Rangers fall in first round of conference tournament

Published 4:17 pm Tuesday, May 10, 2022

With the high school regular-season baseball campaign having been wrapped up, tournament play began for area teams with two Carter County squads kicking things off on Monday evening in the TSSAA Class 1-A District 1 tournament.

The first of these teams were the Rangers of Unaka High, taking on the University High Buccaneers to kick off the tournament.

As the away team, the Rangers would bat first, but it was nothing doing as it was three straight outs to start the contest.

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However, the same could not be said for the Bucs, as their first frame brought three runs with it, as Hank Stott blasted a baseball to right-center to bring two runs across, followed by a Bushy Ryder sacrifice fly to add one more before the final out.

It was again nothing doing for Unaka in the second, with another scoreless top half taking place before University High would strike again.

This time, the Bucs would add five in the inning, with three of those runs coming from wild pitches on the Rangers side. The fourth run would come from a lack of communication in left field by Unaka while the fifth would be a result of another sacrifice fly. After two, Unaka had some ground to make up, down 8-0.

With new pitcher Jaylen Hardin reaching base in the top of the third inning, things looked hopeful for the Rangers. But a pick-off move would kill the momentum as Unaka would come up empty-handed again.

The Bucs would add on four more runs in the third frame, as this time Miles Bembry would come across on the wild pitch. After that, Drew Finney would score two more runners on a double to right-center field before Ryder would add on one more with a shot down the left-field line, increasing the advantage to 12-0 before the fourth.

After another scoreless frame, the Bucs would add on seven more in their half of the fourth, and with the score being a lopsided 19-0, the contest was called after the Rangers’ final three outs due to the 10-run mercy rule.

The Rangers will play again on Tuesday evening against Hampton High School in an elimination game at David Crockett High School. That game will take place after North Greene takes on University High at 5 p.m.