Last week was about firsts for the Warren County Middle School baseball team and coach David Martin.
The Pioneers and coach Martin picked up their first win of the season on Thursday by defeating Coffee County 4-3, then followed it up with their first winning streak Friday when they beat White County 3-2.
Both games followed a similar story line, as Merek McColloch came through with big doubles and Collin Smedley got the outs his team needed in the clutch.
Thursday’s game nearly wasn’t even played, but WCMS got an assist from Warren County High School. The Pioneers and Coffee County battled at Patrick Ramsey Field, giving the middle school players their first taste of playing on the high school field.
McColloch looked very comfortable on the mound, as he pitched 6 1/3 innings and struck out four batters while allowing three runs.
Even with McColloch holding his own, the Pioneers still found themselves down 2-0 entering the fifth inning. McColloch would take matters in his own hands to gain the lead.
After Will Sweeton began the inning by reaching on an error, the Pioneers next two batters were retired. Chayse Frye, who went 3-for-3, came through with a two-out RBI single to put Warren County on the board. It was followed by a single from Jordan Tidwell, who finished with two hits.
McColloch brought both of his teammates in with a double into the gap, giving Warren County a 3-2 lead. Wesley Parkhurst scored McColloch with a single, giving the Pioneers a two-run advantage.
The extra run would come up big, as McColloch was touched up for a run in the top of the seventh before coach Martin made the pitching change to Smedley.
Smedley inherited a runner on first, but he promptly dispatched the Coffee County runner. Smedley picked off the Red Raider, who had ventured a bit too far from first base.
After allowing a single, Smedley got the next batter to ground to shortstop Brock Majors. Majors flipped the ball to second, then the celebration started.
The momentum of the big win would carry over to Friday, as Warren County moved back to its field at Warren County Middle School to play White County.
In a make-up game, Tristan Reish pitched brilliantly for 6 1/3 innings and McColloch and Smedley once again came through in the clutch.
Reish was equally as good in the batter’s box as he was on the mound against the Warriors. Reish finished 3-for-4 and ignited a rally in the bottom of the fifth to put his team up for good.
Trailing 1-0, Reish singled to begin the inning, then swiped second base to put the tying run in scoring position. Majors moved Reish to third on a sacrifice bunt, then White County pitched around Frye.
Frye walked and stole second, putting two runners on for McColloch. It was deja vú for the Pioneers, as McColloch doubled into the left-field gap to give Warren County a 2-1 lead.
Smedley would come through with an RBI single in the sixth inning to give the Pioneers a two-run cushion going into the seventh.
Reish, who struck out eight batters and allowed only two runs, ran into trouble in the seventh. The Pioneers committed an error to allow a runner on, then Reish walked another batter after getting one out.
With two runners on, coach Martin turned the game over to Smedley. Smedley got the second out of the inning, but White County scored on the ground out to close to within one.
With the tying run sitting on third base, Smedley struck out a White County batter looking to preserve the 3-2 win and gave the Pioneers a two-game winning streak.
Warren County will try to keep its momentum going this week when they compete in the Central Tennessee Conference Tournament. The Pioneers will travel to Coffee County Tuesday to take part in the play-in game.
With a win, Warren County advances to the double-elimination portion of the CTC tournament. A loss would end the season. Tuesday’s game will begin at 6 p.m.