By BOBBY WHITT/ Contributor
SPARTA - All things considered Woodbury American Legion Post 279 put together three competitive games in the Sparta Summer Invitational last weekend; however, the end result was a 1-2 mark.
The Lions defeated the Fentress County Volunteers 7-2, but lost to Simonton (Ala.), 4-3, in pool play and suffered a 5-1 setback to Cookeville in the quarterfinal round of bracket competition.
“It is tough when you are playing 18-under tournaments with primarily a 16-under team, especially against the competition we are facing; however, our team will be better for it and that’s the main objective,” Post 279 manager Tony Stinnett said. “We are competing and we are in the games. We just have to clean up some things, continue to improve our hitting and learn how to finish.”
The Lions did a great job finishing Fentress County. The game was tied 2-2 after four but the Lions scored five in the fifth to break it open.
Nathan McGuire and Tucker Francis teamed for the win on the mound. McGuire pitched three innings of one-hit baseball and Francis followed with two innings of no-hit baseball.
Rising sophomore centerfielder Jared Judkins continued to have a strong all-around summer for the Lions. He was 1-1 with two walks, scored three runs and stole two bases in the leadoff position.
Graden Strang, Jake Todd, Tucker Francis and Jackson Mason all had hits as Woodbury secured the opening win in pool play.
Francis drove in the team’s first two runs, scoring Judkins both times.
Stinnett said Mason’s presence in the middle of the order is pleasing and he also lauded the continued strong play of catcher Trent Bragg, as well as the development of Austin Martin and continued improvement of Jake Todd.
The Lions were two outs from winning their pool and owned a 3-2 lead against Simonton in the bottom of the seventh, but Post 279 gave up two late runs and suffered the loss.
Strang was 2-for-3 with a double, Judkins doubled and Mason had a RBI single for Post 279. The Lions had taken a 3-2 lead in the top of the seventh when Jonathon Mitchell walked. Josh Williams pinch ran and moved to second on Bailey Hale’s sacrifice. Judkins’ two-out double plated Williams with the go-ahead run.
Simiton came back with two in the bottom of the inning to secure the win.
The Lions then suffered a 5-1 loss to Cookeville, despite two hits from Trent Bragg.