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Pioneers suffer first loss in Rhea County
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Despite a tough battle, instead of getting lucky win No. 2, the result was snake eyes as the Pioneers took a 13-8 loss in Dayton on Wednesday, going 1-1 on the new season.
“Last night was a tough night. We didn’t have a lot go right for us but I was proud of how we kept fighting to the end. Rhea County just took advantage of their opportunities more than we did,” said Warren County High School coach Adam Childs.
The Pioneers started strong in the top of the first as Taisei Yasunaga walked to first and advanced to second on a passed ball. Cole Estes advanced Yasunaga to third with a single but got picked off stealing second and Colby Elkins got an inside-the-park home run on a fly ball to left field scoring Yasunaga, 2-0.
Warren County, still in the first having loaded the bases, as Wesley Jennings hit in Lucas Rogers with a single followed by a grounder by Ethan Smith that was mishandled by Rhea County’s second baseman giving him first base and pushing Peyton Norris home, 4-0, before Warren County went out swinging.
But the Golden Eagles responded with 2 runs in the first inning and 6 more in the second giving them a 4-run lead after two.
The Pioneers came back with two more runs in the top of the fourth as Ethan Smith singled and advanced to second by pitching error and was driven home after a bunt by Yasunaga. A sacrifice by Estes advanced Yasunaga to third and he scored before the Pioneers retired the inning two runs down, 8-6.
Rhea County rallied in the bottom of the fourth, scoring 5 runs and putting a lid on the Pioneers they couldn’t recover from, 13-6.
Warren County looked to try and rally in the seventh and with two outs, Elkins hit a line drive to left field scoring Williamson and Smith but the Pioneers, eager to get more out of the inning, got their third out after getting picked off at first, 13-8.
Despite coming up on the shorter end of the scoreboard, it was a hard-hitting contest as the Pioneers earned 8 hits and the Golden Eagles had 12.
Brooks Helton started pitching for the Pioneers throwing for 1.2 innings with 5 hits, 8 runs, 2 strikeouts and 2 walks. Tyler Prater took the mound in the middle of the second inning with 7 hits, 5 runs, 4 strikeouts and 2 walks.
Notable notes – Colby Elkins had 5 RBIs off 5 at bats.
Warren County travels to Sevierville this weekend for the Play for a Cure Tournament, where they are scheduled to play four games. Play for a Cure is a philanthropic endeavor where the Pioneer baseball team is raising money to help fight pediatric cancer. They wear yellow shoelaces as a reminder. You can find out more at: bit.ly/PioneersLaces.
 The next district action is Monday, March 20 at home against Stone Memorial. Game time is 5:30 p.m.