With both teams easily clearing out their sides of the draw, the Pigeon Forge Tigers beat the Goodpasture Cougars 5-3 to clinch the Class AA baseball state title.
The Cougars and Tigers came into the game a combined 73-5 and clearly the two best teams in the entire state at the AA classification.
The Cougars left two men on base in the opening two innings but dominant on the mound with only one runner for Pigeon Forge making it to first base. The third inning saw Pigeon Forge rally and load the bases for Ben Breazeale. Breazeale could not come up with the clutch hit leaving the game tied at zero heading into the fourth inning.
The score remained tied at zero until a huge fifth inning by the Cougars. Goodpasture designated hitter Scott Ellis drove in pinch runner Davis Murray with a single up the middle giving the Cougars a 1-0 lead. Three batters later, Carter Wiseman drove a pitch into left center field for a 2-RBI triple and a 3-0 lead for Goodpasture heading into the sixth inning.
The Tigers went down in order in the sixth inning but had a huge momentum boost in the bottom of the inning getting out of a bases loaded jam without giving up any runs. The ability to get out without Goodpasture scoring would become the biggest moment of the game for the Tigers.
Pigeon Forge came into the seventh inning down 3-0 and needing to tie the game in order to keep going. Colt Buchanan started the inning by reaching on an error and advancing to second base. Drake Byrd followed with a double to right center advancing Buchanan to third base and bringing the tying run to the plate. A passed ball on a pitch from J.P. Brenzie scored Buchanan and advanced Byrd to third base making the game 3-1 with no outs.
Koleman Roach singled to right field scoring Byrd and cutting the Goodpasture lead to 3-2. Drew Hall came in to pitch for Brenzie and immediately got two outs with Roach making it to third base with two outs. Jake Griffin singled to center field scoring Roach and tying the game at three in the seventh inning. Griffin was then caught stealing ending the huge inning for the Tigers.
Goodpasture got one man on base but was unable to score sending the title game to extra innings tied at three.
Pigeon Forge started the eighth inning with back-to-back singles but then two outs from the next two batters left runners on second and third base with two outs. Shortstop Drake Byrd came to the plate and singled down the right field line scoring both runners and giving Pigeon Forge their first lead of the day at 5-3. Roach grounded out a batter later and went into the bottom of the eighth inning with a two run lead.
Piegon Forge pitcher Wil Crowe took matters into his own hands striking out the side to end the game with a 5-3 win and the Class AA crown for the Tigers.
Crowe was the winning pitcher with a complete game (8 innings) including 15 strikeouts on 157 pitches while Drew Hall took the loss for the Cougars.