The Warren County High School baseball team broke an 11-year streak Monday when the Pioneers played a regional-tournament game for the first time since 2001.
The 2001 team ran into a Dan Uggla-led Columbia team and lost, so this year’s squad will be trying to do something that hasn’t happened in 14 years.
The 1998 team was the last Warren County baseball team to claim a regional title, but Warren County (21-17) hopes to end the 14-year streak after the team won its way into the regional championship Monday, beating the District 5-AAA tournament champion Ooltewah Owls 4-3 in nine innings.
Following the game, some Owl fans took offense to the Pioneers celebrating on their home field. Shouts of “act like you’ve been there before,” could be heard from the stands.
Well, the 2012 Pioneers haven’t been there before. Most of the current Pioneers had yet to enroll in school when the 1998 team won.
Inexperience in big games hasn’t been a problem for Warren County though. With first-year head coach Adam Childs pushing all the right buttons, the Pioneers won a best-of-three series against Coffee County to make regionals.
Warren County pulled out all the stops Monday to defeat the Owls and were greeted with good news following the game when the final from Cookeville was announced.
Walker Valley’s 13-2 victory over the Cavaliers meant Warren County wouldn’t need a bus to get to its next game. The lights at Patrick Ramsey Field will be on tonight to play host to the regional finals.
Coach Childs told his team that tonight’s game is very important, despite the fact the Pioneers will play again Friday win or lose.
“We really want this regional championship,” said Childs. “We’ve already made it further than any team in our district, but we can’t be satisfied. We have to continue to play well.”
For Warren County to have a chance to clinch a state-tournament berth at home, the Pioneers will need to win tonight against Walker Valley.
The Mustangs come into the game with a 25-11 record. Walker Valley put up 13 straight runs against Cookeville to advance to the regional finals.
Walker Valley got an outstanding season from senior Bobby Towne to make the regionals.
Towne was dominant on the mound, posting a 0.83 ERA and winning every regular-season start. He also leads off for the Mustangs and owns an impressive .483 on-base percentage.
Warren County may not see Towne on the mound tonight though. The senior ace pitched an inning against Cookeville. Matthew Simmons, a left-handed curveball specialist, also pitched against the Cavaliers.
The Pioneers’ option at pitcher looks to be senior Derek Brumley. Senior starters Logan McCormack and Micah McColloch each pitched against the Owls, leaving Brumley as the probable starter tonight. Brumley has a 4-4 record this season.
Tonight’s game will start at 6 p.m. and Warren County fans are encouraged to wear royal blue.