Republic had plenty of chances to steal a victory from Rogersville Tuesday night. In each of the last three innings, the Tigers had a runner in scoring position. Each time, they failed to push across the tying run in what ended up being a 3-2 loss at home.
“We can’t complain about the opportunities we had. (We had runners on) first and second in the fifth inning with our best hitter up, and he grounds into a double play. That’s part of the game sometimes,” said coach Curt Plotner. “The kids battled. We had the tying run on the sixth and the seventh, and we just couldn’t get it done.”
Republic’s starting pitcher, Tyler Cavener, struggled with his control but gave the Tigers a chance to win with a solid outing. Despite walking five batters, he allowed just one unearned run on one hit in four innings. That run scored in the top of the third inning after a Republic error wasted an opportunity for a force out on a ground ball that would have let Cavener escape the jam.
Republic tied the game in the bottom of the third. Kyle Hill doubled and scored on an RBI single by Easton Prevo, making the score 1-1.
The Tigers took the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Despite a strong wind blowing in from right field, Ryker Harrington tripled to the right-field fence with one out. He scored on a sacrifice fly by Clayton Crowley to make the score 2-1.
Rogersville scored the decisive runs in the top of the fifth inning off reliever Jordan Carter, making his first varsity appearance. Rogersville strung together four consecutive hits––two of them softly hit balls into right field––to retake the lead, 3-2. Carter got out of the jam by coaxing an inning-ending double play.
After that, Carter settled down to pitch two scoreless innings, giving Republic an opportunity to win.
“I thought he did a good job,” Plotner said of Carter’s pitching performance. “The thing that makes him so successful is being able to throw his off-speed pitches for a strike. In the fifth, when they got to him for those two runs, they hit a lot of fastballs. Part of that was… he pitched himself into some fastball counts a few times and he wasn’t able to use the off-speed pitch as much.”
In the bottom of the fifth, consecutive singles by Jaden Duvall and Prevo gave Republic runners on first and second with one out, but Cavener grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
In the sixth, Jared Hughes reached base when he was hit by a pitch. Clayton Crowley and Jacob Crosswhite walked to load the bases with two out, but Hill popped up to end the inning.
Republic threatened again in the seventh. An infield hit by Prevo and a two-out walk to Nick Rose put the tying run at second, but Hughes struck out to end the game.
Prevo had three of Republic’s six hits and drove in a run. Crowley had Republic’s other RBI with his sacrifice fly in the fourth.