By TONY STINNETT, Courier Sports Editor
Cannon County's play on the diamond has been something to brag about lately.
Trent Bragg keyed the Lions' continued late-season surge with another strong performance at the plate as Cannon County turned back Warren County, 4-1, Thursday (April 24).
Bragg was 3-for-3 with two RBI as the Lions (7-19-1) won their third straight. Cannon County has won five of its last six overall.
"We have just kept battling and working to improve and we are playing our best baseball here at the end," Bragg said. "Warren County is a good team so this was a good test for us late in the year. This game shows how much we have improved."
The win against a Class AAA team only added to what has become a confident team. In addition to Bragg's big hitting day, Austin Martin was 1-for-3 with a double and one run scored, Jake Todd was 1-for-2 with a double and two runs scored, and Sam Schau and Preston Campbell each had one hit.
"Warren County is a good team, a Class AAA team and they have been playing some good teams close," Lions coach Justin Fann said. "We were without two starters (Nick Vassar and Justin Williams) so to go into this game feeling good about ourselves and then find out at game time we are down two starters, it says a lot about the team. To come away with a win like that says a lot about the younger players on the team."
Cannon County kept the Pioneers off-balance at the plate by throwing four different pitchers. Austin Martin started and went two innings, followed by Sam Schau for two innings, Jared Judkins for two innings and Chandler Todd came on to close in the seventh. Schau earned the win.
"We wanted to keep them off balance by throwing several different pitchers at them and that seemed to work," Fann said. "It also allowed us to keep our arms fresh with the district tournament coming up."
Warren County managed just two hits against the foursome. The Pioneers collected both of their hits off of Schau and those were back-to-back singles in the third. The three other pitchers combined for five innings of no-hit baseball.
Judkins turned in the turning point of the game with his stellar pitching in the sixth when the Pioneers had runners on second and third with none one out in a 3-2 game. Judkins coaxed a pop out, strikeout and flyout to end the inning without allowing the tying run to score.
Cannon County took a 1-0 lead in the second when Jake Todd doubled and eventually scored on a wild pitch. Warren County tied it 1-1 in the top of the third but the Lions took the lead for good in the bottom of the inning when Martin doubled and scored on Bragg's second hit of the game.
Cannon County pushed the lead to 3-1 in the fifth when Preston Campbell beat out a bunt single, stole second and scored on Bragg's clutch two-out hit.
After Warren County closed to within 3-2 in the sixth, Cannon County added an insurance run in the bottom of the inning and Chandler Todd came on to record his second save in as many tries.
The Lions are scheduled to begin play in the District 8-AA Tournament Friday. Times and first-round opponents have yet to be determined.
This year’s bracket is similar to the College World Series with two four-team brackets at the sites of the two highest seeds. Central Magnet and Upperman will be the host sites. As of presstime, Cannon County woul