By BOBBY WHITT/ Courier Contributor
Woodbury Post 279 earned a win against the Middle Tennessee Mudcats and narrowly missed an upset against Oakland in the Tullahoma “End of Summer Bash” last weekend.
The Lions downed the Mudcats - primarily comprised of players from Forrest High School - by a 5-1 count. They dropped a 3-2 decision against Oakland in the tournament opener when the Patriots scored the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Post 279 also suffered losses to Shelbyville Post 23 and Cookeville.
Nathan McGuire and Graden Strang combined to stymie the Mudcats. McGuire pitched the first three-plus innings before Strang came in to close the game.
McGuire left with a 2-0 lead and earned the win. Strang registered the save.
Hitting was a strong suit against the Mudcats. Seven different Lions had hits, including four multi-hit performances. Strang was 3-for-4 with a double, run scored and one RBI. Trent Bragg was 3-for-4 with a double, run scored and one RBI. Jackson Mason was 2-for-3 with two doubles, one RBI and one run scored and Austin Martin was 2-for-3 with a run scored. Jared Judkins and Nick Vassar also had base hits in the win.
It appeared the Lions were going to have two wins, including what would have been a big upset against Class AAA Oakland. Woodbury suffered a 3-2 loss when the Patriots scored the winning run on a two-out single in the bottom of the seventh.
Strang started the game but had to come out after two innings with a groin injury. Tucker Francis came aboard and pitched four-plus innings of three-hit ball to give the Lions a chance to win.
“Tucker was awesome,” Lions manager Tony Stinnett said. “He has been solid all summer and his consistency has been a big thing. Tucker has given his team a chance to win in all but one outing. Cannon County baseball fans are going to enjoy watching this kid play for the next three years.”
Woodbury led 1-0 after the top of the second when Strang tripled and scored on Bragg’s single. After the Patriots came back with two in to bottom of the second, Woodbury evened the slate with a run in the third. Jared Judkins reached on a one-out single and moved to second on Nick Vassar’s base hit. Judkins scored when Strang legged out an infield hit to tie the score, 2-2.
The score remained tied until the bottom of the seventh.
Woodbury Post 279 begins play in the American Legion Junior Division State Tournament this week.