Tigers, Devils fail to grab upper hand in 3-A race

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By Goose Lindsay, Sports Editor

The Rockwood Tigers and Harriman Blue Devils met two times earlier this week with the hopes of taking the early lead in the race for District 3-A supremacy. 

Neither team, however, could gain that advantage as Rockwood won Monday at home, 6-4, only to see Harriman defend their home turf Wednesday evening, 8-1.

Both teams hit the field again this weekend as Harriman hosts Clinton on Saturday while the Tigers host Wartburg on Friday.

Both teams return to district play next Monday and Tuesday.

Rockwood hosts Greenback on Monday before visiting the Cherokees on Tuesday while Harriman hosts Grace Christian Academy on Monday before visiting the Rams on Tuesday in what is the biggest games of the week in District 3-A.

Monday’s Game

A fast start and a strong finish were the keys to victory Monday as Jake Witter’s squad scored the first four runs of the game then the all-important final two in a 6-4 victory over the Blue Devils.

Rockwood took advantage of some Harriman miscues in grabbing a 3-0 lead in the first inning of play.

Jared Breazeale walked to start the bottom of the first inning for Rockwood then Isaac Allen singled to keep things going. Lucas Jolley then reached on an error before Hayden Freels singled to give the Tigers the three-run lead.

A pitch later in the frame hit Riley Clem, but Harriman escaped the inning by leaving the bases loaded.

The Tigers made it 4-0 with another run in the second inning. Allen doubled with one out and worked his way around the bases to add to Rockwood’s lead.

Harriman, however, didn’t go away quietly.

In the third inning, Cody Barnard singled and Mark Chesser walked before Cory Webb singled with one out to cut Rockwood’s lead to 4-2.

Harriman pulled even in the top of the fourth inning thanks to a towering two-run home run off the bat of Ryne Goldston. Chris Works had singled and was on board for Goldston’s jack.

The game stayed tied until the bottom of the sixth inning, but that’s when the Tigers used a little two-out magic to secure the victory.

With two outs and none on, Breazeale doubled and Allen singled as Rockwood took a 5-4 lead. Collin Smith added an RBI double to make the score 6-4.

Barnard would single for the Devils in the top of the seventh inning, but there would be no two-out magic for Harriman to extend the game.

Allen led Rockwood’s offense on the day as he went three-for-four with a double and three runs scored.

Breazeale picked up the victory on the mound as he pitched all seven innings, allowing six hits and one walk while striking out nine.

Barnard and Corey Webb each had a pair of hits for Harriman in the loss.

Wednesday’s Game

Wednesday’s rematch wasn’t nearly as dramatic as the Blue Devils rode the right arm of Barnard to victory. Barnard tossed a complete-game seven-hitter with two walks and 11 strikeouts.

Harriman gave Barnard all the runs support he would need in the bottom of the first inning as Webb blasted a two-run homer off the foul pole in left field. Chase Randolph had reached on an error earlier in the frame and scored on Webb’s blast.

Harriman made it 3-0 with another run in the bottom of the second inning.

Tyler Stubbs singled with one out and scored on a two-out triple from Barnard to give the Devils the three-run lead.

Harriman continued the assault with two more runs in the third inning.

Works reached on an error and scored on a double from Tyler Dishman then Dishman scored on a double from Goldston as the Devils held a 5-0 lead.

Harriman blew things open with three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Harriman picked up just one hit in the inning, but three hit batters and two walks allowed Randolph, Works and Dishman to all score in giving the Devils an 8-0 lead.

Rockwood avoided the shutout with a run in the top of the fifth inning. 

Breazeale singled to start the inning for the Tigers and he scored on a one-out single from Smith.

Webb (2-4, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 1 run), Works (2-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 runs) and Goldston (2-3, 1 2B, 2 RBIs) all had multiple hits for Harriman.

 Breazeale (2-4, 1 run) had multiple hits for Rockwood.