With each step in the right direction, the Pioneers seem to follow with another step back.
Warren County started play in the Ooltewah Invitational Thursday with a 13-3 win over Grissom, Ala., but followed with a 16-8 loss to Ooltewah and 13-3 defeat Friday against Bradley Central.
Sustaining momentum has been an issue for the Pioneers, who have played all their games away from Patrick Ramsey Field. Warren County followed two wins in the Grand Slam Challenge with back-to-back losses. After exploding for a big victory against Grissom Thursday, the Pioneers had trouble against a pair of District 5-AAA foes - each of which could be waiting in the region tournament in May.
The return of Ethan Smith to the lineup was a big boost in the three games. The senior showed no rust at the plate despite coming into Thursday’s contests with just two plate appearances.
Smith went 4-for-6 and drew six walks to be a mainstay on the base paths. The senior scored twice and had two RBIs in the win against Grissom, then added two hits and scored three times against Ooltewah.
The victory over Grissom also featured a sterling performance from Brooks Helton. The senior picked up the win, throwing five innings and allowing just six hits while striking out three. Helton was also 2-for-3 at the dish.
Wyatt Wilson made the most of his ascension into the clean-up spot Thursday. Wilson was 3-for-8 in two contests and racked up six RBIs as the Pioneers split their matchups.
Trace Adcock, another starter getting his first significant action after dealing with an injury, had four hits in three games.
Ryland Holder kept up his blistering start at the plate with two hits and six RBIs Thursday, followed by a 1-for-2 performance against Bradley Central. Holder, one of just four players to appear in all eight games, carried a .435 average into Saturday’s games.
The results from matchups against East Hamilton and Soddy Daisy Saturday were unavailable at press time.
Warren County starts its third tournament in as many weeks Tuesday, traveling to take on Oakland in the first game of the Warrior Classic. The Pioneers are set to play their first home game Wednesday, March 27 against Glenbrook, Ill., at 7:30 p.m.