By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support local journalism.
Roberts pitches shutout in tournament opener
Layne Roberts Getting the Sign 5-7.jpg
Junior Pioneer pitcher Layne Roberts looks for the sign from his catcher Friday night. Roberts gave senior catcher Braden Bottoms credit for calling a good game. Warren County shut out Stone Memorial, 5-0. - photo by Brad Durham

Layne Roberts pitched another virtuoso shutout Friday night to help seal the Pioneers first 2021 district tournament win 5-0 over Stone Memorial on Warren County’s home field. 

It was Roberts’ third shutout of the season. Jace Brantley hit his fourth home run of the season to get the scoring started for Warren County. Braden Bottoms and Wyatt Wilson made bunts that helped the Pioneers move base runners and score runs.

The home team only had four hits, and one of the big hits was Kason Holder’s standup triple to right field that scored his brother, Ryland Holder, who had hustled and gotten on base with a Stone Memorial error. Ryland Holder also stole second base, and he flew home from there on his brother’s triple. 

The Pioneers had five errors, which were mainly on mishandled balls in the infield. This is something Warren County usually cannot afford when in a tight district tournament battle. 

Fortunately, the Pioneers had big hits and strategic bunts that helped capitalize on four Stone Memorial errors.

The game was not sloppy, and in the early innings, the game was essentially a pitching duel until Brantley put the Pioneers on the scoreboard in the fourth with his home run. 

One thing WCHS coach Phillip King mentioned after the game is how his team has made big hits with two strikes. One example was Kason Holder’s triple with two strikes in the count, which demonstrated how intensely the Pioneers competed.


HEAD COACH COMMENTS

Coach King was pleased with Layne Roberts pitching performance and the tenacity of his ball club. King said, “Layne did a great job. We knew that he would go out there and compete like he has the last few times he has pitched. That is why he is our No. 1 guy. We did not play a lot of great defense behind him. We were able to pick ourselves up and get out of innings even though we gave them some baserunners. Hats off to those guys (Stone Memorial)."

"We had not seen that guy who pitched for them tonight in our games against them this district season. When Jace hit the home run, that got us going. That puts more energy in the dugout,” King said.


PLAYER COMMENTS

Westen Wilson hustled on the base paths, had an RBI, and he had some big plays at second base. After the game, Wilson said, “We came in prepared. I did not feel as though there was any pressure. Layne gave us a great outing, and we just kind of floated along offensively. Jace hit the home run, and that broke it open.”

Layne Roberts spoke about his pitching performance. Roberts said, “That is three shutouts for the season. Two shutouts against Stone and one against Cookeville, all in district play. I am not going to lie. I was kind of nervous before the game. Tournament play is a different atmosphere. I just pitched where Braden called it, and he calls a pretty good game. He knows what he is doing. I was surprised when Braden put down a bunt. When Braden can lay down a bunt, it is a good day.”

There is a saying in baseball, “women like the long ball,” and Jace Brantley asked if that was motivating him. Brantley responded, “Yes, 100%.” Brantley has been seen after games talking to several young female students. 

Brantely was asked about junior pitcher Layne Roberts, and he replied, “He’s our ace. He goes out there with some funky stuff. His fastball is pretty good. He gets the job done for us every single time. It was a fun game. We started out slow, but we picked it up in the middle. My favorite part of the home runs is probably how it gets the offense started. I knew it was gone tonight when I saw the flight of the ball. I wanted to hear it hit the wall and make that ka-ching sound.”


PIONEER HITTERS

Ty Martin 2, Jace Brantley 1 and Kason Holder 1. Jace Brantley hit a home run. Producing RBIs were Kason Holder 1, Jace Brantley 1, Westen Wilson 1 and Braden Bottoms 1.


PIONEER PITCHER

Layne Roberts pitched a shutout with 4 strikeouts and gave up 2 hits and no runs. Roberts pitched a complete game of 7 innings.


SEASON RECORD,

NEXT GAMES

The win Friday night gave the Pioneers a 21-11 season record. They played Stone Memorial in Crossville on Saturday. If the Pioneers won, they will next play Tuesday in the district championship game. If the Pioneers lost Saturday, they will play Stone Memorial again in McMinnville on Monday night.

Saturday’s score will be updated on Southern Standard’s website www.southernstandard.com, as well as on our app, Facebook and Twitter. Download the Southern Standard app and follow Southern Standard Newspaper on Facebook and @sstandardnews on Twitter for updates on scores. Reach sports via email at sports@southernstandard.com.