Tigers battle Pine Tree for senior night win

Tigers defeated the Pirates for a 2-1 win during the ninth inning

April 29, 2015

Junior+Kip+Williams+celebrates+after+Kugler+touches+home+to+win+the+game.+

Photo by Sara Rogers

Junior Kip Williams celebrates after Kugler touches home to win the game.

In their first match-up against Pine Tree, the Tigers suffered a 4-2 loss in the final innings of the game. On Friday, the Tigers were seeking revenge, and defeated the Pirates in a 2-1 victory to close out their home game season on senior night.

“This was a good turning point for us, motivation for our next game,” Phillips said. “It  was one of those key games where we needed a win to get to the playoffs.”

The first inning started off stagnant, with the score remaining 0-0 throughout.

The second inning ended shaky for the Tigers on the offensive end. Senior designated hitter Alex Kugler hit a grounder to second base, getting thrown out on his way to first base. Sophomore catcher Kyle Choate stayed in the box strong, piling up a full count before swinging at the next pitch for a strike out. Junior second baseman J.T. Morgan was looking to advance for the Tigers, but also got thrown out on his trip down the line to first.

At the top of the third, the Tigers were looking to keep the Pirate pressure at bay. Junior pitcher Kip Williams at the mound, struck out Pine Tree junior first baseman Jimmy Cravey and sophomore outfielder Cade Hardin. Morgan fielded a grounder and threw to junior first baseman Kyrian Williams to bring the Tigers back up to bat.

Offense didn’t hold much promise for the Tigers during the third inning. Kip Williams got on base with a walk. Kyrian Williams hit a pop up in deep left field, resulting in the second out for the Tigers. Junior Colton Russell was the first to make contact and get on base, with a line drive between left and center field that gave him a single. Senior Eron Sonson looked to move Russell around the basepath, but knocked a grounder straight up the middle, getting Russell out and putting the Tigers back on the field. The score remained at 0-0 leading into the fourth inning.

The Pirates looked as if they may score at the top of the fourth, with a line drive knocked into deep left by Pine Tree shortstop Tim McQuaid, giving him a double. Morgan fielded a grounder and assisted Kyrian Williams to get the first out of the inning, and Kip Williams brought the Tigers back to the dugout after getting two strikeouts, holding the Pirates back.

Failing to score during the bottom of the fourth,  a pop-up from junior right-fielder Zack Phillips, a tagged out from Alex Kugler, the Tigers closed out the fourth inning with a strikeout from Choate. The score at the end of the fourth remained 0-0.

The Tigers played well on the defensive end in the fifth inning, with Kip Williams striking out three batters, giving the Tigers another chance in the dugout.

Looking to score in the bottom of the fifth, Kip Williams had a line drive to deep left field, giving him a double. The Tigers hope was short lived, the Tigers hit the field once again after outs from Morgan, Kyrian Williams, and Russell. Heading into the sixth inning, the Tigers and the Pirates sustained the battle and kept the score at 0-0.

Pine Tree fought hard in their attempt to score in the top of sixth, Pine Tree senior center-fielder Mason Hays got to first. Pine Tree continued to push on, Pine Tree infielder senior Bushe Morgan hit a line drive to deep center field, but Phillips caught the ball giving the Pirates their first out. Texas High sophomore shortstop Colby Adkins caught a hard grounder, and sent the ball to third to stop the Pirates from advancing. Kip Williams struck out Pine Tree junior catcher Brandon Truemner to close the top of the sixth, the score remaining 0-0.

The bottom of the sixth showed no promise for the Tigers, with outs from Sonson, Adkins and Phillips.

During the seventh inning, the game began to pick up. With a Pine Tree runner on third, a pop-up to deep right sent Pine Tree down the line to score, putting the score at 1-0 in favor of the Pirates. The Tigers fought to keep the Pirates from any further advancement, the defense was strong and stopped the Pirates run.

The bottom of the seventh started off strong for the Tigers. Kugler got on base with a single, followed by another single from Morgan, sending Kugler to third, setting the Tigers up to score. The Pirates made an error, and Kugler advanced down the basepath to put Texas High on the board, 1-1.

Top of eighth, the Tigers were determined to not let the Pirates score. Phillips came in to relieve Kip Williams. The first two outs of the inning were assisted by Adkins, and to Phillips got the strikeout to end the Pirates offensive run. The Tiger did not score during their at bat in the eighth inning.

“It was a very stressful situation,” Phillips said. “I came in and we were tied, it was very nerve wracking. It was one of those situations that I like to be in. There was pressure and I like to be in pressure.”

In the final inning of the game, the Tiger defense remained strong, getting three outs out of three at bats, giving the Tigers the final opportunity to score.

The Pirates weak defense gave Texas high momentum, the second basemen from Pine Tree bobbled the ball, and Kugler got on base. Pine Tree continued to choke by walking Choate, and Morgan won the game for the Tigers with a grounder straight up the middle and knocked in Kugler to win the game, 2-1.

“Since last year I never got to play, it was hard for me to begin this year not knowing if I was going to start,” Sonson said. “Then I earned my spot. Being a senior this year, I had to be a leader, with very few seniors encouraging me along the way. Our team is young and I am the oldest one. I had to step up and do my job. I’m going to miss my teammates when I leave Texas High.”

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Tigers battle Pine Tree for senior night win