Charleston, Lavaca Advance At Regionals

3A-4 Conference Sweeps 3A Region I

By Kevin Taylor Times Record

Taylor Bottoms hit a three-run homer in the third inning Saturday and Charleston never looked back against Greenland.

Austin Pittman and Colton Ward had four hits each as Charleston buried Green Forest, 15-5, in the first round of the rain-delayed 3A Region 1 tournament at Lavaca. The tournament resumes Monday at 10 a.m., when the Tigers face Lavaca.

Bottoms, who had three hits, doubled home two runs to cap a four-run first. Then in the third, after Ward’s RBI double made it 5-3, Bottoms cranked a three-run homer to left. He had three hits in the game.

Charleston (19-4) won despite some shoddy defense. All five Green Forest runs were unearned.

"We made too many mistakes today, and that’s what I told them after the game; the further you go in the state tournament, you can’t give away runs, it will come back to bite you," Charleston coach Josh Underwood said. "We still have room to grow. We still haven’t put a complete game together. Whenever we do, we’re going to be dangerous."

Ty Storey, who came in for Pittman with one out and the bases loaded in the fourth, pitched the final 2 2/3 innings for the win. He singled home a run and Ward followed with a run-scoring double to stretch Charleston’s lead to 10-3 in the fourth. Chance Shelby’s only hit of the day, an RBI single, extended the Tigers’ lead to 11-3.

After Green Forest (11-12) scored twice in the sixth on two throwing errors, Charleston ended the game via the mercy rule. Justin Haney’s bloop single made it 12-5 and a bases loaded walk to Shelby forced home the 13th run.

Pittman then grounded a 1-2 pitch up the middle to score Jackson Rowland and Matt Hutchins for the final runs of the game.

Lavaca 9, Greenland 0

Tanner Graham struck out 12 and Coby Graves capped an eight-run fourth with a two-run homer Saturday, powering No. 4 Lavaca to a 9-0 win against 3A-1 regular season champion Greenland.

Graves opened the Golden Arrows’ fourth with a single and knew his third homer of the season was gone when he heard it hit the scoreboard just beyond the left-field wall.

"I didn’t think it was gone, but I saw the center fielder and left fielder going back and then I heard it hit the scoreboard," Graves said. "When I saw it go over, I got pretty excited."

Payton Morris added a two-run single for Lavaca, 10-9. The Golden Arrows face conference rival Charleston Monday at 10 a.m. in the second round of the tournament.

"It’s a pretty tough conference, but we’ve got a team that if we go out and play, we can beat anybody in our conference," Graves said. "This year we’ve kind of struggled to do that. But like today, when we get good pitching and hit the ball, we can beat anybody. It’s a good conference to prepare us for the state tournament.