It’s been a long wait for the Raider baseball program to claim a district title.
Coffee County Central needed to beat Franklin County twice Wednesday to win the first ever District 6-4A championship and the Raiders did just that, staving off a rally in game one for a 6-5 win and pulling away in game two for an 18-8 run-rule shortened win as both teams began running short of pitching late in the tournament.
Game 1: Raiders 6, Rebels 5
Franklin County scored 2 in the bottom of the seventh and had the tying run on the way to the plate, but Coffee County cut down Gattis Henley at the plate to end the game with the Raiders on top.
A two-hit, 2 RBI performance by Jacob Holder and an RBI to go along with a double by Nolan Jernigan provided most of the offense for the Raiders, who took the lead in the first inning 3-1 and never trailed.
Jayden Fellers earned the win, pitching 6 and 2/3 and allowing 4 earned runs on 6 hits. Cole Bryce got the final out.
Game 2: Raiders 18, Rebels 8
The Raiders saw an 11-0 lead dissipate to 11-8 by the top of the fourth inning, but CHS put the gas back down and ended the game 18-8 with a six-run spot in the bottom of the fifth.
Multiple Raiders notched extra base hits in the game: Jacob Sherrill (2), Holder, Aiden Robertson, Nate Rutledge and Cole Pippenger all doubled. Holder and Sherrill added triples and Pippenger lifted a home run.
First title in a while
The championship for Coffee County is the first in the new district. It also marks the program’s first district tournament title since 2011, when CHS won its last of a run of three tournament titles in a row from 2009-2011.
With the win over Franklin County, the Raiders (16-16) are the no. 1 seed in the Region 3-4A semi-finals and will host Bradley Central (22-13 overall) Monday, May 16. That is an elimination game. The winner of that game will play in the region championship Wednesday and the state sectional on Friday. The Raider baseball team hasn’t played in the state sectional since 2010, when they won and advanced to the program’s only state tournament trip.
Franklin County will travel to Walker Valley for the region semi-finals.