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Spring Fling update: TRA loses in first round

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TRA head coach Brad Smith talks with pitcher Gil Erwin and catcher Jacob LaFosse during the second inning of a DII-A state tournament game Tuesday at LaVergne High School. Photo by Jeff Ireland

LAVERGNE, Tenn. - In the bottom of the fourth inning of Tipton-Rosemark's opening round DII-A state tournament game against Knoxville Webb Tuesday night, a ball hit by Will Morrow took a bad hop and bounced over the head of TRA first baseman Logan Stewart for a double.

Two batters later, Webb clean-up hitter Alex Dooley launched a two-run homer over the scoreboard in left field to give his team a 9-4 lead.

The play pretty much summed up TRA's first round state tournament game.

Despite jumping out to a 4-0 lead, the Rebels (32-7), ranked first in the state for much of the year, fell to Webb 11-6 at LaVergne High School.

TRA took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Logan Stewart drove in Blain Curtis, who led off the game with a double.

In the top of the second, Curtis, Connor Alexander and Conner Sanders each singled in a run and TRA appeared to be in good shape with a 4-0 lead.

But Webb scored five runs in the bottom of the second inning and two runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings to win going away.

“When you go out and put up a crooked number in baseball, your goal has got to be to go out that next inning and put up a zero defensively, and we didn't do that tonight,” said TRA coach Brad Smith. “We go up four nothing and everybody was feeling pretty good about themselves, but we just didn't get the job done. Anytime you give up a five spot in baseball, you're in for a long day.”

Webb's James Little, who was 3 for 4 with three RBIs, hit a two-run homer to centerfield in the bottom of the third to put his team ahead 7-4.

After Dooley's homer in the bottom of the fourth made it 9-4, singles by Sanders and Stewart in the fifth inning put TRA in a position to cut into Webb's lead. But a 4-6-3 double play ended the inning.

In the top of the sixth, TRA rallied.

Gil Erwin and Xen Penny led off the inning with singles. Nathan Whitley followed with a ground ball to shortstop.

Whitley was called out on a close play at first. Smith argued the call. Houston Hall singled home a run and Curtis drove in a run with a ground ball, but that would be it for the TRA offense.

Curtis, Sanders, Penny and Hall each had two hits for TRA.

Erwin, Steven McDaniel and Whitley combined to allow 11 Webb hits.

Several teams over the years in the DII-A losers' bracket have recovered to advance to the title game.

“If you go to bed tonight and wake up tomorrow feeling sorry for yourself not prepared mentally for what tomorrow brings, you're going to play tomorrow at 10 o'clock and then go to the house,” Smith said. “I feel like if tomorrow we can come out and get that first game, we can get back and have a chance to get in that championship game. And if we get in that game, I like our chances. It's going to be hard to win four in a matter of about 30 hours, but I'm not going to put anything past this group.”

“We've just got to keep doing what we're doing,” Curtis said. “Do what what we did to get us here and win four games.”


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