By Ed Greif
CCHS senior baseball players Matt Ledbetter and Reed Shaw used their night to lead the Jets to a 4-1 District 6AAA victory over the SMHS Panthers at Jet Park Tuesday evening.
Ledbetter went three for three with a homer and two RBIs and picked up the victory, allowing one run on six hits with one walk and 10 strikeouts. Shaw was one for two with a run scored.
Ryan Burgess, Ethan Cunningham, David Elliott and Morgan Richards each poked one hit.
John Martin allowed four runs on eight hits with two walks and a strikeout in 5 2/3 innings, while Jason Moldenhauer retired the only batter he faced. Bryan Frye had two hits, while Moldenhauer, Luke Matthews, Gabe Caballero and Austin Robertson each stroked a hit.
Frye led off game with a single for the Panthers, but was forced out at second by Burgess, who threw to Shaw at first to get Martin to complete the double play. Moldenhauer singled, stole second and scored on a single by Matthews. Caballero singled, but Clay Wilson grounded to Burgess who throw to third baseman Grant Parrett to get Matthews.
The Jets tied the game in the bottom of the first on a single by Burgess, who stole second and scored on a Ledbetter single. Martin then retired the next two Jets hitters to end the inning.
CCHS took the lead at 3-1 in the bottom of the second on back-to-back singles by Shaw and Elliott, a sacrifice, a passed ball and a wild pitch, after Ledbetter retired the side in order in the top of the second.
After Frye led off the third with a single, Ledbetter retired the next 12 Panthers in a row, including six strikeouts, before walking Caballero to lead off the seventh. Robertson singled with one out, but the Jet senior retired the last two hitters to earn the victory.
After the rocky third inning, Martin gave up a leadoff single to Ledbetter, but was erased in a double play and gave up singles in the fifth inning to Richards and Cunningham, who were both picked off on stolen base attempts.
The Jets scored an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth on a leadoff homer by Lebetter. Martin walked both Shaw and Elliott, before being relieved on the mound by Moldenhauer who retired Shipe to end the threat.
Coupled with Cookeville's 5-0 win over Warren County and Rhea County's 3-0 win at White County Tuesday night, the Cavaliers clinched the top seed in the district with a 10-3 record, followed by CCHS (8-5), Warren County (6-7), White County (6-7), SMHS (5-8) and Rhea County (4-9).
There are three more league series on tap for next week. Monday's action has SMHS at Cookeville, Rhea County at Warren County (double-header) and CCHS at White County, while Tuesday's game has Cookeville at SMHS and White County at CCHS. The district tournament begins May 2 or 3.
The two play-in games — No. 5 at No. 4 and No. 6 at No. 3 — will be played either May 2 or 3, depending on weather conditions next week. A rainout Monday or Tuesday would force a make-up game Wednesday, moves those play-in games from Friday to Saturday.
Both CCHS and SMHS have non-district games left this week, as the Jets traveled to Upperman Thursday and to Walker Valley Friday, while SMHS lost 13-0 at Knox Powell Wednesday evening and hosted Anderson County Friday.