By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The District 13-3A regular season ended in a log jam.
The Brighton Cardinals, Dyer County Choctaws and Hardin County Tigers all finished in a three way tie for first place. The Cardinals would take third place entering the District 13-3A Baseball Tournament after losing a coin flip. Then tiebreakers between the Choctaws and Tigers gave Hardin County the No. 1 seed.
Friday brought together the final four of the district including the host Munford Cougars. The first match up of the day was Dyer County vs. Brighton.
The Cardinals used an explosive third inning and added some insurance runs in the fourth frame to prevail 6-0. Brighton advanced in the winner’s bracket to take on the Hardin County Tigers. The Tigers picked up a 4-0 victory over Munford.
Brighton’s victory was paved by the pitching performance of junior hurler Hunter Deering. Deering went 7 innings only giving up 3 hits while striking out 4 Choctaws.
“They threw (Taylor) Sipes,” Brighton Head Coach Ryan Wood said. “We knew he had good stuff. He held us to one the first time we played them. This guy standing right next to me (Hunter) pitched his tail off today. He did a heck of job.”
While Hunter did his job by neutralizing the Dyer County batters, the Cardinal offense got him support in the third inning staring with a Jake Ollivette hit. Other to contribute to the rally were Dylan Forbes, Logan Rushing and Garrison McBride.
“We came out with the bats and the hits just lined up,” McBride said. “The runs came across the board. Score some more, we felt like we needed some more but six did it.”
After a four-spot in the third inning, the Cardinals slammed the door in the fourth inning with two more runs. Deering kept dealing from the mound keeping Dyer County scoreless.
“I was just thinking come out and throw the ball, let the defense work,” Deering said. “Just let them hit it.
“I just concentrated on pitching, I didn’t let him (my opponent) get in my way,” he added. “I just came out and threw.”
Brighton earned a date with Hardin County in the next round, one win away from returning to the Region 7-3A Tournament.
“You’ve got to win two before you lose two basically,” Wood said. “We’re 1-0 and if we win one more we’ll be back in the Region. We’ll see how it all plays out. But it’s basic, you’ve got to win two before you lose two. That’s your chance to go. That’s what we’re working on and we’re going to play Cardinal Baseball to the best our ability.
“These guys deserve all the credit,” he continued. “Our coaching staff deserves the credit. Coach Heath, Coach Spicer, ,Coach Poston. It was the assistant coaches and players taking care of all the business.”
McBride said leaving the Munford Baseball Field Friday night, the Cardinals were focused on the mission ahead of them.
“Region, one more win,” he concluded. “We must hit and the defense has to come together. Just keep our heads in the game and play as a team like we know how to.”
Sunday night Brighton rallied for four runs in the seventh win 7-6 over Hardin County. The victory clinched a spot in next week’s Region Tournament and in the District 13-3A championship game.