Despite their shutout loss to Hixson Wednesday afternoon, the Pioneers are headed to the Region 3 AA High School Baseball Tournament next week.
It is believed to be East Ridge’s first trip to the regions since 1996. As runner-up in the District 6 A/AA, the Pioneers (9-12) will travel to either Loudon or Sequoyah next Monday for its region opener.
“I’m very proud of this team,” said second-year head coach Randall Boldin. “They’ve come a very long way.”
After hammering Central, 13-3, on Monday to advance out of the loser’s bracket to Wednesday’s finals, East Ridge ran into Hixson’s Tanner Moylan, one of the league’s best pitchers. Moylan (6-1) allowed only two hits in blanking East Ridge, 10-0 in five innings.
East Ridge’s hits came courtesy of Gavin Rienichie in the third inning, a liner to center, and Chris Callaham’s fourth-inning single.
Jesse Jones, winless on the season, gave up six hits to Hixson (25-6).
Coach Boldin said the loss was characteristic of how his young team faltered earlier this year in the regular season: lack of hitting, little support for the pitcher and mental errors.
Boldin said after the game that his team needs to regroup. “Their hopes are up,” he said. “Their spirits are up. We’ve got a region game coming up.”
Rienichie and Jones were named to the All Tournament Team.