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Tigers win district title

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By The Staff

By GOOSE LINDSAY

Roane Newspapers

The Rockwood Tigers are once again the kings of District 3-A baseball.

The Tigers claimed that status Wednesday night with a 9-4 victory over Harriman in the District 3-A Tournament championship game. Wednesday's victory was the second over the Blue Devils in a span of 24 hours as Rockwood also defeated the Blue Devils 4-3 on Tuesday to advance to the title game.

“I'm really pleased with this group of kids,” Tiger head coach Jake Witter said following the game. “They came out tonight not satisfied with just making the region tournament. Last year we were in the same situation, but we were just happy to make the region. This year we had a different goal and I'm so happy for our juniors and seniors especially.”

Tuesday's Game

While Wednesday's game was for the title, Tuesday's game might have been the most important game of the tournament as the winner automatically qualified for next week's Region 2-A Tournament. The loser also had to turn around and win again Wednesday in the tournament's elimination game before advancing to the title game on Wednesday.

Tuesday's contest was a classic rivalry game between the Blue Devils and Tigers as the game was full of dramatic plays including a wild finish in which the Tigers tagged out a runner rounding first with the potential game-tying run almost home.

Rockwood took the lead early when Collin Smith tripled and scored on a Zach Parkinson single in the top of the second inning.

Harriman got that run back in the bottom of the inning as Ryne Goldston singled before scoring when Chris Works reached on an error.

Rockwood took the lead for good when they scored a bit of a gift run in the top of the fifth inning.

With two outs and Kyler Hagler in scoring position, Rockwood's Isaac Allen popped what appeared to be a routine fly ball on Harriman's infield. The ball, however, was lost in the lights at the Rockwood Sports Complex and by the time the Devils came up with it Allen was safe and Hagler had scored making it 2-1.

Rockwood made it 4-1 in the top of the seventh inning when another ball was lost. This time, however, the ball wasn't lost in the lights, but rather lost from view as Rockwood's Zach Allen blasted a long two-run home run over the left field fence. Brother Isaac Allen was aboard as the Tigers took the three-run lead into the bottom of the seventh inning.

Those runs proved huge as the Blue Devils didn't go away quietly.

Tyler Stubbs got Harriman's rally started by reaching safely on an error with one out then Cody Barnard walked before Tyler Dishman singled with two outs to load the bases. Trenton Catron was then hit by a pitch to make the score 4-2.

Unusual plays have highlighted the Rockwood-Harriman series over the years and Tuesday's game ended in another. Harriman's Ryne Goldston hit a grounder to second, but the throw was wide of the bag allowing Goldston to reach safely and Barnard to score making the score 4-3. However, many thought the ball had gotten away from first on the play and one of those was Goldston. He rounded the bag and headed for second when he realized Tiger 1B Trent Treadway had the ball he couldn't get back as Treadway made the tag for the third out before Dishman could score the game-tying run.

Isaac Allen (2-3, 1 RBI, 1 run) had multiple hits on the day for Rockwood while Mark Chesser (3-4) and Dishman (3-4) had multiple hits for Harriman.

Alex Bear went the distance in picking up the win. Bear allowed no earned runs on nine hits and one walk with six strikeouts.

Barnard took the loss for Harriman, allowing five hits and three walks while striking out eight.

Wednesday's Game

There wasn't as much drama Wednesday as the Tigers led from start to finish in picking up the 9-4 victory.

Rockwood took the lead for good Wednesday by scoring three runs without the aid of a hit in the top of the first inning.

Isaac Allen (walk), Zach Allen (HBP) and Lucas Jolley (error) scored the runs while Smith and Parkinson picked up the RBIs.

Harriman had a chance to cut into the lead in the bottom of the first inning as Barnard (HBP), Chesser (single) and Catron (single) all reached safely to load the bases, but Rockwood got out of the jam with no damage done.

Leaving the bases loaded and not scoring turned out to be the theme for Harriman on the night as the Blue Devils left three runners on base in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings also.

Rockwood made it 6-0 with three runs in the top of the second inning.

Treadway and Bear opened the inning with back-to-back singles then Zach Allen delivered the big blow of the inning when he launched another ball over the outfield fence.

Harriman scored all of their runs Wednesday in the bottom of the second inning.

Chris Works, Tyler Manning and Tyler Stubbs opened the inning with three straight singles then Barnard ripped a triple to make the score 6-3. Barnard later scored on a passed ball to make the score 6-4.

The score remained 6-4 until Rockwood scored again in the top of the fifth inning.

Smith doubled to lead off the inning and he eventually scored the run.

Smith also played a role in Rockwood's final two runs as he blasted a two-run homer in the top of the seventh inning. Lucas Jolley had walked earlier in the inning and was on board for Smith's blast.

Smith (2-3, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 2 runs) had multiple hits for Rockwood while Chesser (2-3) and Stubbs (2-3, 1 run) did the same for Harriman.

With the victory, Rockwood will host Oliver Springs on Wartburg or Monday in the opening round of the Region 2-A Tournament.

“I don't know who we'll play yet, but the biggest thing is that we'll be at home,” Witter said. “You always feel more comfortable at home and I expect us to play well no matter who it is we're playing.”

Harriman will also be playing Monday as the Blue Devils will play at Oliver Springs or Wartburg.