ADAMSVILLE – On a night when the juniors and seniors at Chester County High School gathered for prom night, many of the baseball Eagles stayed in Adamsville during the early part of the evening.
Those seniors where hoping to lead Chester County to a tournament championship. And that is what they did as the Eagles beat McNairy Central 5-3 in the championship game of the Independent Appeal Baseball Spectacular at Adamsville.
“In my 11 years, I have not had a group stay like this senior group did,” Chester County coach Mike Goff said. “It shows the commitment that these guys have. I told them that they could have left, but they wanted to play. That makes me as proud as anything today.”
Chester County beat McNairy Central twice earlier this season in District 14-AA contests, but both won semifinal games earlier on Saturday to reach the championship match for a rematch.
“We knew that it was going to be a fight every inning,” Goff said. “The fight defines the team’s character.”
After playing games throughout the week, pitching comes at a premium in the championship game. Both teams though got solid performances out of younger pitchers.
McNairy Central beat Scotts Hill in the first semifinal 9-5, and Chester County followed with a 10-4 victory over Adamsville. McNairy Central’s Jacob Jones went 5.2 innings before getting int trouble with a double, single and a throwing error. He had four strikeouts.
Chester County went pitching by committee as Julian Stephenson pitched the first three innings before Cody Compton pitched the final 2.2 innings to pick up the win.
“At this point, it is about seeing what the younger guys got to pull out the win,” Chester County junior Malcolm Tipler said. “In the box, we were seeing the ball well and getting hits.”
With the two teams being district rivals, none of the hitters brought any surprises so batters had to wait through pitches to find the right one. McNairy Central’s Logan Roberts and Chester County’s Collin McPherson found just the right pitch for solo home runs, and both home runs came at clutch times.
“We take every game like it is an important one,” McPherson said. “We take each opponent the same and try to do the best that we can.”
Chester County took a 2-0 lead in the third inning on consecutive RBI singles by McPherson and Brian Napoli.
But Roberts’ solo shot led off the bottom of the fourth inning, and the Bobcats added to more to take a 3-2. McNairy Central scored on a bases loaded walk and an RBI single by Chase Smith.
The Eagles went through three pitchers in the inning, but Compton struck out two of the three batters he faced with bases loaded to get out of the jam.
McPherson’s home run in the top of the fifth inning tied the game back up. But it was the two runs in the sixth inning that made the difference.
The spark came as No. 9 batter Gavin Thompson had a two-out double to center field, and his pinch runner Harrison Taylor scored the winning run during Hunter Denbow’s at-bat on a throwing error to first base. Tipler added another with an RBI single to center field.
“All that was on my mind was to get the runner in,” Denbow said. “Luck didn’t go my way, but we got an error that allowed us to come out on top.”
McPherson led the Eagles, going 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBI. Alan Rickman was 2-for-3 for the Bobcats with a run.
“We thought about a pinch hitter for Thompson, but this is a senior who left work early to play in this game,” Goff said. “I was confident in him there.”
Michael Odom, 425-9754