Commerce Ends Season With Back-To-Back Victories
By Brandon Reed
The Commerce Tigers ended their season on a high note last week by picking up victories against Towns County and Prince Avenue. The wins came on the heels of a loss on Tuesday, April 29, to Lakeview.
The Tigers ended their 2008 campaign with a 5-16 overall record, and 5-13 in the region.
Commerce traveled to Lakeview last Tuesday to face the then 16-7 Lions for the second time this season. Lakeview had defeated the Tigers 5-2 April 1.
Unfortunately, it was more of the same for the Tigers in the rematch. Lakeview got on the board first with a run in the bottom of the first. After picking up two runs and a 2-1 lead in the third, the Tigers again trailed after Lakeview scored twice in the bottom of the inning.
The Tigers tied the game in the top of the fourth, but Lakeview picked up two more runs in the bottom of the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, while keeping the Tigers away from the plate to win 9-3.
T. Green led the Tigers at the plate, going 2-for-4 with two singles. Ethan Thomas, Chase Barnett and Hunter Ward each had hits.
Green recorded the loss, allowing nine runs and 11 hits in six innings, while striking out two.
Fortunes began to turn for Commerce on Wednesday, as they played host to the Towns County Indians.
The Tigers took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, added another run on a solo homerun by Reuben Haynes, and then added two more runs in the fifth. Towns County finally got on the board with a run scored in the fifth, then added another in the sixth, but a three-run bottom of the sixth iced the game, as the Tigers went on to win 7-2.
Haynes was perfect in two trips to the plate with a single and a homerun. Green and Hunter Ward had two singles apiece in four at-bats, while Barnett, Jake Flint, Thomas and Carl Allen each had hits.
Allen picked up the win on the mound, holding the Indians to four hits and two runs in seven innings while striking out 11.
The Tigers closed out their season with a home stand against the Wolverines of Prince Avenue Christian. Prince Avenue entered Thursday’s game with an 8-11 overall record, one week after knocking off the region 8-A champion Jefferson Dragons.
Commerce took control early, putting two runners across the plate in the bottom of the first, only to see Prince Avenue tie the game with a pair in the top of the second.
The score remained tied through the next three innings, until Haynes hit a two-run homer to put the Tigers up 4-2, which was the final score.
Jake Flint and Allen each went 2-for-3 with a single and a double, while Haynes and Ward both homered.
Haynes recorded the win, pitching a complete game one-hitter and striking out nine batters.
“The only explanation for our finish is the strong will and determination of the guys on this team, particularly the seniors,” said coach Walt Massey. “With little to play for, and even less to feel good about, we found a way to play our best baseball of the season and win our last two games.”
Massey said Haynes played the game of his life on Thursday, saying the senior’s performance “…was amazing.”
Offensively, Ward led the team at the plate during the season with a .407 average.
Haynes had the best record from the mound, going 3-6, and striking out 67. Commerce ended the season in eighth place in the region, three places lower than last year and their lowest finish in four years.