Hollis Fanning

Hollis Fanning pitches against Shelbyville at Lincoln County on Sunday. Fanning allowed just three runs in the Wildcats' 3-0 loss to the Golden Eagles. 

Despite getting runners on base in the first two innings, Tullahoma couldn’t capitalize and plate a run against Shelbyville in the District 8-AAA Elimination Game. Levi Hedrick pitched a gem for the Golden Eagles, holding the Wildcats scoreless in a 3-0 victory on Sunday at Lincoln County.

Hedrick got some help in the bottom of the fourth inning, when the Golden Eagles plated their first run. The big blow came in the bottom of the sixth inning, when Austin Johnson hit a two-run home run to center field, putting Shelbyville on top 3-0.

With the loss, Tullahoma concluded its regular season. The Wildcats finish the 2019 campaign with an overall record of 18-15.

“Anytime you end your season, it’s disappointing,” said THS Head Coach Phil King. “I thought we really had a chance coming into today. I thought we had a good game plan heading in against this lefty. When you look at the box score, we only had a hit, but we only had two strikeouts. We did a pretty decent job of putting balls in play. They just made plays.”

Shelbyville kept its season alive with the victory over Tullahoma. On Monday, the Golden Eagles added another victory, beating Lawrence County 8-4. As of press time, the results of Tuesday’s matchup for Shelbyville was unavailable.

On Sunday, Kobe Burks led off the game with a double into right field for Tullahoma. Rhett Birdsong followed by getting hit by the pitch in his at-bat. However, bad luck plagued the Wildcats then, as Race Marin grounded into a double play, before Levi Langham grounded to first base, ending the scoring threat.

Tommy McCullough led off the top of the second inning by getting hit by the pitch in his at-bat. Briasen Corn came into the game as the courtesy runner, shortly thereafter stealing second base. Corn was then moved to third base, when Cam Hargrove grounded into a fielder’s choice for the first out of the inning.

However, Tullahoma again couldn’t take advantage. Jared TeVrucht and Colten Tucker both grounded out to the pitcher’s mound in back-to-back at-bats, keeping the contest scoreless.

“Early in the game, we have a situation where we have runners on first and second with no outs. It’s very rare that a player like Race is going to hit into a double play,” King said. “Then the next inning, we get a guy to third with less than two outs, and then you hit a ball that takes a funky hop. We had opportunities and I thought early that we were going to score runs, it just didn’t happen for us.”

Neither team could break onto the scoreboard until the bottom of the fourth, when a bloop single helped give Shelbyville the advantage. Dalton Puckett drew a walk to start the inning and then stole second base shortly thereafter, before moving to third on a sacrifice bunt by Mason Wright.

Hunter Wilhelm followed by singling home Puckett, as the ball landed into shallow right field, as the runner raced home to put the Golden Eagles in front 1-0.

Burks reached base for Tullahoma in the top of the fifth inning, but was picked off heading to second. The Wildcats were then retired in order in the top of the sixth, before Shelbyville ultimately put the game away in the bottom half of the frame.

Wright reached base on a dropped third strike in his at-bat. With two outs in the inning, Johnson connected with a pitch, hammering it to center field, and giving the Golden Eagles a 3-0 advantage.

With two outs in the top of the seventh inning, TeVrucht reached base for Tullahoma off of an error by Shelbyville. However, Tucker grounded out in his at-bat, sealing the victory for the Golden Eagles.

Hedrick tossed the complete game for Shelbyville. In seven innings, he allowed just a hit on a walk and two strike outs.

Hollis Fanning was also solid for Tullahoma, despite taking the loss. In six innings, he allowed three runs on four hits and three walks, while striking out eight batters.