Jasper, Tenn. – The Whitwell High School Tigers made a short trip to Jasper to take on the Marion County High School Warriors in a midday diamond duel. The Warriors were looking to shed a three-game skid after piecing together a four-game winning streak before that. Whitwell was riding going two for their last three games won, including batting practice against district rival Van Buren “squeaking” by with an 18-3 victory. However, the fates proved to be with the home team as the Warriors went up early and held that enough to come out with a 6-3 victory.
Brayden Abney filled the role of king of the hill pitching for the Warriors. Abney gave up one hit in the first, but fielded his way to three outs to bring the Warriors to the plate. Next, Bryce Weeks waited out a 1-out walk and stole second. Then, Abney successfully ran out a dropped, two-out third strike while Weeks made his way to third, putting runners on the corners for the Warriors. Finally, Nick Hoback would wait out four straight balls to walk to first after Abney stole second, trying to bait a throw to second to, maybe, score weeks.
Brody Schaefer came to the plate with a two-out, bases-loaded scenario. Schaefer took advantage of an error to squeeze out a double, scoring Weeks and Abney and pushing Hoback to third. Carson Keeler came up facing the same ominous two-out, baserunners in scoring position situation and whacked a 2-2 pitch right in the right field gap to get Schaefer and Hoback across the plate for the 4-0 lead.
The Tigers weren’t too shaken as Whitwell’s Hunter Cookston came up and knocked a leadoff single. Pinch runner Xander Morgan came in for Cookston. Morgan got to second off a Garrett Miller sacrifice and then exploited a wild pitch to get to third. Talan Beason fired a 1-0 pitch up the middle and sacrificed to get Morgan across the plate for the first dent in the scoring deficit with Whitwell trailing 4-1.
Colby Elwood returned to the mound for Whitwell and tossed a three-pitch strikeout to start the bottom of the second against the Warriors. MCHS’s Brody Weeks popped the first pitch he saw for a single and stole second, while Brody Weeks waited for a four-straight pitch walk. Luke Tipton sacrificed a hit to the infield to put a Weeks on second and third, but with two outs. Warrior Abney came up and earned a base the hard way as a pitch struck him to load the bases, again with two outs. Hoback took the second pitch across the infield bringing Brody Weeks across the plate for a 5-1 lead over the Tigers and advancing the other runners for a bases-loaded, two-out event for Brody Schaefer…again. And, again, Schaefer delivered with a single, sending Bryce Weeks across the plate for the 6-1 lead in the second inning. Thanks to a sacrifice fly by Tiger Jacob McCurry, Whitwell got Brayden Riley across the plate to help close the gap 6-2 with the next at-bat. Then, again, on a successful McCurry single in the fifth, Tiger Riley crossed the plate to bring the final 6-3 score. Both teams wore the mantel of stranded runners throughout the game’s balance.
Marion County’s Schaefer led the way for the Warriors, going 2-for-4 at the plate with an RBI and a run of his own, closely followed, if not tied with Carson Keeler, also going 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Whitwell’s Jacob McCurry went 2-for-4 from the plate with two RBIs, and Talan Beason would go 1-for-3 with one RBI for the Tigers. The Tigers are looking to fare better on their home field as they host the Warriors the following night.