|Next stop: Back home as Twisters win 7A title |
|Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2013 7:00 pm |
|By KEVIN WEAKS |
A week ago, Eric Moore did not give up a hit. Wednesday night, he didn’t give up the lead.
Six days after a masterful no-hitter in the District 13A Tournament championship game against Halls on the Tigers’ home field, the senior hurler was not as fine but just as effective in producing another big road win as the Golden Tornadoes wrapped up the Region 7A title with a 7-2 win over Huntingdon on the Mustangs’ field Wednesday night.
It marks UC’s second regional championship in the last three years and brings the Twisters home for the sectional round of the TSSAA postseason. Union City will host Scotts Hill, an 11-1 loser to Riverside on Wednesday, 7 p.m. Friday in the final game before the state tournament next week in Murfreesboro. Huntingdon will have to travel to Riverside in the sectionals
“That’s big for our seniors,” UC head coach Jeremy Maddox said. “I’m proud for them and excited for them. I know they didn’t want to end their season without playing at least one more home game.”
Showing a good mix of pitches, including a big sweeping curve, Moore worked around nine base hits and shut out the Ponies over a four-inning stretch while his teammates turned a 1-all tie after one inning into a 6-1 lead by the end of the fifth frame.
Moore (5-4) stranded a runner at third in the first inning after Huntingdon had tied the game and worked around three straight base hits to begin the third with some help from the defense. In the even innings, Moore set down the side in order
“I can’t say enough about Eric,” Maddox said. “He’s had two consecutive outings that were just dynamite. His last four outings have been good, but he’s really stepped up these last two. He’s been pitching at the varsity level since he was a freshman, so he’s pitched in a lot of big games. You expect your seniors to step up in big situations, and he’s been able to do it.”
Moore threw 98 pitches, 69 for strikes. He fanned six without a walk.
While Moore was keeping the Mustangs down, the Twisters eventually woke up — first by getting back the lead in the top of the fourth inning and then extending the margin in the fifth.
A hit batter, walk, bunt single, sacrifice fly and error manufactured a pair of runs for Union City in the fourth for a 3-1 lead, and then Caleb Long’s two-run single in the fifth was the big blow in a three-run uprising that chased Huntingdon starting pitcher Garrett Green.
Speedy sparkplug Drake Parker applied the pressure on Huntingdon’s defense right out of the gate as he led off the game with a triple and scored two batters later on Long’s ground-out to short. Parker reached base all four times, walking twice, and scored two runs.
“Drake’s our table-setter. When he goes, we go,” Maddox said. “He’s done a really good job of getting on base, and once he’s there, he wreaks some havoc. Not only do pitchers have to worry about him stealing, it messes with their rhythm and we can find some pitches to hit.”
Huntingdon tied it in the bottom of the first when Jacob Warbritton led off with a single and scored on Seth Fields one-out base hit.
After working out of trouble in the bottom of the third, UC scored twice in the fourth. Long was hit by a pitch, Drew Cooley walked and Clay Treece laid down a bunt single to lead off the inning. Long scored on Travis Rutland’s sacrifice fly to center, and then Trevor Bradley misplayed Joseph Shanks’ ground ball to bring in Cooley for a 3-1 UC lead.
Five straight UC batters reached to start the fifth, beginning with Christian Cousar’s double down the third base line. Long tagged a two-run single that brought Bradley to the mound, and Cooley immediately followed with an RBI single that ran the score to 6-1.
Brandon Baker scored for the Ponies in the sixth, but UC came back in the seventh as Shanks drove in Treece with a two-out hit.
With Moore’s complete game effort, UC has Treece (9-0), the starter in Monday’s win over McKenzie, and Cooley (8-1) rested and ready to pitch Friday.
Published in The Messenger 5.16.13