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A hot start wasn't nearly enough for the SCHS baseball team Wednesday.
The Rockets grabbed an early lead, but Anderson County stormed back to win in the 30th District Championship game, 13-4, at the SCHS Athletic Complex.
Playing as visitors because they were seeded behind Anderson County, the Rockets got two quick runs, capitalizing on two errors, but the Bearcats trumped that, picking up four runs on five hits and a walk in the bottom of the first.
"That's two times this year we've jumped out on them, scoring runs in the top of the first, and then we let them come right back and answer," SCHS Coach Bart Roettger said.
Anderson added three runs on three hits and one Shelby error in the second to take a commanding lead, 7-2.
Still, though, the Rockets had a shot.
Shelby picked up a run in the third, when James Wright doubled and scored on Eric Standafer's two-out double, and the Rockets got another run back in the fifth, when Jon Collins started the inning with a single and then scored on Jared Clarkson's double, making it 7-4.
But Anderson was not to be denied on this night. The Bearcats took advantage of a balk, two hit batters and an error along with four hits of their own to score six runs in the sixth, finishing off the Rockets.
“Tonight (Wednesday), it was just a matter of we couldn’t make plays,” Roettger said. “We weren’t aggressive enough at the plate, we couldn’t get bunts down, and we just didn’t get it done. That, and Anderson just hit the baseball.
“They were aggressive on the bases, and they got three bunts down. They just outplayed us in every aspect of the game. That’s my responsibility. We need a big attitude adjustment from the coaches all they through the players.”
There were bright spots, the coach noted.
“I thought Drew McDonald came in and did a great job in a tough situation,” Roettger said. “And I thought Jordan Bailey came in and did well. That’s a sophomore throwing against your big rival in a district championship game. I thought he did really well.”
McDonald came in with the bases loaded and one out in the first. He forced the first batter he saw into a fly out to Collins in left. Taylor Boone then ended the inning when he caught Collins’ throw in and made a diving play to tag an Anderson runner trying to advance to third.
Bailey relieved McDonald in fifth and pitched two scoreless innings before Anderson knocked him out of the game in the sixth.
Though Roettger said he and his team are disappointed with the loss, he said he knows they’ll have a shot at redemption next week. The top two teams from the district advance to the regional tournament.
“The great thing is we live to play another day,” he said. “I still like our team, and we’ll be ready to play next week.”
SCHS 19, Spencer County 3
The Rockets jumped out to a 4-0 lead, pushed the lead to 10 before Spencer County scored and then erupted for eight more runs in the sixth to top the Bears, 19-3, in six innings in the first round Tuesday.
Williams pitched four strong innings for the victory, allowing just five hits, and Drew McDonald kept Spencer hitless over the final two innings.
The Rockets picked up 13 hits, and Matthew Purdom led the way with four RBIs.
The Rockets’ Clarkson, Standafer and Williams were picked for the 30th District All-Tournament team.