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Franklin County Rebel baseball coach Michael Carter says he likes for his team to be just a notch above even keel. Well after this past weekend the team is probably on cloud nine.
After traveling to Soddy Daisy on Friday night, and taking down a talented a talented Trojans team 10-3. The Rebels were back at it the next day at home, hosting District 7-AAA powerhouse, the Blackman Blaze.
Franklin County took care of business in a game that went down to the wire, burning out the Blaze 6-5.
First inning action lulled on, with neither team scoring, and Rebel Tyler Rhoton the only player getting a hit through the opening inning of play.
Defensive efforts were impressive by the Rebels early on, including a diving outfield catch by junior Nick Ashley that could have been a sports center top-10 nominee.
The outfield is banged up, according to coach Carter, but he acknowledges the level of play he is getting out of his players out there.
“They’ve made some really great plays,” Carter said of his outfielers.
Blackman took an early lead in the top of the second, managing a run with two outs. After another scoreless inning from the Rebels, the Blaze added to their lead driving in another run in the top of the third inning.
Trailing by two runs entering the bottom of the third, the Rebels bats caught on fire for a big offensive inning.
Sophomore Ty Wallace started things off, getting on base then being driven in for a score, he was followed by Nick Ashley shortly thereafter.
After getting on base with a single, Rebels Dewayne Parsons, and Rhoton each used a few Blaze errors to advance, and eventually cross home plate.
In all the Rebels scored four runs, and took a 4-2 lead heading into the top of the fourth inning.
Through the fourth and fifth inning Rebel pitcher Trevor Barnes settled in, giving up just one hit, and striking out three through the two-inning run.
Unfortunately, the Rebel offense went cold and didn’t take advantage of the opportunity.
Trouble struck in the top of the sixth inning for the Rebels, as Blackman regained the lead with a three-run inning. The Blaze’s inning was ended when Barnes caught a runner in a run-down.
Damage had been done though, and for the first time since the third inning the Rebel trailed.
Trailing 5-4, the Rebels were unable to gain any ground in the bottom of the sixth inning, despite getting a runner to third base.
Zach Smith came into the game to pitch for the Rebels in the top of the seventh, and the hard-throwing senior was lights out.
Facing the top of the Blaze’s lineup, Smith struck out the first two batters, and finished out the inning without giving up a hit.
Trailing by one run the Rebels needed to score to at least have a chance to win, or extend the ball game.
Gus Barstad got the Rebels started, getting on base with an error by the Blaze. Barstad’s base would eventually turn into a score for the Rebels.
After a few walks, Rebel senior Asa Jones took to the batters box with a chance to end the game, with bases loaded and a tie ball game 5-5 in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Jones battled the count and was eventually walked, driving in the winning run for the Rebels.
With a 6-5 win over a strong Blackman team of Murfreesboro, the Rebels are rolling and look to have a great season.
The team still has some areas in which in needs to work on however, one of which is being more selective at the plate.
“We’re not putting the ball in play with enough consistency,” Carter answered when asked on what his team needs to work on. To sum it up, Carter says his team is striking out too often.
Capable of big innings the Rebels need to find a stronger level of consistency, rather than relying on the multiple run innings, which they are currently living by.
Franklin County will return to the baseball diamond tonight, when they get ready for a two-game District 8-AAA rivalry series with Tullahoma High School.
The Rebels will host the Tullahoma Wildcats this evening with a first pitch time scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
Franklin County (6-3-1) currently boasts a slightly better record than the Wildcats (6-4).
However, Tullahoma holds the district advantage (3-1) to Franklin County (2-2).
Action gets underway tonight in what should be some great baseball.