Tuesday night was supposed to be a celebration for six Warren County High School baseball seniors, but it was the Coffee County Red Raiders who walked off Patrick Ramsey Field with their hands raised high.
The Red Raiders spoiled senior night with a 5-2 win, claiming the No. 2 seed in the District 6-AAA tournament in the process.
Warren County (13-15) wanted to send Daulton Foster, Alex Hillis, Jeremiah Lance, David Lee, Kyle Rutledge and Mitchell Steiner out with a huge victory over their district rival, but Coffee County didn’t go along with the plan. Instead, the Red Raiders built a 4-0 lead in the first two innings and held on for a win that had a huge impact leading into next week’s district tournament.
With a win, the Pioneers would’ve claimed the No. 2 seed and played host to the first game of a three-game series against the Red Raiders. Instead, Coffee County will get the coveted home-field advantage in game one Monday, along with home field if the series goes to game three.
The Red Raiders gained home field by sweeping the Pioneers in a two-game series Monday and Tuesday. Coffee County won an 11-7 slugfest at home Monday on its senior night, then took home another senior night victory Tuesday.
Coffee County scored in the top of the first off Lee, who started on senior night and pitched only one inning. The Red Raiders added three more runs in the second as Rutledge entered in relief and pitched the rest of the game for the Pioneers.
Rutledge settled down after a shaky second inning and held Coffee County scoreless until the seventh, but the Warren County offense didn’t capitalize with runs until the sixth inning.
Steiner, who earned the start at catcher on senior night, brought around Park Hilliard with a two-out single to put the Pioneers on the board.
Leading 4-1, Coffee County got an insurance run in the seventh inning as Peyton Meeker singled to start the inning, then proceeded to steal second and third base. Meeker came in to score on an error, making it 5-1.
The Pioneers mounted a final rally in the seventh inning. Lee Carden came into the game and immediately made an impact with a lead-off double. Lance, earning his first career varsity start, brought Pioneer fans to their feet with a single to score Carden.
The excitement was short lived though. Logan Underhill followed by drilling a ball to second base as Lance took off. The Coffee County second baseman leapt and snagged the ball, then tossed to first for a double play.
Hilliard followed with his third hit, but a two-out rally wasn’t to be as Hillis grounded out to end the game.
Rutledge and Lance each had two hits on senior night, while Foster and Steiner finished with one hit apiece.
The Pioneers will have the weekend off before the District 6-AAA tournament begins Monday. For more information, check Sunday’s Southern Stan-dard.