By TONY STINNETT, Courier Sports Editor
Good things tend to happen when Nick Vassar toes the mound for Cannon County.
The two-time All-District pitcher ended weeks of frustration and, where DeKalb County is concerned, years of disappointment, as the Lions turned back the Tigers, 5-3, in the opening game of a two-game District 8-AA series at Woodbury Baseball Complex.
Vassar (1-0) pitched a complete game, scattering six hits, striking out eight and walking one. He threw 98 pitches, 67 for strikes and generally pitched ahead in the count to lead the Lions (1-11, 1-3) to their first win of the season and their first against rival DeKalb County since 2009.
“It’s really great to get a win against your rival team especially since we had not beat them in a long time,” Vassar said. “I felt like I had control over my pitches and was hitting my spots. I had a good defense behind me getting outs and making plays. It felt good to finally get a win.”
The Lions were not able to complete the sweep, dropping a tough 4-1 decision at DeKalb Tuesday.
The series-opening win may not have occurred if not for timely hitting.
Juniors Trent Braggy and Jackson Mason were clutch, and sophomores Jarred Judkins, Austin Martin and Tucker Francis were solid.
Martin was 3-for-4 with the game-winning RBI. Braggy also had a multi-hit game, going 2-for-3. Judkins was 1-for-3 with two RBI, and Mason was 1-for-3 with one RBI. Francis was on base three times, collected a hit and scored twice.
“You always like to beat DeKalb,” said first-year coach Justin Fann, who was a senior in 2009 the last time Cannon County toppled the Tigers on the diamond. “We haven’t beat them a lot through the years so it’s special for the first win to come against them.”
The game was tied, 3-3, when the Lions came off of the deck in the bottom of the sixth. There were two outs and no one on base when Jake Todd started the crucial uprising.