While baseball certainly wasn’t on the front of everyone’s mind Sunday, there was still a game to be played.
And Coffee County played it well.
Tied 3-3 entering the 5th inning, the CHS Red Raiders plated 6 runs over two innings to beat Shelbyville 9-6 and advance deeper into the District 8-AAA baseball tournament. The loss ends the season for Shelbyville.
Sunday’s game was a continuation of what began on Saturday. With both teams tied at 3-3 at the end of four innings on Saturday, home plate umpire Gerald Tidwell collapsed on the field and passed away. He was 54-years old.
“Our boys were pretty shaken by all of that,” said Coffee County head coach David Martin. “I’ve been shaken by all of that. I’ve known Gerald for a long time and the kids have been around him a lot. It was just really hard on them seeing all of that.”
Sunday afternoon, Shelbyville scored quickly in the top of the 5th to take a 4-3 lead thanks to a Raider error. But CHS answered quickly. In the bottom of the 5th, Lane Spry and Nolan Jernigan each singled to setup Jacob Holder, who blasted his 4th home run of the season over the left-field fence to put the Raiders up 6-4. They would never relinquish the lead.
CHS added three more in the sixth. Nolan Jernigan worked a bases loaded walk and Holder was hit with the bases loaded. Griffin Meeker scored on a wild pitch.
The Eagles cut the lead to 9-6 and had the bases loaded in the top of the 7th, but Carter McKenzie came out of the bullpen and slammed the door. McKenzie got Aiden Edwards to flyout to center and Raine Sims popped up on the infield to end the game.
The loss ends the season for Shelbyville. The Raiders had to win to continue their season after a 7-5 loss to Lawrence County on Thursday. The tournament is double-elimination.
Brady Nugent earned the win on the mound for the Raiders – allowing 2 earned runs over 2 innings. McKenzie is credited with the save.
Holder was named Mid Tenn Turf Player of the Game by Thunder Radio after his 5 RBI performance.
The win moves CHS to 20-10 on the season and marks the Raiders first 20-win season since 2010, the last time the Raider baseball team made a state tournament appearance.
The Raiders still have work to do, though. They are scheduled to play the winner of Tullahoma and Columbia at 6:30 p.m. Monday (in Shelbyville). A win in that game would put the Raiders one win away from reaching the District championship game and getting a Region 4-AAA tournament spot. Monday’s game will be broadcast live on Thunder Radio, weather permitting.