MURFREESBORO -- The Independence Eagles baseball team advanced in the winner’s bracket of the state baseball championships with a 3-2 victory over the Arlington Tigers Tuesday at Oakland High School.
“We knew Arlington was a gritty team,” Independence’s Robert Hassell said. “They were willing to sacrifice themselves to get runners on and in. We knew their arms had decent stuff but we treat every team the same and I think we prepared as much as we could and I think we came out and showed it.”
It really was the tale of an inning for the Eagles, who trailed 2-0 heading to the sixth. In fact, Hassell had been the only base runner for Independence in the first five innings.
Logan Molnar led off the sixth for the Eagles with a walk, advanced on a single by Chayton Gray and was driven in by Jackson Rieding. The next batter was leadoff man Hassell, who sent a fastball soaring over the right field wall, giving Independence the 3-2 lead that stuck.
“It (the pitch) was down and it was a fastball but I knew it was coming,” Hassell said. “There was a runner on and a 1-0 count and we had the two and three hole (hitters) behind me so they (Arlington) are trying to go right after me and I know that.”
Will Tobin got the win for Independence, pitching 5.2 innings and scattering five hits for two earned runs. Montana Dickerson inherited the lead and pitched the last two innings for the save.
Independence will be back at Oakland Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. to face Bradley Central.