Warren County Pioneer baseball was looking for back-to-back wins, and Saturday evening their opponent was the Tullahoma Wildcats. Tullahoma scored in the first inning and continued to chip away at the Pioneer defense. Again, Warren County put runners on but had trouble getting them around the bases and the Wildcats took advantage of the situation and defeated the Pioneers 4-1.
It turned into a pitching duel, and Pioneer Will Sweeton only worked for one and one-third inning. Sweeton allowed one run off three hits and struck out one in his time on the hill. Sweeton’s time was cut short due to the postseason tournament coming up. Tyler Prater took over for Sweeton and pitched five and two-thirds innings and allowed three runs off seven hits. Prater also had one strikeout.
Just four batters into Saturday’s game and Tullahoma was on the scoreboard. A single to right field led the game off for the Wildcats. A grounder to second base for out one advanced the Tullahoma runner to second. The third batter Sweeton faced sent a line-drive right back to Sweeton and made contact with his leg and advanced the runner to third base. After being checked on by his coaches, Sweeton continued and with a full count Tullahoma hit a ground ball to shortstop for out two but Tullahoma had its first run and first lead of the game at 1-0. Sweeton retired the next batter on strikes.
Warren County started the bottom of the second with a ground ball for an out to third base. Chayse Frye hit a hard ground ball to right field but was quickly doubled up off a well hit ball to shortstop for outs number two and three.
Tullahoma picked up a lead-off hit in the top of the second inning, but it was all Warren County defense after that. The Pioneers took down Tullahoma in order to retire the side and left a Wildcat runner stranded.
The Pioneers popped up two straight batters, for a quick two outs. What followed was back-to-back singles for Warren County and for the first time the Pioneers had runners in scoring position. Out number three came after several pick-off attempts to end Warren County’s inning just as fast as it had started.
The lead-off batter for Tullahoma singled to centerfield. Isaac Golden grabbed the first out of the inning by getting a good jump on the ball. A line drive to shortstop hit the glove and dropped to the ground before a play could be made and Tullahoma had two on and one out. An attempt to steal third base drew a throw that went into the outfield and the Wildcat runner jumped up and made his way safely home for a 2-0 lead and left a runner on third base after a pop-fly for an out. With a runner on third base, a hard hit ground ball to third sent the throw right back to home where the runner slid out of the baseline for out three.
Warren County picked up a single from Frye after back-to-back outs to start the bottom of the third. Frye stole second base safely and he would not get any further after the ground ball hit sharply to third base for out number three and Tullahoma held on to a 2-0 lead after three.
The fourth and fifth innings came with little to no change and in those innings Warren County could only come away with a couple of singles and a double.
Tullahoma added a run in the top of the sixth inning off two singles that started with a single to leftfield. A sacrifice bunt advanced the runner to second base for Tullahoma. A deep fly ball to center field was caught for out two. A line-drive shot to left field scored the runner and Tullahoma took a 3-0 lead before the final out came on a pop-up to first base.
Warren County responded in the bottom of the sixth inning when Golden led-off with a single for Warren County, Golden stole second base. Colby Elkins blasted a double to deep to center field and Golden scored from second base and Tullahoma led 3-1. The two following Pioneers batters went down swinging on strikes for out two and three.
In the top of the seventh inning Tullahoma added its final run. Three consecutive singles started the Wildcats off on the path to another run and Tullahoma led 4-1.
The Pioneer defense played well enough to win if their bats would have showed up Saturday. It was just not enough offense from Warren County and the Wildcats defeated the Pioneers by a final score of 4-1 in their last home game of the 2015 regular season.