Washington’s epic rally falls short, finishes second in state

Published 7:41 pm Monday, July 30, 2018

HICKORY — Trailing by five runs with only one out remaining in the final inning, the Washington 8U machine pitch All-Star team attempted to pull off the miraculous. But the Washington All-Stars’ dramatic rally fell just short Sunday morning, as they lost 10-8 to Dare County in the final of the Tar Heel League State Tournament.

Washington entered Sunday’s sixth and final inning with things looking rather bleak. It trailed Dare County, the only team to defeat Washington in both the district and state tournament, 10-5 and hadn’t scored since the second inning. Making matters worse, Washington’s first two batters of the inning grounded out.

But instead of recognizing the writing on the wall and accepting the loss, the Washington All-Stars dug in and kept battling. Brandon Granadero began the late rally with a base hit, his second of the day. Braeden Hall followed with a double to drive Granadero home.

A Wyatt Shipley single put runners on the corners for Washington, setting the stage for Brennon Warren. And Warren didn’t disappoint, blasting a triple that hit the outfield wall, just missing from being a home run. Having just cut Dare County’s lead down to two runs, the Washington dug out was full of energy in anticipation of pulling off the epic comeback. But unfortunately for the Washington All-Stars, their rally ended there, as a pop foul brought the game to an end.

The sixth inning was the first time Washington was able to generate any offense since the game’s second inning. Having seen Dare County get on the board with three runs in the top of the second, the Washington All-Stars responded in kind. Washington’s first five batters of the inning reached base safely before Dare County registered an out. Hayes Walker then hit an RBI-single and Aubrey Turnage drove home a run by hitting into a fielder’s choice to close out the inning’s scoring.

Dare County went on to score seven runs through the third and fourth innings, building a lead that Washington could never quite overcome.

It didn’t matter to Washington coach Will Tyson that his team didn’t quite pull off the comeback. He said he was proud of the fight and passion his team played with.

“It was unbelievable the heart that they showed,” he said.

Along with being very proud of his players, Tyson said the support from the parents was instrumental in the team’s success.

“That’s one of the things that helped get us far as we got. We had parents who did so much to get them there,” Tyson said. “How supportive and the sportsmanship and everything the parents showed was unbelievable. You never heard a bad thing come out of their mouth, they were constantly cheering for their team. They were there for everything. We had grandparents in wheel chairs, grandparents from all over the state show up. And just the support that they had and every single parent was there for their child. It was unbelievable. It’s something that you don’t see in a lot of teams. We were very fortunate to have such a supportive parent group.”