District 1A Baseball Championship: Rangers hold on to win title

Published 11:21 pm Wednesday, May 11, 2016

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Star Photo/Bryce Phillips The Unaka Rangers pile on top of freshman pitcher John Ramsey, after Wednesday’s championship win over South Greene.

After the Rangers dropped the first game of the night 10-4 to the South Greene Rebels, it all came down to the if-necessary game  during the championship of the District 1A Baseball Tournament at Tusculum College Wednesday.
Up 4-2 with two outs and the bases loaded in the the top of the seventh, Unaka freshman pitcher John “Boy” Ramsey was feeling the pressure. All that pressure was relieved when South Greene’s Brandon McGee popped an infield fly that came down into Ramsey’s glove for the last out of the game, giving the Rangers a 4-2 win and the title.
A happy Ramsey immediately laid down on the diamond as his teammates rushed the field and dog piled him.
“I was just glad it was over,” Ramsey said after the game. “I struggled today. I am not going to lie, but my team backed me up and we got through it. I am just thankful for all of the coaches, my family and God. It is an unbelievable feeling.”
This is the Rangers’ first title since 2011, and Unaka head coach Tee Blevins was happy to see his team pull off the big win, after dropping the first game.
“Those boys (South Greene) came out here not to lose in that first game,” Blevins said. “I told our boys as we headed into the second game that we did not come down to be lose but to win. They got their minds right, and they went out there and took care of business.”
After the Rebels took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second, the Rangers answered with a run in the bottom of the frame, with John Hardin being walked home to cut South Greene’s lead to 2-1 heading into the third.
In the bottom of the third, Dakota Gallimore got on base with a lead-off walk, before being advanced to second by a sac bunt from Justin Houghton. Gallimore later made his way to third off a wild pitch, before he came to the house off an error to tie things up at 2. Unaka later took a 3-2 lead, when Rangers’ catcher Austin Wilson brought home Austin Kings from third with a sacrifice bunt.
Later that night, Wilson was name the tournament MVP, and when asked how that made him feel, Wilson, who is a senior, was as humble as can be.
“I can’t do it without these younger kids,” he said. “They are the real MVPs.”
For Wilson, the win was made even sweeter by the fact that this is his last season of baseball with the Rangers.
“It means the world to me because these past two years we have had a pretty decent team to be able to do this, but we could not get it done,” Wilson said. “Now I have got a group of freshmen and sophomores who have came in here and helped us get the win.”
The Rangers widen the gap to 4-2 in the sixth inning, with Blake Kings netting Abram Hill with an RBI single.
Unaka finished the night with five hits with Hill picking up two and an RBI.
Ramsey, who tossed the whole game, picked up the win and finished with two strike outs and five hits against him. Even though he didn’t feel like he pitched his best game, Ramsey was excited to be a winning pitcher in a championship contest.
“I have dreamed of something like this ever since I was a little kid,” Ramsey said. “It is unbelievable. Now it is on to the region.”
Along with Wilson’s MVP selection, Hill, Ramsey, and Gallimore were all selected to the All-Tournament team.
The Rangers will host a region contest on Monday.
“We just to keep doing what we have been doing,” said Wilson.

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