Tigers trounce Union 15-3 to start 3-AA tournament
The Pigeon Forge Tigers were all business in their district tournament opener against the visiting Union County Patriots on Friday night, showing no early mercy in a 15-3 mercy rule affair at Jack A. Parton Field.
“We came out strong, no doubt,” said Tigers coach Mike Guinn. “But we kind of lost our focus a little bit late after we made some substitutions.
“We didn’t play as well as we should have with some of the young guys, but hopefully they learn from it and do better.”
Pigeon Forge got off to a good start when Wil Crowe blasted a solo shot (9) over the left field fence, and starting pitcher Colt Buchanan helped his own cause two slots later with a solo homer (2) over the right field fence to make it 2-0 Tigers early.
The Orange and Black were just starting to heat up, however, rallying for eight more runs in the bottom of the second.
Chase Effler made it 3-0 with a base knock to left, Josh Griffin picked up an RBI on a fielder’s choice to make it 4-0, catcher Ben Breazeale upped it to 5-0 with an RBI on a ground out, third baseman Drake Byrd made it 7-0 with a two-RBI single up the middle on a ball that had eyes, and Koleman Roach delivered the biggest blast of the game with a three-run dinger (3) over the right field fence to make it 10-0 heading into the third.
The Tigers added another four runs in the bottom of the third with a two-out rally.
Buchanan picked up his second RBI of the night with a double that stayed just fair down the right field line to make it 11-0, Byrd followed with his third and fourth RBIs of the night on another ball with eyes up the middle that upped it to 13-0, and designated hitter Thomas Sims did just that with an RBI line drive to center to make it 14-0 heading into the fourth.
The Patriots rallied for three runs in the top of the fourth against relief pitcher Byrd, who moved to the mound from third, but it was mostly irrelevant to the Tigers’ night.
Byrd helped make up for it in the bottom of the fourth, however, driving in his fifth run on the night with an RBI single to right to make it the eventual final heading into the top of the fifth.
Buchanan picked up the win with three innings of work, allowing no runs on no hits with no walks and four Ks after facing just nine Union County batters.
The Tigers next host Gibbs at 3 p.m. today, barring a rain-out, with a district tourney finals bid and region tournament berth on the line.