pitcher. Chayse Frye went down swinging for out number one, followed by Rogers who was hit by a pitch. Golden was walked and the bases were full for Warren County with only one out.
Jett Urtubees went down swinging for the second out and bases were still loaded. Elkins hit a ball to second base and it was mishandled and the error allowed Yasunaga to score for a 2-2 tie. Tristan Reish walked and Rogers scored and Warren County reclaimed the lead 3-2. Nick Williamson hit a line-drive shot to right field and Golden scored from third base and Warren County took a 4-2 lead.
The fourth and fifth inning came and went and the score remained 4-2 and Rhea County could not find the answer and after coming up short in the top of the sixth inning Rhea County decided to make a pitching change.
The first batter for the new pitcher was Williamson and he drew a walk and Cole Estes entered to run for Williamson. Jordan Tidwell pulled off a sacrifice back to the pitcher and Warren County had runners at first and second base. During Yasunaga’s at-bat Estes stole third and Tidwell stole second.  Frye then smashed a double into the gap in left field and scored Estes from third for a 5-2 lead. Rogers hit a sacrifice fly and scored Tidwell and Warren County’s lead grew to 6-2. Frye who was held at second, stole third base. Golden at the plate and a passed ball allowed Frye to score from third and the Pioneers led 7-2.
Rhea County had one last at-bat and Sweeton was still throwing heat in the top of the seventh inning. Rhea County lined-out for out one and Sweeton picked up a strikeout for the second out. The third out was a red-hot shot right back at Sweeton and it popped right back into his glove for the final out of the game.
Warren County held off Rhea County for seven innings and defeated the Golden Eagles by a final score of 7-2, and leads Rhea County 1-0 as the best-of-three series heads to Rhea County for the second game held Tuesday night with results not available at press time.