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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Cooter powers past Chaffee in Class 1 sectional

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Chaffee's Trevor Cannon is tagged out by Cooter third baseman Jonathan Boone in the third inning Tuesday afternoon in the Class 1 Sectional game at Chaffee. David Jenkins, staff
CHAFFEE -- Cooter's Zach Watkins tried to do what all players do when they get the pitch they want; try to get solid contact and drive it as far as they can.

He did both.

"He threw it right down the middle," Watkins said. "I tried to hit it hard and make good contact with it.

"It just went out."

The junior hammered a pitch over the 20-foot, centerfield fence in the fifth inning in Tuesday's Class 1 sectional round game.

Watkins' solo home run was the go-ahead and eventual winning run in Cooter's 4-2 victory over the Red Devils. It was also the Wildcats' first of two home runs on the day.

"We knew they were a team all season long that could swing the bats," Chaffee head coach Brian Horrell said. "People talk about the size of ball park they play on but, you know, a home run is a home run.

"They showed that if your capable of home runs you can hit them anywhere."

Senior Logan Edwards hit the second long ball in the sixth inning giving the Wildcats a crucial two-run lead heading into the final inning. Cooter's first two runs came in the bottom of the first after a walk and a steal by Seth Childers was followed by a triple from Watkins to deep right-centerfield. Watkins was pushed across shortly after by a groundout from Jonathan Boone.

"These kids stay back and see the ball real well and get good cuts," Cooter head coach Allen Crawford said. "That's what you want, just to put a good swing on it. They're big, strong, physical kids.

"Pitching and defense is how you win games but, every once and a while you've got to get a couple of timely hits."

Chaffee's timely hit would never come.

Although they battled back to tie the game at two runs apiece, the Red Devils stranded 11 runners on base, including a bases loaded situation in the top of the fourth inning.

"We had opportunities to score some runs," Horrell said. "We hit the ball, but we just couldn't get the big hit with runners in scoring position.

"Ultimately that got us."

On top of giving the Wildcats a 3-2 lead, Watkins was asked to get the final nine outs of the game while on the mound.

Watkins inherited two runners from Jordan Anderson in the top of the fifth. A 4-6-3 double play erased one of those inherited runners, but an RBI double by Chaffee's Andrew Terhune tied the game at 2-2.

"I just had to stay calm and keep breathing," Watkins said. "I tried not to get nervous and throw strikes and hope the defense makes the plays.

"Hopefully they'll swing and miss or hit it on the ground to somebody."

Chaffee's Jared Walker and Trevor Cannon worked consecutive walks to begin the final half inning. A groundout by Alex Davie moved them both up a base with just one out and a single possibly scoring two runs putting a lot of pressure on the right-hander.

"Watkins has been lights out for about four of five batters all year," Crawford said. "He had to get nine outs and wasn't quite as sharp that last inning."

Watkins answered, however, with back-to-back strikeouts to end the game as well as the Red Devils' season.

Chaffee's Andrew Dooley received the loss working all six innings. He gave up five hits and three walks which led to the four earned runs. Dooley also struck out seven.

"I thought Dooley threw it well," Horrell said. "He struggled sometimes at the beginning of innings with lead-off walks that come back to hurt him. But, he settled in and battled.

"He's our best and I thought he threw well enough."

Chaffee out-hit the Wildcats seven to five with Daniel Dooley and Terhune each going 2-for-3 with a double and a single.

The Red Devils finish their season with a 14-9 record and a dramatic district championship win over the No. 1 seed Bernie Mules. Chaffee, will be saying goodbye to one senior, Josh Hendrix.

"As any young ball club will do, we had our ups and downs this season," Horrell said. "We got hot late and we played very well. We had great pitching and great defense and timely hitting."

Cooter (21-6) will move on the Class 1 quarterfinal round against the Oak Ridge Blue Jays today at 4 p.m.

Chaffee 010 010 0 -- 2

Cooter 200 011 x -- 4

WP -- Zach Watkins. LP -- Andrew Dooley. Multiple hitters -- (CH) Daniel Dooley 2-3, Andrew Terhune 2-3; (C) Watkins 2-3. 2B -- (CH) Trevor Cannon, D. Dooley, Terhune, Nathan Cicardi. 3B -- (C) Watkins. HR -- (C) Watkins, Logan Edwards.