For six and a half innings Tuesday evening, the Jacksboro Tiger baseball team seemed poised to earn a crucial district victory against the Henrietta Bearcats.
The Tigers took a 9-2 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning. However, they were not able to withstand a furious rally by Henrietta and eventually dropped a 10-9 decision to the Bearcats.
The Tigers threatened in the top of the first inning as Kyle Clark and Tyler Pippin both reached base on perfectly executed bunts. However, a double play ended the threat for the Tigers. Chase Thompson took the mound for the Tigers and was able to work out of a jam in the bottom of the first as he retired the last two Bearcat hitters to keep the game scoreless after one inning.
Hunter Drennan started a Tiger rally in the top of the second inning as he singled to right field. Jake Johnson then stole second and third base and scored on a single by Colton Massengale. Massengale would go on to steal second base and score on a Bearcat error to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead going into the bottom of the second inning. Thompson was able to work around a Bearcat double in the bottom of the second inning to preserve the Tiger’s two run lead after two innings.
Thompson singled in the third inning and scored on a single by Cooper Tisdale to extend the Tiger lead to 3-0. The Bearcats threatened to erase the Tiger lead in the bottom of the third inning. The Bearcats loaded the bases with one out and scored a run on a walk. Thompson helped himself in the field as the inning ended when he speared a line drive and threw to first to complete an inning-ending double play.
The Tigers put six runs on the board in the fourth inning. Massengale singled, Collin Kinder walked and Clark was safe on a bunt to load the bases. Pippin knocked in two runs with a single and Clark scored when Tisdale beat out an infield single to give the Tigers a 6-1 lead. Thompson made quick work of the Bearcats in the bottom of the fourth to keep the Tiger lead at 6-1. Catcher Hunter Drennan helped keep the Bearcats off the board in the bottom of the fifth as he picked a runner off second base and the Tigers entered the sixth inning with a 6-1 lead.
Jacksboro would score three times in the sixth inning. Clark led off with an infield single, he scored on a double by Pippin. Pippin would score on a single from Thompson who came around to score on a single from Tisdale. Henrietta was able to escape without any further damage when a line drive smash was snagged by the Bearcat pitcher and turned into a double play that left the Tigers with a 9-1 lead.
Henrietta would put one run on the board in the bottom of the sixth which set up the heartbreaking bottom of the seventh for the Tigers. Jacksboro entered the inning with a 9-2 lead. The first three bearcat hitters in the bottom of the seventh reached base. The Tigers combated by bringing Tisdale on to pitch. The next three Bearcat runners reached base and Coach Blake Belcher turned to Pippin to close out the game. Pippin induced a ground ball to record the first out of the inning, however a run scored and the Bearcats had fought back to within 9-6. Pippin locked up in a tough at bat with the next Bearcat hitter as the count went full before a three run home run tied the score at nine. The next batter had an infield single and stole second base. Two more walks loaded the bases and the Bearcats scored the winning run on a fielders choice.
Pippin, Clark and Tisdale all finished the game with three hits. Clark scored twice and Tisdale and Pippin each had three RBI.
In other district action, Holliday defeated Nocona and Bowie defeated City View.
The game marked the halfway point of the district season. Holliday leads the district with a record of 5-0. Bowie and Henrietta are tied with 3-2 records and Jacksboro is tied with Nocona with a record of 2-3.
The Tigers will travel to City View to take on the Mustangs Friday evening.