ALAMO – Offense has not been a problem for the Crockett County baseball team. The Cavaliers have put up big numbers through the postseason.
But on Friday in the Class AA sectional, Crockett County sent 13 batters to the plate in the second inning, scoring eight runs, en route to a 14-6 win over Ripley at home.
“Getting down one or two runs doesn’t bother this team,” Crockett County coach Brent Fronabarger said. “We have started relatively slow recently, and part of that is the quality of teams we are playing. We came in with a really good plan offensively, and we stuck to it through the first couple innings.”
Crockett County (26-7) advances to the Class AA state tournament with the win. Ripley falls short after reaching the tournament last season.
Seven of Crockett County’s nine batters reached base at least three times with another reaching base twice. Seth Permenter reached all five times after two singles and being hit by the pitch three other times.
Hunter Rinks had an RBI single and Sam Simmons a two-RBI single early in the inning to put the Cavaliers up 3-1.
After a run scored on an error, Cade Parlow was walked with the bases loaded. Parlow later scored on an error. John Elford also had a two-RBI single in the inning.
Parlow went 1-for-4, but he had RBI in three of the seven innings with the bases-loaded walk, an RBI single and an RBI groundout.
“We started to drive the ball in the second inning,” Parlow said. “Their pitcher did a good job of mixing up his pitches, and we just sat back and drove it.”
And that was the momentum of the Cavaliers. They didn’t quit scoring after the big inning, as they scored one run in each of the third, fourth and fifth innings to increase the lead.
And those runs were necessary as Ripley answered the eight-run second inning with four in the third. Sam Williams hit a two-run home run in the inning.
“When the wind is blowing out like it is today, good teams are going to continue to put runs on the board because Ripley was not going to quit,” Fronabarger said. “They quickly cut our 8-1 lead to 8-4. We had to keep scoring, and I am proud of the way our guys kept plugging away.”
Jeremiah Nance and Elford led the Cavalier offense with three hits in the first and third innings, and Elford also matched Parlow with three RBI.
Crockett County finished the scoring with three runs in the sixth inning on an RBI ground-rule double by Nance, the RBI groundout by Parlow and an RBI single by Elford.
Braden Nace came in relief and allowed one earned run on five hits, while striking out two and walking none.
“This team has grown closer in the postseason,” Parlow said. “It started in the district tournament, and when games mattered, we picked it up.
“We continued to buy into what Coach Fronabarger was teaching us.”
Crockett County wasn’t the team that many expected to make a run like this in the postseason after finishing fourth in District 13-AA, but Fronabarger knew his players.
“People on the outside don’t know about some of the kids,” Fronabarger said. “The character of these young players and the leadership. These guys play hard and compete at a high level.”
Parlow, a senior, wants this year’s state tournament to be better than two years ago.
“It feels great to be back at state,” Parlow said. “I didn’t want to sit here next week. We don’t want to just make state. We want to win up there, and not go 0-2 like last time.”
Michael Odom, 425-9754