Early woes don’t bother UC

Early woes don’t bother UC

By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
A lesser and inexperienced team might’ve panicked.
Top seeded and veteran-laden Union City didn’t.
Down a couple of runs after committing three third-inning errors, the Golden Tornadoes hardly blinked and bounced back immediately to beat Humboldt 9-2 in the opening round of the District 14A baseball tournament at Elam Stadium.
UC (22-7) advances on to play fourth-seeded Greenfield Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at Halls in the winner’s bracket of the double elimination event. G’field edged Bradford 2-1 Thursday.
The Twisters — having sailed unbeaten through the district during the regular season to earn their No. 1 standing — scored four times in the third and then in every inning afterward to atone for a shaky frame in which they essentially gift-wrapped the Vikings’ two runs.
Clay Searcy’s two-run single tied the game at 2 before Drew Cooley put Union City in front for good with a two-RBI hit as the Tornadoes strung together four consecutive base knocks to right their ship.
UC pounded out 14 hits in all in the contest — six for extra bases.
“We have 10 seniors who’ve played a lot of baseball and several of them have started a lot of games for us,” UC head coach Jeremy Maddox said afterward. “Things couldn’t have started any worse for us. We had some bad approaches at the plate and scuffled a bit defensively in the third inning, but we reloaded and did what we needed to do to get back on track real quick.
“That’s a sign of a good baseball team, and one that has been through the wars over the past two or three years.”
Drake Parker’s two-run double in the fourth made it 6-2, while Eric Moore, Searcy and Caleb Long all later knocked in tack-on runs for the Twisters.
Maddox elected to go with No. 2 starter Cooley — instead of ace Clay Treece — and the decision paid off handsomely with a solid outing from Cooley and now Treece rested and set to start Saturday’s game.
Cooley (7-1) allowed just three singles with seven strikeouts over six innings with neither of Humboldt’s runs earned. He lowered his earned run average to 1.51 for the season. Eric Moore closed out the contest by fanning all three Viking hitters he faced in relief.
“Coach (Tracy) Bruff and I had talked about it and what was best for our team, and we just decided that Cooley deserved (the start) and didn’t hesitate to go with him. He’s 7-1 now and he’s pitched well all year and settled in nicely into our number-two spot.”
Parker, Searcy, Cooley, Treece and Moore all had two hits apiece for UC with Searcy driving in three runs in all. Parker doubled twice, while Long — who had three hits — Cooley, Treece and Christian Cousar had a two-base hit each.
Trenton 2, SF 1
Peabody (20-5) scored a run in the bottom of the sixth to break a 1-all tie and send the Red Devils to a heartbreaking loss.
South Fulton’s Ryan Prince matched the Tide’s Dylan Slayton pitch-for-pitch in a matchup of team aces. Prince (3-7) gave up five hits and a walk while striking out four.
SF actually outhit Trenton 7-5 with both Tyler Morris and Zack Vaughn going 2-for-3. Hunter Wade doubled, while both Curtis Cathey and Skylar Grissom had singles for the Redmen.
South Fulton (10-17) is scheduled to play Lake County at Halls Saturday (4 p.m.) in a win-or-else loser’s bracket game. LC lost to Halls Thursday night 2-1.
SOFTBALL
Milan 3, OC 0
Central gave up three runs in the bottom of the first and could never score itself in dropping to the loser’s bracket of the District 13AA Tournament.
The Lady Rebels (17-13-2) will now face Gibson County at 5 today at the Martin Recreation Complex and would play again at 7 against Ripley if they win Game 1. One more loss would end OC’s season.
Madison Ellis, Rachel Jones, Carly Whipple, Emily Pickard, Megen Gargus and Robin Lewis all had singles for Central in Thursday’s game that was played at Dyersburg High School.
Baylie Boucher was the losing pitcher after giving up nine hits.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by email at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.

Published in The Messenger 5.3.13

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