The depths of despair were about as deep as their fans could stand but Ooltewah coach Brian Hitchcox kept the faith.
Even when they fell behind 7-0 on a second-inning grand-slam by Cookeville's Caleb Savage, Hitchcox felt the Owls' chances were good.
"I felt if we could get some good at-bats we could get right back in it," he said. "I knew we weren't going to quit."
The Owls came all the way back, grabbing an 8-7 lead in the bottom of the fourth. But Cookeville showed that comeback was a big part of its now 34-1 record, regaining the lead in the top of the fifth and pushing across an insurance run in the seventh to nail down an 11-9 victory.
The Cavaliers return home to host Region 4-AAA runner-up Tullahoma on Friday while Ooltewah will be on the road to challenge surprise Region 4 winner Murfreesboro Riverdale.
"It would have been nice to host a sectional Friday but that's not what matters. We have played both [Riverdale and Tullahoma] this year and know what the match-ups are. You just hope to go and play your best."
Drew Williams, who came on in relief of Kevin Dupree and tossed a couple of shutout innings at the Cavaliers, was the hard-luck loser. Dupree and Logan Fugate led the Owls with two hits apiece.
Savage had just one hit but got the maximum RBIs on the swat that easily cleared the right-field scoreboard, and he also had a sacrifice fly for another RBI. Ooltewah had no answer for Jeffrey Reidel, who went 4-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBIs. Darien Tubbs, the Cavaliers' Memphis signee, had a 3-for-5 night with three runs scored.
Contact Ward Gossett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-886-4765.