The Red Bank Lions are on a roll these days.
It hasn't been too long ago at these same Lions couldn't beat their way out of a wet bag as they suffered through a 13-game losing streak to conclude the regular season.
But, oh, how times have changed in the last two weeks.
Last week, the Lions beat Central to win their third straight District 6-AA tournament title. On Wednesday night, they took advantage of an unearned run with nobody out in the eighth to defeat Sequoyah, 8-7.
With the win, Red Bank has now won six of its last seven games and will be home for the last time this year on Saturday when they host Livingston Academy. The starting time has yet to be determined. Saturday's winner will advance to the Spring Fling in Murfreesboro next week.
Sequoyah is now 27-6 and will be on the road again on Friday to face Smith County.
The visitors from Madisonville jumped on Red Bank starting pitcher Gage Winton early, scoring two runs in the first before adding three more in the second.
Blake Winstead took over with two outs in the second and pitched the next five innings, limiting the Chiefs to just one run while the Lions battled back.
Red Bank knotted the score at 6-6 with two runs in the fourth before taking a 7-6 lead in the fifth. Sequoyah responded with the tying run in the sixth and that's the way it stood until the bottom of the eighth.
The Lions got a leadoff single by Hunter Romans and he advanced to second on a wild pitch. Designated hitter D.J. Hale, a promising freshman, dropped down a nice bunt that was fielded by pitcher Garrett Dalton. He turned and fired toward third in an attempt to get Romans, but the throw sailed into left field as Romans trotted home with the winning run.,
"That was 100 percent heart and toughness out there tonight," said Red Bank assistant coach Brandon Crews after the Lions improved to 19-21 with their sixth win in their last seven games.
"We fell behind early, but we never quit. We stayed positive. Even when we trailed 5-1, we still expected to win," Crews continued.
"This team really wants to go to state and we're one win away. All of that losing is behind us now, but it's all about who's playing the best at the right time. We're confident and we're hot. We're having fun again," he added.
Sequoyah coach Adam Kefauver felt like his team just wilted under the pressure of being in a championship game.
"This one hurts, but the season's not over as we have a chance to redeem ourselves. It's a tough loss as we played horrible. I guess we just put too much pressure on ourselves, but this was our worst game all year.
"We have to find a way to come back. Hopefully, we can learn from our mistakes," Kefauver added.
Hagen Wilkey came in to relieve Wnstead with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the seventh. He responded by striking out Jake Johnson.
The Chiefs put their first two runners on in the top of the eighth, but Wilkey came back to strike out the side. He was the winning pitcher, earning his fourth win after earning no victories in the regular season.
Wilkey was also one of three Lions with two hits. He ripped a two-run homer in the third before getting a one-out triple in the bottom of the seventh.
Ryder Pierce also had two singles while Romans also had two singles and scored twice.
Scott Bowers, Forrest McKane and Johnson all had two hits for Sequoyah.
Red Bank finished the evening with eight runs on seven hits and four errors while the Chiefs countered with seven runs on nine hits and three errors.
SEQUOYAH 230 101 00 -- 7 9 3
RED BANK 103 210 01 -- 8 7 4
Johnson, Dalton (3) and Dyer; Winton, Winstead (2), Wilkey (7) and Phillips.
(Email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)