The path to a District 6AAA championship is clear for the Pioneers after a doubleheader with defending champion Cookeville.
Warren County split the matchups with the Cavaliers Wednesday at Patrick Ramsey Field, winning the first game 13-3 in five innings before dropping the night cap 7-4. The Pioneers currently lead the district with a 3-1 record, while the Cavaliers are 4-2.
If Warren County can sweep through White County and Stone Memorial, like it did a season ago, the district championship will come back to town.
For a while Wednesday, it looked like the Pioneers would put a stranglehold on the top of the standings. Warren County crushed Cookeville in the opening game, then took a 4-2 lead into the sixth inning of game two.
The Cavaliers were able to rally with five runs in the sixth, cracking the door for a tie if the Pioneers slip later in the season.
“It’s hard coming out of a doubleheader because you always have the feeling of the last game,” said coach Trice Powers. “No matter which way you look at it, it can be fool’s gold. We could’ve done better, but it could’ve been worse.
“The positive thing is our fate is in our own hands.”
Warren County’s game-breaking ability at the plate was on full display in the first matchup. The Pioneers scored eight runs in the first two innings, eventually chasing Cookeville starter Layne Dale midway through the second frame.
Brooks Helton helped usher Dale off the mound, smashing a two-run homer to put his team ahead 7-1. After Hunter Adams doubled three pitches later, the Pioneers got a look at the Cavalier bullpen.
Will Cantrell immediately responded with an RBI single, making it 8-1. Ryland Holder and Trace Adcock also had RBIs in the frame.
Holder made it 10-1 in the third, drilling a shot into right field which scored Dylan Ward and Ethan Smith.
After the Cavaliers plated two runs in the fourth, the Pioneers countered with three of their own to make it a double-digit lead. Adcock was the catalyst, roping a two-run single down the line to bring around Ward and Omari Harris.
Holder and Ward finished with three hits apiece as the team piled up 15 in the game. Helton, Adams, Cantrell and Adcock had two hits each, while Smith had one hit.
It was a complete reversal in the nightcap.
Warren County didn’t have a hit until the sixth inning, when it turned a 2-0 deficit into a 4-2 lead. Cantrell started the scoring with a two-run single before Adams took home on a passed ball to give the Pioneers the lead.
Harris added a sacrifice fly, scoring John Garrett, before Cookeville was able to escape the sixth.
Logan Sides rallied the Cavaliers in the sixth, with his bases-loaded triple proving to be the difference.
“Our lack of offense early handcuffed us late,” said Powers. “We had a chance to take hold of the district and let it slip through. We still have a lot of faith.”
The Pioneers were back in action with another doubleheader Thursday against Franklin County. See the Standard website for more details from the matchup with the Rebels.