Cats fall to Chester in District
By Amanda Lowrance
The McNairy Central Bobcats ended their season at Chester County against the Eagles, taking third in the TSSAA District AA Tournament.
Blake Chandler took the mound to start the game for the Bobcats. Dakota Roden got an out at first with a grounder that practically hit his glove. Austin Gafford caught a flyball in center field and Chandler made the last out in top of the first with a strikeout.
In the bottom of the first, Gafford led off, then Craig Mullins, and Chandler. They were all called out at first, giving Chester three back-to-back outs.
After a scoreless inning, McNairy’s defense stepped up a notch with an out at first and a double play turned from second to first.
Chester responded with an out caught off Roden’s bat. The Eagles walked the designated hitter, Tyler Wells, and then pulled a double play of their own, tagging Wells at second and Eric Moore at first.
In the top of the third, with the score still knotted at 0, the Bobcats got two outs at second by Brady Dancer and Mullins and then a fly ball was caught by B.J. Dickey at right field.
Bobcat catcher Marcus Nash was out at first in the bottom, followed by two strikeouts thrown by Chester’s pitcher, Josh Cupples.
With no score leading into the fourth, Roden caught an out at first and Chandler hurled three strikes over the plate for the second out. On the third out, Chester’s runner gave up too soon on his trip to first and Roten took an easy out, after struggling for the ball, by stepping on the bag.
In the bottom of the fourth, Gafford was struck out and Mullins was walked. Mullins deftly stole second and then third. Chandler then hit a fly ball into right field that was caught. Lefty hitter Roden stepped up to the plate next and brought Mullins home for the first run of the game. Wells got out at second and the Bobcats celebrated their score of 1-0.
The Bobcats held the lead in the fifth with two outs at first and an out caught by third baseman, Matt Chandler.
Moore and Dancer were struck out in the bottom and Nash was called out at first.
With two outs, Chester made two runs with consecutive errors from Dancer at second. Chandler struck out the next hitter to end the top of the sixth inning at 2-1, Chester.
The Eagles then got three successive outs at first base to send McNairy back on the field.
The Bobcats then made two outs at first and then Gafford made a catch at center field to hold the Eagles to two runs.
McNairy’s last chance at the win rested on the shoulders of Wells after two outs were made at first by Chester. Wells hit a high fly ball into left field that had the crowd on its feet.
As Wells rounded first, he fell to his knees as Chester made the catch to win the ballgame 2-1, ending the Bobcats’ hopes of making the regional playoffs.