Red Bank Lions' remarkable run at TSSAA tournament ends

Red Bank Lions' remarkable run at TSSAA tournament ends

May 24th, 2012 by Ward Gossett in Sportspreps

Trey Hicks

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- The comeback kids' weeks-long fling with Cinderella hit a bump Tuesday and then coasted to an out-of-gas halt Wednesday.

The upstart kids from Red Bank, who were knocked by a tournament official, were ousted from the Tennessee Class AA baseball tournament, 4-3 by Pigeon Forge. Lawson Jordan, the TSSAA's site director at Blackman High, was verbally accosted in a postgame visit with several Red Bank parents.

"He told [Lions assistant coach Brandon] Crews after our first game that we didn't belong here," Red Bank coach Trey Hicks said. "I believe we belonged here. Everybody had the same chances we did, and here we had two games where we put ourselves in situations to win. Other games along the way we had opportunities to win and took advantage. The kids fought hard to get here, and now they have a taste."

His team became the first from Red Bank to secure a state baseball tournament berth, and it took an incredible run. The Lions were behind in almost every postseason game after ending the regular season on a 14-game losing string. They came from behind in seven of eight games to get to Murfreesboro while winning district, region and sectional titles.

"It was an unbelievable run," catcher Tyler Phillips said. "It's something each of us will remember forever. It's pretty special to be the first team in school history to make it this far."

Wednesday's game, which ended with the bases loaded with Lions, left them with their second straight one-run loss, following a 3-2 decision against McNairy Central. Pigeon Forge had to overcome a 2-0 deficit for the win, in part because of Hagen Wilkey's fifth home run of the postseason.

The Lions had just one senior on the team, and the returners already are looking to next year.

"They have already asked about offseason workouts," Hicks said. "The guys fought hard again for two games, and they didn't need to prove anything to anybody but themselves."