Tullahoma hands Choctaws tough loss in Class AAA Tournament

Thursday, May 23, 2024
Dyer County's Kole Fenton makes contact in the first inning of the Choctaws' loss to Tullahoma in the semifinals of the winners' bracket in the TSSAA Class AAA State Tournament in Wednesday night at Blackman High School.
State Gazette photo/Jason Peevyhouse

JASON PEEVYHOUSE

jpeevyhouse@stategazette.com

Coming off a strong performance in the opening round of the TSSAA Class AAA State Tournament in Murfreesboro at Blackman High School, a big second inning by the Wildcats sent Dyer County to the consolation via a 9-0 loss.

Dyer County looked poised to strike first, getting a leadoff single from JD Binkley in the bottom of the first. But, Kole Fenton hit into a double play as he was called out at first on a close play. Jack Smith followed with a two-out triple but was stranded there after a groundout ended the frame.

The Wildcats took advantage of the momentum swing, getting leadoff single from Evan Tomlin then Mason Bratcher reached on a one-out error. Hunter Hogan doubled in a run then Phillip Lemon singled in two more. A Trevor Cole groundout pushed across another run to give Tullahoma a 4-0 lead after the top of the second inning.

Tullahoma tacked on two more in the bottom of the third thanks to an RBI groundout from Tomlin and a Emory single to score a run to push the Wildcat lead to 6-0 after two and a half innings.

With Dyer County continuing to struggle, the Wildcats pushed across two more in the fifth and one in the sixth to take a 9-0 lead after five and a half innings.

The Choctaws were able to get a pair of singles from Landon Willis and Jake Gentry in the bottom of the fifth but the inning ended with a pair of grounders into fielder's choice to keep the Choctaws scoreless. The Wildcat defense then retired the final six batters to secure the win and advance to the finals of the winner's bracket on Thursday.

Dyer County scattered four hits two each in the first and sixth when Smith's triple being the only extra-base hit of the game for the Choctaws.

Willis took the loss on the mound, allowing six runs (three earned) on six hits with three strikeouts.

The Choctaws were scheduled to take on Gibbs in the consolation final on Wednesday afternoon but the game was pushed to a 9 p.m. start time at Blackman High School.

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