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Carroll County opened district tournament play with a “classic nail-biter” against the home team, Owen County Rebels. Junior Zach Wise hit the game winner in the bottom of the seventh inning, bringing home freshman Dillon Craig for the 2-1 victory.
“I’m throwing it up to all those tough games we lost earlier in the year, being in all those one-run games,” Head Coach Jay Jones said. “… Owen County played really well. We knew it was going to take our best game to win, and they got it.”
Jones said it took an entire team effort to win the game. He praised his hitters in the bottom of the lineup – Craig, senior Brandon McAlister and senior Kevin Welch – for carrying the team.
“… We were in the bottom of our line up, and there was no question that’s where we wanted to be today,” he said. “… 7-8-9 was on base eight out of nine times, and that’s how you’re going to have to win those games.”
Craig was two for three and also reached base on an error. He scored both runs for the Panthers, the game-winner and on a sacrifice fly by Wise in the fifth inning. McAlister hit a single and walked twice, while Welch struck out once, but reached base twice on a walk and a fielder’s choice.
Senior Will Yager threw the entire game on 81 pitches with no earned runs. The only Owen County run resulted from errors in the fourth inning.
“That’s fantastic on the pitch count. He really had good command over all of his stuff,” Jones said. “… He really stepped up. He was our guy today.”
The Panthers will play in the district championship at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday against Henry County at Owen County. They will also compete in the regional tournament, which begins on Monday May 31 at Carroll County.