On Monday night, a momentum shift came for the Cherokee baseball team in the form of a 4-6 double play that ended the fifth inning and sparked a Chiefs rally for a 9-6 win over Big 7 Conference and Hawkins County rival Volunteer.
Cherokee trailed by four runs after the third, but the never- say-die attitude of coach Matt Carter’s team prevailed again.
“We talked a lot to our guys about big plays like a strikeout or a double play,” Carter said. “We haven’t turned a traditional double play yet, but we’ve been close. ...
“As soon as they got off the field, I told them that was it and that we needed to go swing the bats.”
Hayden Long and Carter Morelock didn’t need to swing the bats, though. Both drew walks to open the Chiefs’ half of the sixth inning. Trent Price then laid a beautiful bunt down the third base line and reached first safely.
With the bases loaded and nobody out, three straight singles opened the floodgates for four Cherokee runs that erased a three-run lead for Volunteer.
Cherokee (7-8, 2-5) tacked on two more runs in the inning for the 9-6 lead, and relief pitcher Luke Condra shut down Volunteer (1-9, 0-7) from there.
Japheth Curtsinger was 2-for-5, both singles, with an RBI for the Chiefs, who had six players record an RBI. Cherokee batters struck out only twice.
Quinn Brooks had the Falcons’ biggest hit of the day, a two-out, RBI single in the bottom of the third. Eli Dixon pitched five innings and allowed eight earned runs to take the loss. He also went 2-for-3 at the plate with one RBI.
Chiefs starting pitcher Jesse Forgety struck out four in the no-decision. Condra took home the win by pitching the final three frames, allowing just one hit and walking two.
The teams meet again in the Tuesday turnaround contest at the Reservation. First pitch is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.