|Ending is quick for OC |
|Posted: Thursday, May 3, 2012 6:15 am |
By RANDY CAVIN
Obion Central’s disappointing 2012 baseball season came to a fitting close.
The Rebels bowed out of the District 13AA Tournament Tuesday night, losing the first-round play-in game at South Gibson 6-3.
OC’s campaign ended with just seven wins in 24 games.
A game-ending pop-up with two on and two out in the top of the seventh seemed liked an appropriate end to what began as a promising season for the Rebels — only to see head coach Chris Smith relieved from his coaching duties with two weeks left in the regular season with no one specific reason given by school administration.
Assistant coach Justin Truett was named interim skipper in the aftermath of that decision and spoke of the adversity the program had undergone this spring after Tuesday’s season-end loss.
“This team has been through a lot this season,” insisted Truett, who was 1-6 during his time in charge. “With the change of coaches, the ups and downs in the season, you find out a lot about yourself just by adversity. Sometimes you learn more about yourself in times of being down than in times of being up.”
“When I lose a ballgame I feel like I have learned more about myself and my team than I do when I win.”
The Rebels showed how much they wanted to win Tuesday night by continuously trying to make diving catches in the outfield and getting base hits, but they could not get the big hits when they needed them. Instead it was the Hornets making the plays when they needed to.
Central out-hit South Gibson 11-to-6, but four walks and four batters hit by a pitch gave the Hornets too many free passes to the base paths.
Things did not start out well for the Rebels. They had bases loaded with two outs in the top of the first only to see the inning come to an end with no runs scored on a strikeout.
Starting pitcher Camden Napper hit the first batter he faced in the bottom of the first inning. That base runner and one other scored on C.J. Jackson’s triple to put the Hornets up 2-0.
Central scored in the third inning when Tanner Cary came around on Trey Phipps’ ground-rule double. Phipps scored after Mitch Arnett reached on an error by the pitcher to make it a 2-2 game.
The Hornets scored three times in the bottom of the inning to make it a 5-2 game. The first five batters reached base on three hits, one batter hit by a pitch and a walk.
The Rebels’ final run of the game and of the season came in the top of the fourth when Jordan Smith scored on Tanner Cary’s infield pop-up that fell between the shortstop and second baseman.
The Hornets added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning on Cameron Meador’s base hit that scored Mitch Langley from third.
The Rebels sent the tying run to the plate with two on twice in the top of the seventh, but they ended up stranding both base runners.
Truett was disappointed the way the season went — not for him — but for the players.
“I hate it for the way the season went and I hate it for the boys more than anything,” Truett said. “It is a good group of seniors and a good group of kids in general. Ever since I have been the interim head coach they have done everything I have asked them to do. They responded real well. They will be successful men in the community.”
Cary ended up with three hits and drove in a run, while Phipps, Napper and Jordan Smith all had two base knocks.
Napper was the losing hurler, giving up five runs in two-plus innings before being relieved by Colton Woodward, who surrendered just two hits and one walk in four frames.
Published in The Messenger 5.2.12