Tigers reach District 3-A title game

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Blue Devils, Green Wave eliminated after format change

By Goose Lindsay, Sports Editor

After seeing Monday’s and Tuesday’s action in the District 3-A Baseball Tournament cancelled due to weather, the decision was made to do away with the traditional double elimination format and go to a single elimination format for the four teams left standing.

That put a lot of pressure on Wednesday’s semifinals, and at the end of the day the district cochampion Rockwood Tigers and Grace Christian Academy Rams would pick up wins to advance to Thursday’s District 3-A Championship Game.

Grace Christian took the field first and picked up an 11-0 victory over Midway while Rockwood held off Harriman, 5-2.

Besides earning a spot in the title game, the Tigers and Rams also secured a spot in next week’s Region 2-A Tournament. The winner of Thursday’s game will play at home Monday against the runner-up from District 4-A while Thursday’s loser must travel to the District 4-A champion.

Midway vs. Grace Christian

Midway’s Zach Edwards led off Wednesday’s game with a single, but that was about all the good news for Midway as the Green Wave would not get another hit on the night.

Midway would pick up just three base runners the rest of the way as Shandon Lyle walked in the second inning, Hayden Hester walked in the fourth, and Jacob Shanahan walked in the fifth for the Green Wave.

Grace Christian took the lead for good with a run in the bottom of the first inning. The Rams added three runs to their tally in the second inning before blowing things open with seven runs in the bottom of the fourth.

Harriman vs. Rockwood

On one hand Wednesday, Rockwood ace Jared Breazeale was wild as he walked nine batters and hit another.

But on the other hand, Breazeale was overpowering as the right-handed senior struck out a career-high 16 batters and allowed only three hits in Rockwood’s 5-2 victory.

Two of Harriman’s hits came in the top of the first inning as back-to-back singles from Chris Works and Chase Randolph gave the Blue Devils runners on second and third with one out, but a fly out and strikeout would end the threat with no runs crossing the plate.

Rockwood also had two hits in the first inning, but their hits turned into runs. Hunter Grant singled and Riley Clem walked to start the inning and both would score on a two-out single from Breazeale.

The Tigers made it 3-0 without the aid of a hit in the bottom of the second inning. Three walks would load the bases before Matt Cofer scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Tavin Napier.

After leaving a pair of runners on base in each of the first two innings, Harriman suffered their most frustrating inning of the night in the third. Works walked and Randolph singled to start the inning, but a pair of strikeouts and a ground ball to second would again leave the goose-egg on the scoreboard for the Blue Devils.

The score remained 3-0 until the Tigers added a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Clem, Napier and Hayden Freels singled to load the bases then the Breazeale brothers, Jared and Jordan, drove in runs to make the score 5-0.

Down but not out, Harriman battled back and made things interesting before the game ended.

A pitch hit Chase Hamby to start the sixth inning and he scored on a ground out from Bobby Jackson to make the score 5-1.

Works, Randolph and Brantley Diggs walked in succession to start the seventh inning, and that brought the potential tying run to the plate, but only a stolen base of home from Works would be Harriman’s only run as Breazeale ended the game with three straight strikeouts.

 Clem (2-2, 2 runs) and Jared Breazeale (2-3, 3 RBIs) had multiple hits for Rockwood on the day while Randolph (2-3) and Works (1-2, 3 SBs, 1 run) led Harriman in defeat.