The Middle Tennessee Christian School baseball assured itself a berth in the region tournament with a 4-3 victory over Moore County on Wednesday, May 8.
Kyle Howard pitched the first three innings for the Cougars (24-7-1), and Lawson Pitts threw the final four to pick up the win. Austin Melton went 2-for-3 with three RBIs, while Justin Winn had a single and a run scored and Philip Bonabi added a single.
The loss unceremoniously concluded an up-and-down season for the Raiders. Moore County lost four games by one run this season, including twice against Eagleville and the season-finale against Middle Tennessee Christian. They also lost another four games by just two runs, including another loss to district champ MTCS.
“It was disappointing … knowing that one hit or one error could change a game,” said senior Dakota Bateman.
Fellow senior Ben Harvey, who thought the Raiders could possibly go a little deeper in the postseason, was disappointed in the loss to the Cougars as well.
“It was difficult,” he added.
Moore County lost to the Cougars despite out-hitting Middle Tennessee Christian five to four.
James Dougherty had two RBIs on a pair of hits, including a double in the first inning and a single in the fifth inning. Bateman was 2-for-3 and Joshua Prater added one hit and an RBI.
Bateman earned the start and worked four innings for the Raiders. He gave up four hits and four runs, while walking two. MCHS junior Cole Boyce kept the Cougars off balance while working the final two innings.
Moore County led 1-0 early after a single by Bateman, a double by Dougherty and an RBI single by Prater. But after collecting three hits in the top of the first inning, Moore County managed just two hits off the Cougars pitching staff the rest of the way.
Middle Tennessee Christian took a 2-1 lead in the second innings, added two runs in the third and never let the Raiders get back in the game.
Howard earned the win, while Pitts worked the final four innings to wrap things up.
Moore County did add one run in the fifth inning to cut the lead to one, but Pitts got Prater to fly out to end the threat.
Middle Tennessee Christian School claimed the tournament championship thanks to a 3-2 victory over Forrest on Thursday, May 9. MTCS junior ace Bonabi was named the District 9-A player of the year, while Cougars first-year head coach Brian Stewart was named the district coach of the year after guiding his team to its first district tournament championship in school history. They also finished first in the regular season, another school first.
The loss to MTCS wrapped up the prep careers of Moore County seniors Zach Ray, Bateman, Prater and Harvey.
Moore County entered the district semifinal game against MTCS after wins over Eagleville and Fayetteville City. Both were elimination contests.
Ray went 2-for-2, sparking the Raiders’ 4-0 victory over Eagleville. Harvey was impressive on the mound, giving up just two hits and a walk in the shut-out win.
Moore County had eight hits against the Eagles, including a 2-for-3 effort by both Boyce and Harvey to go along with Ray’s 2-for-2 night. Dougherty and Chris Nix each added a hit as well.