After Columbia cut its deficit down to 7-5 at the end of the fourth inning, the Tullahoma Little League 10-year-old All-Stars got the bats going again, plating nine runs in the final two innings, dominating in a 16-5 victory on Thursday.
With the win, the Wildcats captured the District 8 Tournament Title, clinching a seat in the state tournament. The 10U State Tournament will take place in Dandridge and gets underway on July 6. As of press time, a full bracket for the state tournament had yet to be released.
During the title game, Tullahoma found itself tied with Columbia early, before the Wildcats broke through for four runs in the top of the second inning. Tullahoma went on to plate two more runs in the third inning, taking a 7-1 advantage into the fourth inning.
However, Columbia wouldn’t go away quietly, plating four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, cutting the score to 7-5. Tullahoma countered by putting the game way with nine more runs in the next two innings, seizing a 16-5 advantage.
Prior to taking on Columbia in the district title game on Thursday, Tullahoma had already previously defeated Columbia in the first game of the tournament on June 22. The Wildcats led off their district tournament with a dominating 13-3 run-rule victory over Columbia.
In that first game, Tullahoma fell behind early, surrendering a pair of runs in the top of the first inning, as Columbia grabbed early control. However, that lead wouldn’t last long, as the Wildcats plated five runs in the bottom of the first and second inning, taking a commanding 10-2 advantage.
Tullahoma followed that with three more runs in the third inning, while limiting Columbia to just one more score in the top of the fourth, securing the run-rule victory.
Parke Fulks got the start for the Wildcats in that opening victory. In 2.2 innings pitched, he allowed two runs on a hit and five walks, while striking out three batters.
Beau Saunders came in to pitch the final 1.1 innings for Tullahoma. Saunders allowed an unearned run, a hit and two walks, while striking out three batters.
Saunders also led the Wildcats at the plate, collecting three hits in his three at-bats. He also had two RBIs for Tullahoma, and scored three runs.
Patrick Riddle also drove in a pair of runs for Tullahoma in the victory, collecting a hit in his one at-bat. Jax Ross and Jonas Roper each had an RBI of their own in the victory.
On Monday night, Brodie Howard and Saunders teamed to keep Estill Springs scoreless in an 8-0 victory, assuring the Wildcats a spot into the district title game. Howard got the start for Tullahoma, allowing just a hit and a walk, while striking out six batters in four innings pitched.
Saunders followed by tossing the final two innings for the Wildcats, allowing just a hit and two walks, while striking out three batters.
Tullahoma quickly jumped on Estill Springs on Monday, plating two runs in each the first and second innings, before piling on four more scores in the third inning. Connor Parker led the Wildcats with three hits in the victory, including driving in three runs. Fulks, JP Damron and Whit Pless each had an RBI of their own.
The Tullahoma 10-year-old All-Stars were the second team to earn a state tournament berth, after the Wildcats’ 12-year-old team also won district on Monday night. The Tullahoma 12-year-old All-Stars defeated Columbia in a 5-1 victory.
The 12U State Tournament will take place in Bristol and gets underway on July 13. As of press time, the full bracket for that tournament had yet to be released.