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Tussle at the top
WCHS, Rhea County battle for district lead
Pioneer Cole Estes beats the tag Monday as the Pioneers took on the Rhea County Golden Eagles at home.

Warren County dealt visiting Rhea County its first district loss, 5-4, Monday night at Patrick Ramsey Field, taking one more step to topping the standings with a win Tuesday on the road.
“I thought we came out and played a great game. Rhea is a tough team and we needed to come out and set the tone,” said Pioneer coach Adam Childs. “I think we did that from the beginning. Brooks (Helton) threw really well and we got some timely hitting. I thought our defense played really well also.”
There were some tense moments in the top of the seventh as Warren County (11-8, 6-2) held a 5-2 lead after six. The Golden Eagles didn’t give up easily.
Rhea County scored 2 runs, 5-4, with two outs after a big double by Braxton Dieckhaus and was starting to apply the pressure when a fly ball to Cole Estes in right field was caught for the final out.
After practicing all weekend in the Demarini Classic in Maryville to keep the bats warm, the Pioneers started Monday’s game on the right foot, taking advantage of some errors by the Golden Eagles and scoring 2 runs in the bottom of the second inning, as Helton controlled the mound with 4 strikeouts in the first 2 innings.
In the bottom of the second, Lucas Rogers’ ground ball was mishandled putting him on first, followed by a single by Helton on a hard ground ball to left field. Peyton Norris came in for Helton and a bunt by Isaac Golden scored Rogers on an error by Rhea County, 1-0.
Wesley Jennings grounded into a fielder’s choice scoring Norris, 2-0, before ending the inning with bases loaded as the Golden Eagles dodged a bullet.
A pitching battled ensued as both teams left runners on base until the bottom of the fourth as Jennings singled, Ethan Smith walked and Taisei Yasunaga singled to load the bases again for the Pioneers. A single by Cole Estes drove in Jennings and Smith, 4-0, and a Colby Elkins ground out scored Yasunaga, 5-0, before the end of the inning.
With a 5-run lead and Helton still on the mound, the Golden Eagles were retired quickly off three ground balls after getting one hit. Warren County didn’t have time to do much in the bottom of the inning with two fly outs and one pop up that was caught by the center fielder.
Rhea County wasn’t giving up. In the top of the sixth the Golden Eagles scored two runs off a double by Lane Keylon, making it 5-2 going into the seventh after Warren County got three outs in four at-bats in the bottom of the inning which led to the critical seventh-inning action where the Pioneers held off the Golden Eagles for the win.
Helton earned the win for Warren County, throwing for 7 innings, giving up 4 runs, 9 hits and 6 strikeouts.
Taisei Yasunaga led the Pioneers going 3-for-4 at the plate. The Pioneers didn’t commit a single error in the field.
Also getting 1 hit during the contest for Warren County were Estes (2 RBIs), Elkins (1 RBI), Helton and Jennings (1 RBI).
The Pioneers visited Rhea County on Tuesday night to see who would top the district leader board. Results were not available at press time.