The Rangers were unable to solve the South Greene defense.
Unaka was limited to just three hits in a 3-2 loss to South Greene in the Region 1-A Baseball Championship game.
“Our bats struggled a little bit through the night,” Unaka Head Coach Tee Blevins said. “We had some key hits to get our two runs, but we didn’t have enough. The pitchers threw really great for us – so did Casteel he threw a great game. Our defense kept us in it especially the outfield. I am proud of their effort. We still have one more Friday.”
The Rangers will now travel to Grace Christian on Friday for a substate clash.
The first inning set the tone for a defensive struggle as both teams were retired in order. After SG went down in order in the top side of the second, Unaka got the first baserunners of the game with John Ramsey and John Hardin reaching base. However, Casteel recorded a strikeout to end the inning.
Tanner Clark got the game’s first hit with a double for the Rebels,and Ayden Shaw got on base with a walk. However, Ramsey closed the side with a strikeout.
The Rangers put the first run on the board in the home side of the third as Isaac Hill scored on a Abram Hill hit. South Greene and Casteel, however, limited the damage with two consecutive strikeouts to end the inning.
The Rebels countered in the fourth with a Brandon McGhee run, but Unaka answered with a run as Dakota Gallimore scored off an Austin King single in the bottom of the inning to take a 2-1 lead.
South Greene, however, struck gold in the fifth.
Javier Munoz took advantage of a Unaka error to get in scoring position, and then scored on a sacrifice to tie the game. Weston Collins put SG in the lead with a sacrifice fly that drove Tanner Cheek, who reached base on an error, across home plate and put the Rebels in the lead.
The Rangers were unable to get anything going offensively in the game’s final innings.
Unaka must regroup as a trip to Murfreesboro will be on the line on Friday at Grace Christian.
“We are still one game away,” Blevins said. “Anything can happen that game. Tomorrow is going to be a big day for us. We will have practice and regroup. This one is going to hurt, but we need to come in and have a good practice. We are just one game away.”