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By GOOSE LINDSAY
With no seniors on his roster, Harriman head coach Andy Adcox knew his Blue Devils might run into some trouble this week at the TSSAA Class A State Tournament in Murfreesboro. Adcox was right as his squad was eliminated after two games.
Powerful Decatur County Riverside bested the Blue Devils 16-3 in Tuesday’s tournament opener then Nashville Christian School (NCS) ended the Blue Devils season on Wednesday, 9-4.
Adcox, however, wasn’t totally disappointed with his team’s performance as he is hoping to use this year’s showing as experience for next season when everyone on Harriman’s roster returns.
“We’re disappointed, but this was a great experience for our kids,” Adcox said. “Hopefully, we can come back next year and do something. We didn’t win, but our kids didn’t quit and that’s what got them here this year. Even when we were down 9-3 in the final inning today we came out and hit the ball. Hopefully, they’ll fight like that next year.”
Harriman vs. Riverside
The 2010 TSSAA Class A State Tournament got off to a rough start Tuesday evening for the Harriman Blue Devils as Andy Adcox's squad dropped a 16-3 decision to Decatur County Riverside.
Harriman ran into trouble early as the Panthers scored two runs on three hits and an error in the top of the first inning.
The Blue Devils, however, appeared to pull even in the bottom of the first inning before a controversial call took a run of the board and left Harriman one player short the rest of the game.
Cody Barnard opened Harriman's half of the first inning with a line drive double down the left field line and that was followed by a walk to Mark Chesser. Barnard eventually scored on a single from Ryne Goldston.
Chesser moved to third on Goldston's single then Harriman rolled the dice and had Goldston take off from first and get caught in an intentional rundown. Chesser broke for home on the play and the throw would beat him to the plate, but the Harriman shortstop barreled over the Panthers catcher and was ruled safe to tie the score a 2-2.
The umpires, however, got together after the play and ruled Chesser out on the play for failing to avoid contact. Chesser was also ejected from the game.
Chesser' ejection seemed to rattle the Blue Devils as Riverside exploded for four runs on three hits and three errors in the top of the second inning.
The score remained 6-1 until Harriman rallied in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Trenton Catron started the inning by reaching safely on a dropped third strike then Goldston walked and Andrew Wampler beat out an infield single to load the bases. Chris Works followed with an RBI single, but Tyler Manning bunted into a 1-2 fielder's choice as Goldston was erased at home.
Tyler Stubbs followed with a squeeze bunt that made the score 6-3 then Barnard was intentionally walked to load the bases with two outs. The Panthers would then get out of the jam with a huge ground out.
The rest of the evening belonged to the Panthers. Riverside scored two runs in the fifth inning then the Panthers ended the game early with eight runs in the top of the sixth inning.
Barnard (2-2, 1 2B, 1 run) led the way for Harriman on offense.
Harriman vs. NCS
Coaches know in order to do well at the state tournament that you have to play well and get a couple of breaks along the way.
Harriman played much better against the Eagles Wednesday, but nothing went their way as pretty much every close call went against the Blue Devils in the five-run loss.
“We’re not going to sit here and blame anybody,” Adcox said. “There were some calls that could have went either way and they got those calls, but the biggest thing is when they got a break they took advantage of them and that’s what good teams do. The bottom line is we didn’t hit the ball well enough and score enough runs to win.”
Harriman looked good early as Barnard led off the game with a single then Trenton Catron was hit by a pitch. Tyler Dishman followed by reaching on an error that allowed Barnard to score.
The first big play of the game occurred shortly after when Catron appeared to have scored on a wild pitch, but was called out on a bang-bang play at the play, leaving the score 1-0.
Another bad break occurred in the bottom of the inning as the Eagles scored their first run of the game when a routine ground ball with two outs and a runner on second took a bad hop and resulted in NCS tying the game at 1-1.
The game remained tied until Harriman put together their best rally of the tournament.
Tyler Stubbs started the rally by beating out a bunt single then Barnard ripped a double. Catron followed with a sacrifice fly then Dishman picked up an RBI with a single as the Blue Devils grabbed a 3-1 lead.
Harriman, however, ran into a lot of trouble in the bottom of the inning as the Eagles used five hits and one walk to score three runs and take a 4-3 lead. The biggest hit came with Harriman holding a 3-2 lead with two outs and the bases loaded when the Eagles blooped a single into shallow center field that allowed two runs to score.
The rest of the contest would see Harriman’s offense struggle while the Eagles slowly pulled away. The Blue Devils picked up just one base runner in the fourth through sixth innings while NCS added five runs to their lead.
The Eagles scored two runs on three hits, one walk and one hit batter in the fifth inning before using two hits and two errors to score three more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Harriman didn’t throw in the towel though as they tried to rally in the seventh inning.
Tyler Manning led off the inning with a double and he moved to third on a single from Devan Franklin. Harriman’s rally, however, ended quickly as Stubbs hit into a double play as manning scored.
Barnard did follow with a single, but he was left on base at the end of the game.