STEARNS -- Southwestern came into last night's 48th District Championship contest with a lot on the line.
Not only were the Warriors hoping to bring home the district title, but they were looking to gain home-field advantage for the upcoming regional tourney.
Alex Eaton and company took care of business last night versus Wayne County, coming away with a 4-0 victory at McCreary Central High School. With the four-run triumph over the Cardinals, Southwestern won the district championship trophy and earned the opportunity to host the 12th Region Tournament.
Southwestern, who will host the region tourney for the first time since 2011, came into this season with the goal of being able to be at home for the 12th Region Tournament. After tallying the district title last night in Stearns, Warrior Stadium will be home to the 2019 edition of the regional tourney.
"There was a lot of pressure in this game," stated Eaton. "Not only are you playing for a district title, you're playing for the chance to play region at home, which is a huge deal for us. For our seniors to be able to go out and play the region on their home field this year, is something that we have been looking forward to. I am just thankful that we are having the opportunity to host once again. We will lace 'em up and see how it goes."
The Warriors, the home team on the scoreboard, jumped out to a 1-0 advantage on an RBI double from Ethan Jones in the bottom of the first inning. Tanner McKee, who led the frame off with a walk, was able to score on a shot down the right-field line from Jones.
Southwestern added three more runs in the fourth inning to widen their lead to four runs at 4-0. Jeffrey Madden and Tanner McBryde both were able to score on a clutch, two-out single from Bryce Russell. The Warriors tallied their fourth run of the ballgame after Tucker Howard scored on a bloop single from McKee.
Wayne County threatened the Warrior lead in the top half of the seventh inning after loading the bases, but Bryce Russell was able to record a pair of strikeouts to seal the district championship.
On the night, Southwestern had three different players finish with two hits -- McKee, Jones, and Noah Helton. Russell, McKee, and Jones (two) all had an RBI in the triumph over Wayne County.
Thanks to the hot hand of Madden on the mound and some impressive defensive plays from the Warrior defense, Southwestern was able to keep the shutout intact. Madden, who struck out 11 batters in 6 ⅔ innings, was the winning pitcher in this one.
Southwestern, who upped their overall record to 24-4 on the season with the victory, will now turn their attention to the regional tournament. The tourney is scheduled to get underway on Saturday at Warrior Stadium.