Bobcats turn in thrilling victory
By Amanda Lowrance & David Shirley
Opening day of the district tournament, Wednesday, May 4th, was also senior night for the McNairy Central Bobcats. That night was followed by a thrilling, come-from-behind Bobcat district tournament victory on Friday.
Seniors Kacee Holland, Eric Moore, and Michael Shea took the outfield while Mason Cox took the mound against the Jackson Central Merry Cougars.
The Bobcats defeated the Cougars 14-4 on a run rule. The night will always be remembered with special key moments of the game.
Shea hit his first homerun ever in the bottom of the fourth. Austin Gafford hit an inside-park homerun almost consecutive with Shea’s.
Holland, who is normally a courtesy runner, made his first hit ever in the third inning and was brought home with a home run hit by Gafford.
Craig Mullins hit a double in the second and Moore hit a triple in the third.
Shea finished the night off with a hit that brought in the winning run for the Bobcats.
The Bobcats next tangled with the Bolivar Tigers Friday in Henderson in second-round district tournament play, and when the fur stopped flying, MCHS claimed a 6-5, eight-inning, come-from-behind victory.
MCHS and starting pitcher Blake Chandler gave up four runs to Bolivar in the top of the first and trailed for virtually the entire contest.
The Tigers added another tally in the top of the second to go up 5-0, before MCHS finally broke in to the scoring column with a single run, to trail 5-1 going to the third.
Bolivar was unable to dent the scoreboard for the rest of the game, while MCHS was held scoreless in the third, but posted a single run in the fourth.
After neither team scored in the fifth or sixth, Bolivar went to the seventh with a seemingly comfortable 5-2 lead behind the strong right arm of righthander Kooper Kessler. The Tigers were once again held scoreless, this time by Eric Moore, who started the inning in relief of Chandler.
Marcus Nash got things going for MCHS with a one out single to center field. After a force out, Mason Cox and Austin Gafford followed with singles to center field to load the bases.
After being down to his last strike, Craig Mullins worked a base on balls to force in one run. Chandler then came through with a big-time clutch base hit, bringing in two more runs to tie the game, with Mullins thrown out at the plate while trying to score after the ball got away.
In the top of the eighth, Bolivar again did not score, as Chandler closed out the inning with a great, diving catch of a dying pop up in foul territory.
Dakota Roden led off the bottom of the eighth with a walk, and was replaced by pinch-runner Jacob Mullins. Tyler Wells then doubled over the right fielder’s head. Eric Moore was intentionally walked to set up force outs at any base. Marcus Nash then singled to right to bring Jacob Mullins in with the winning run and set off the Bobcat celebration.
Eric Moore picked up the win on the mound for MCHS. Both teams were scheduled to move along in tourney competition.
Bobcat leading hitters: Mason Cox 2-3; Blake Chandler 1-3 with 1 run scored and 2 rbi; Tyler Wells 1-3 with a double; Marcus Nash 2-3 with 1 rbi.
The Bobcats lost to Bolivar in Henderson Monday, 8-2, according to Bobcat Austin Gafford. They were to continue play in the District 14AA tournament Tuesday.