By: Jake Hood
Wilson Central advanced to the District 9AAA Championship for the third straight year after defeating Hendersonville by a score of 5-4
After defeating the Commandos 6-2 the night before, the Wildcats were rolling into the district semifinals with the advantage of having to be defeated twice to miss out on the district championship. Hendersonville had to play the second game of a double-header, coming off of a 6-2 win over Mount Juliet the game before. The Wildcats sent Hayden Baker to the mound to take on Eli Steffy of Hendersonville.
The Commandos jumped out with a lead early, leading 1-0 after just an inning of play. Steffy continued to deal against the Wildcats, and Hendersonville tallied another 3 runs in the top of the fifth. Down 4-0, the Wildcats needed to find their offense immediately to avoid their first loss of the district tournament. In the bottom of the sixth, Wilson Central found 4 run to tie the game. Two of these came from Hayden Baker, who blasted a pair of hits and RBIs on the night.
With the game tied up in the seventh, neither team could manage the winning run, so the game went into the extras. Ryan Smith shut down the Commandos in the top half of the eighth. In the bottom half, Gabe Jennings got on with a hit-by-pitch. He advanced to second, and McKane Everett stepped up to the plate with 2 outs. Unable to find a hit so far on the night, Everett was looking for a spark. He found this spark, capping off the night with a walk-off double to seal the Wildcats’ third trip to the District 9AAA Championship in 3 years.
Baker’s start lasted 5 innings, giving up 4 runs with 4 strikeouts. Then came Ryan Smith, who silenced the Commandos in his 3-inning relief appearance. Baker also led the Wildcats in hitting with 2 hits and 2 RBIs. Altogether, the Wildcats managed 5 runs off of 6 hits and a few timely walks.
Hayden Mullins led the Commandos with 3 hits, and Hayden Layne contributed to runs knocked in with a pair of RBIs. Steffy lasted 5.2 innings with 5 strikeouts. The Commandos scored 4 runs on 8 hits, but this was not enough to stop the red-hot Wildcats.
The Wildcats travel to Station Camp tonight to take on the Bison in the District 9AAA Championship. Weather permitting, the first pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. The winner, along with the Commandos, will advance to the Region 5AAA Tournament. Hendersonville will face Rossview, and the winner of the Wildcats and Bison will battle the Eagles of Clarksville.