MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - With a chance to advance and defend its Class A state baseball championship, Decatur County wasted no time and left no doubt with a 23-4 victory over South Pittsburg on Thursday evening.
The Panthers (36-2) scored seven runs in the home half of the first inning, added six in the second and continued piling on with 10 in the third in roaring into today's title game against Friendship Christian, which won the other bracket with a 4-0 defeat of Summertown.
Decatur County scored four runs before the Pirates recorded an out in the first inning. Besides allowing 16 hits, the Pirates also committed seven errors.
"There's not much you can say after a game like that," Pirates coach Wesley Stone said. "I wish we hadn't made seven errors because that really opened it up early, but the bottom line is they just hit the ball really well. I think everybody in the state who has seen them knows they're as good a team as there is in the state in any class.
"We have to look at the positives and be real proud of what we accomplished as a total body of work."
After losing its first game of the tournament, South Pittsburg won two Wednesday to move on.
South Pittsburg's six seniors went from winning just four games as freshmen to reaching the state tournament's final four and setting a school record for wins, finishing 37-4.
"Get back here next year and win it all," said senior pitcher Hunter Giles, who carried the team for much of the season, finishing 11-0 on the mound. "Come back here and do that for me."
Brandon McFall had a three-run home run for Decatur County, while Alex Whitwell was 2-for-2 with a homer and four RBIs and Will Crawley was 4-for-4 with two RBIs. Jake Stone had two RBIs for the Pirates.