An offensive outburst provided a comfortable win in five innings for the Independence Eagles baseball team as they powered their way to victory over the Dickson County Cougars Wednesday night at Ravenwood, 18-4.
“I spent the last three years at Centennial, and we were not very successful in the district,” said Independence third baseman Jack Baughman. “It means a lot to come over here and win a district championship.”
“It feels amazing. To come back and win it freshman year and win it again (this year) feels good,” said Independence starting pitcher Cooper Hargrove.
“They battled and worked hard,” said Independence head coach Mike McLaury. “We did not take anything for granted.”
In the top of the first inning, Dickson County started the scoring with a two run homer by shortstop Clinton Shrader to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead.
In the bottom of the first inning, Independence answered, tallying six runs. Big hits came from second baseman Ty Allen, with a three run bases clearing double and an RBI double from center fielder Will Tobin.
The Cougars got one run back in the top of the second inning, with an error by Independence to cut into the Eagles lead, 6-3.
Independence tacked on two runs in the bottom of the second with an RBI triple from left fielder Creed McClellan and an RBI single from Ty Allen, giving him four RBI’s on the night, to stretch the lead to 8-3.
“Ty is a good hitter. This year has not gone as he had planned, but hopefully he shows more of this,” said Coach McLaury.
In the top of the third inning, Independence continued their fielding woes as Dickson County scored on an error to shrink the deficit to 8-4.
The Eagles offense surged in the bottom of the third, scoring ten runs. Baughman was a force at the plate with four of the 10 RBIs in the inning. First baseman Cade Hollingsworth had a two run RBI double to lengthen the Eagles lead, 18-4.
“Jack has been hitting well all tournament, and that is why he got tournament MVP,” said Coach McLaury.
“Jack has had a huge impact at the plate and has been smoking the ball,” said Hargrove. “It has really helped us in big times like this.”
“It is just getting the job done, like coach talks about,” said Baughman. “With runners on, you have got to get them in somehow.”
Independence pitcher Jacob Almon retired the side in order in the top of the fourth inning recording a strikeout, groundout and pop out to left field to keep the score at 18-4.
The Eagles loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth inning, but Dickson County pitcher Dalton Groves got out of a jam with a double play on a lineout to the second baseman and a strikeout swinging as the score stayed at 18-4.
In top of the fifth inning, Jacob Almon closed the door, recording two strikeouts and drawing a groundout to second base to enact the 10-run rule in the frame and seal the victory 18-4.
“It started out a little shaky with the defensive errors, which was on us,” said Baughman. “I glad we got the hits together and just pulled it through. Jacob came at the end and really shut it down.”
“Jacob came in and had not pitched all tournament,” said Coach McLaury. “I thought the difference in velocity between Cooper and Jacob would give them trouble, and fortunately it did.”
The Eagles all-district tournament team nods were: Ben Cleaver, Cooper Hargrove and Creed McClellan. Jack Baughman won district tournament MVP.
“I could not do it (MVP) without all of them (teammates), said Baughman. “They gave me the confidence I needed. It is really special to me.”
Independence will be the number 1-seed in the region tournament and face the district 12 runner-up at home on May 17.
“I am so proud of my team making it this far,” said Hargrove. “This is the best thing for us.”
“Hopefully we come out and do what we have been doing,” said Coach McLaury. “We hope to play well; taking it one pitch at a time.”
Below is provided by Ravenwood HC Danny Borne.
Centennial: Nolan Wells
Summit: Parker Dean
Ravenwood: Blake Bevis
Brentwood: Brooks McDonnough
Page: Kyle Gaffney
Spring Hill: Dawson Hargrove
Franklin: Gio Olvera
Franklin: Joseph Waters
Dickson County: Riley Ward
Dickson County: Dalton Groves
Dickson County: Seth Creasy
Independence: Ben Cleaver
Independence: Cooper Hargrove
Independence: Creed McClellan
MVP: Independence: Jack Baughman