Mason Tompkins earned two wins on Friday night as Blue Ridge baseball clinched their district title by beating Union County 3-2 and 6-0.Mason Tompkins earned two wins on Friday night as Blue Ridge baseball clinched their district title by beating Union County 3-2 and 6-0.Gabe King readies to make a play at third base in Blue Ridge's 6-0 win over Union County.Blue Ridge won its district championship with two wins over Union County on Friday, May 10.

Come Again Another Day: After rain delays, Blue Ridge wins week-long district championship

Trey Stewart's picture
By: 
Trey Stewart

In all of Blue Ridge head coach Travis Henson’s years in the business, he’s never coached a longer game than the Tigers’ district championship this week.

Blue Ridge baseball took two games from Union County on Friday night to clinch the 3-A Upper State District 3 championship.

The Tigers needed to win two over the Jackets to earn the title. They won 3-2 in the first game and 6-0 in the second. The first game began on Monday and was suspended in the top of the eighth due to lightning and rain.

It didn't finish until four days later.

“I’ve been coaching a long time, and that’s the longest game I’ve ever coached,” said Henson. “It started on Monday and ended on Friday. It’s pretty crazy.”

Tied at 2-2, the suspended first game didn’t pick back up until Friday. The Tigers loaded the bases and scored a run on a passed ball to take the lead in the top of the eighth.

That was all they needed, as Mason Tompkins came in and shut it down in the bottom half. Blue Ridge clinched game one to set up a winner-take-all rematch.

In the second game, the Tigers got off to a fast start. Blue Ridge put up two runs in the first, second, and fourth innings to go up 6-0. That ended up being the final, as a stellar outing from senior Mason Tompkins on the mound kept Union County off the board entirely and earned Blue Ridge the district title.

“I’m so proud of this team for how they battle back,” said Henson. “We lost to this team last week and battled back to win this district title. We’ve battled back all year long. They’ve stayed relentless and resilient because that’s who they are.”

MASON MAGIC

Mason Tompkins’ stat line from Friday’s double-header reads almost like a video game.

Eight innings pitched, nine strikeouts, one hit, two wins. More wins on Friday night for the senior than hits allowed.

Tompkins pitched the eighth inning of game one to earn the first win, then threw a complete-game shutout to win the second.

“I was locked in tonight and locating pitches really well,” said Tompkins. “I just had to focus on keeping myself composed and not getting rattled.”

Tompkins bounced back from his first time out against Union County, a 6-4 Blue Ridge loss on May 2.

“For Mason to go out and throw that shutout inning in the first game, and then to go out and throw seven more shutout innings, that’s incredible,” said Henson. “Eight shutout innings against a great lineup. He was unphased.

“Mason’s always calm and not very emotional on the mound, but tonight I saw him get hyped up after a few big strikeouts… I can’t explain how proud I am of that kid.”

THE NEVER-ENDING GAMES

There were questions going into Friday’s game about why the matchup between Blue Ridge and Union County had been suspended so long.

The field was deemed unplayable because of wet grass on Tuesday after Monday’s rain had drenched it. Some disagreed on the field status, believing it to be playable as the weather was sunny. Heavy rain on both Wednesday and Thursday postponed the matchup further.

“We didn't like having to wait so long to play,” said Blue Ridge senior catcher Cade Norton. “But they can [decide to play] whenever they want. They had to come out and beat us twice and couldn’t.”

“It lit a fire under us,” said AJ Cammarota, who was up to bet before Monday’s game was suspended. “It made us more hungry to come out here and win.”

The Tigers took the team bus back and forth from Union three separate times before finally finishing the games. Nonetheless, when it was time to play, they were ready — and motivated.

“Obviously this is something that doesn’t happen very often, so we had to stay focused,” said Cammarota. “I mean, I was up to bat for three-and a half days. We just needed to stay ready to come out here and play today.”

“I think the delay made us want to come out here and beat them five times more than before,” said Norton. “It lit a fire under everybody. It made everyone more mad.”

NEXT UP

It’s a quick turnaround for the Tigers. They’ll play in the 3-A upper state first round against Powdersville just at 4 p.m. Saturday, just 18 hours after the conclusion of Friday night’s games.

But they aren’t complaining.

“We’re playing baseball. If you told me to get on the bus because we’re going to play someone else right now, I’d probably be excited to do it,” said Henson. “We won't be phased by the back-to-back days. We’re just excited to still be playing.”

GAME RECAP

Game 1

Blue Ridge        0    0    2    0    0    0    0    1    3

Union County    1    0    0    0    0    1    0    0    2

BLUE RIDGE STAT LEADERS

Cade Norton - 1-3, 2 RBI

Pitching:
AJ Cammarota - 6.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 11 K
Alex Kiniry - 0.2 IP, BB, 2 K
Mason Tompkins - IP, 2 K, W

Game 2

Union County    0    0    0    0    0    0    0    0

Blue Ridge        2    2    0    2    0    0    X    6

BLUE RIDGE STAT LEADERS

AJ Cammarota - 3-3, R
Cade Norton - 1-2, 2 R, BB
Tucker Upton - 1-3, RBI

Pitching:
Mason Tompkins - 7 IP, H, 3 BB, 7 K, W

trey@greercitizen.com | 877-2076

 

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