MURRAY -- Carlisle County battled against arguably the top pitcher in the All "A" Classic, fought off a senior fracturing his ankle and some extra-inning drama. And that was just to make it to the championship game.
What the Comets had in store for their first ever All "A" championship game on Friday made the long, trying week more than worth it.
The Comets needed extra innings for the second straight night, but following a two-run single from eighth-grader Truman Davis and a 1-2-3 ninth inning in relief from Michael Thomason, Carlisle was able to exhale and celebrate its first ever All "A" title -- a 5-3 championship win over Murray.
"It was a lot of heart and determination. Our guys take pride in working hard every day and never giving in, and they showed that this week," Carlisle head coach Hunter Burge said. "We were resilient. I'm so proud of them."
A 3-0 second-inning lead for the Comets lasted until the sixth inning, when the Tigers tied the game on an RBI single from Hunter Utley. The go-ahead runs were on base for Murray in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, but Thomason fought the pressure to keep the score tied.
It set things up for the big ninth inning, as the first three Comets reached base on Murray reliever Dalton Lassiter. And on the first pitch Davis saw in the biggest at-bat of the game, he uncorked a ball to deep left field to bring in what would be the winning runs.
"I saw that first fastball and that first pitch for a strike. The coaches want us to look for that first pitch for that strike, and I hunted that fastball, got where I wanted it and hit it right where I wanted it," Davis said.
Fast forward to the bottom of the inning, with Thomason making quick work of the Tigers to clinch the title.
Thomason relieved Trevor Elder, who pitched into the sixth inning before running out of steam. It wasn't just Elder, but the whole team that looked exhausted before finding a way to get things done late.
"We take pride in being one of the best seventh-inning teams in the region, and it carried over into extras tonight," Burge said. "We take pride in being good late and they stayed tough, stayed determined and found a way."
No one had a tougher route in the tournament, as the Comets found a way to win against Butler signee John MacCauley of St. Mary on Wednesday to start the tournament. Mayfield came back from five runs down on Friday in the semifinals, before Carlisle won in the eighth inning..
That game featured the loss of Jake Hobbs, who fractured his ankle at a collision at second base. Davis said the team told Hobbs they would win the championship for him.
"Ã¢ Â¦And we sure did. We love our man. He's a great senior leader," Davis said of Hobbs.
Carlisle has steadily improved under the reign of Burge, going from eight wins in his first season in 2013 to 19 in a district-winning season a year ago.
Now with an All "A" championship, everything is going to plan for Burge.
"It's a culmination of a lot of hard work. Winning All "A" was a five-year goal, and this is my fifth year," Burge said. "My goal was to compete in the fifth year and we were fortunate to do that. It's an honor. It's huge for our school and for our softball program too, I'm proud of them too."
The Comets advance to the semi-state round, where they will host Second Region champion Caldwell County for a berth in the eight-team state tournament. The date of the semi-state game has not yet been determined.
Carlisle 030 000 002 5 7 1
Murray 000 021 000 3 4 0
2B: C-Davis, McGee. 3B: None. HR: None. Top hitterS: C-McGee 1-5 (2 RBI), Davis 1-4 (2 RBI), Thomason 2-4 (R), Elder 2-5; M-Wilson-Ward 2-5 (R).
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