(Story has been updated with Wednesday's game time)
Soddy-Daisy unleashed six- and four-run innings on Warren County on Monday and crushed the Pioneers, 12-2, in a stunning Region 3-AAA baseball semifinal upset in McMinnville.
With the win, the District 5-AAA runner-up Trojans (21-16) advanced to Wednesday’s regional title game at Cookeville at 7 p.m. Eastern time.
The defending champion Cavaliers (28-8) defeated District 5-AAA champion Bradley Central, 5-0, behind the two-hit pitching of once-beaten T.J. Webb.
Trojans right-hander Christian Amos (8-0) stymied the Pioneers on three hits and struck out three in yet another strong effort.
“Christian normally strikes out a few more than that, but he was pitching to contact tonight,” Trojans coach Jared Hensley said. “Still, he did a great job for us. I would probably have given him a grade of ‘B’ considering we had some long innings and he just wasn’t himself.”
Soddy-Daisy’s hitting was even more impressive than Amos’ mound performance as the Trojans battered three Warren County pitchers for 14 hits. That was instrumental in Soddy-Daisy scoring six runs in the second inning – Tre Carter had a three-run triple.
The Trojans tacked on four more runs in the fifth, the second big inning sparked by Dev DeMatteo’s two-run single and RBI doubles by Caden Ricketts and Amos.
Ricketts also hit a solo homer in a two-run sixth.
“There were a lot of games this year, including last week in the district tournament, that we didn’t give Christian much run support,” Hensley said. “We had to go out tonight and keep scoring runs to take the pressure off him.”
Soddy-Daisy rattled Pioneers starter Will Sweeten in the second inning after two were out.
Andy Wright reached on a fielder’s choice that wiped out Gavin Rogers’ single. After a fly-out, Amos singled and Cale Morgan was hit by a pitch. Carter followed with his clutch three-run triple.
DeMatteo and Austin Hickey each contributed RBI singles and Dillon Clift stroked a run-scoring double to the outfield.
In the fifth, Wright tripled and Ricketts followed with a run-scoring double. Amos then delivered a RBI double to help his own cause, Morgan bunted and reached on one of five Warren County errors and DeMatteo drove in two runs with a single.
Ricketts homered in the sixth and Amos singled and scored on Morgan’s RBI hit.
Now the Trojans turn their attention to Cookeville and the possibility of claiming a region baseball championship.
“We pride ourselves in playing hard and being in the right positions to make plays,” Hensley said. “Last year we got beat by Cookeville in the region, so tonight we wanted to beat Warren County and have a shot to play for the championship, knowing we also have a spot in the sectional game on Friday.
“If we win Wednesday, we’ll play at home in the sectional. But it’s going to be tough at Cookeville. We know it’s a tall task and we’re thankful for the opportunity.”
The Cavaliers’ Webb silenced the Bradley bats – Hunter Rogers and Logan Blackwell had Bradley’s only hits – and handed Bears right-hander Ty King his first loss in each decisions this season.
Webb went the distance and struck out seven while walking just one.
Ben Shelton paced the Cavaliers with a 2-for-4 effort and scored a run. James Paisley had two hits, including a double and Ryan Julian added a RBI single while Jacob Edgington had a hit, scored once and drove in a run.
Bradley ends its season at 21-12.
Cookeville 100 012 1 – 5 8 0
Bradley Central 000 000 0 – 0 2 1
WP – T.J. Webb (6-1); LP – Ty King (7-1)
Soddy-Daisy 060 042 – 12 14 1
Warren County 110 000 – 2 3 5
Amos and Clift; Sweeten, Jennings (3), Smith (6) and Carden.
(E-mail Larry Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @larryfleming44)