Pictured is Randy Claude
On Saturday, May 1, the Mansfield Tigers hit the ballpark for a two-day game in the semifinals and finals round of the 2A-4 Baseball District Tournament. Up first for Mansfield was the Acorn Tigers. The Tigers were able to hold Acorn to one lonely run as they secured four runs on five hits ending the game with a 4-1 win and moving on to the finals. The Tigers must have been conserving their energy in their match against Acorn because when they showed up in the finals round to face the Mountainburg Dragons, they….showed…..up!
It was an uneventful first two innings as neither the Tigers nor the Dragons were successful in producing any runs. And after Mountainburg again missed their mark in the top of the third inning, the Tigers were ready to make an appearance. Mansfield fired up their offense and anchored 14 runs in the bottom of the third. Randy Claude homered on a fly ball to center bringing Nate Brewer home and it was all over from there. Braxton Byers then turned around and delivered the same outcome as he knocked it out of the park allowing Fisher Willsey to score.
After four more runs by the Tigers, the score read 8-0 and it was Claude’s turn to step back up to the plate. And to the crowd’s amazement, Claude nailed his second dinger of the game. “I wasn’t expecting to hit either one of those HR’s,” explained Claude. “Because I don’t go up to the plate looking to hit it over. My motto to every at-bat is “base hit ball four”.” Mansfield concluded the match with a final score of 15-1 and walked away as the 2A-4 District Champions. The Tigers made 15 runs on 16 hits with home runs made by Claude (2) and Byers (1), doubles by Nate Brewer, Drew Elmore, and Trey Vaughan, and singles by Peyton Martin and Aaron Brewer.
“As a team going into Districts, we knew that if we did what Coach Robinson taught us, then there was nothing to worry about. The team has put in many hours of hard work and we thrive when we are on the field together. I’ve always been told it’s hard to beat a team that wants it more than you do.” The Tigers hold a 17-7 record and will be competing in Round 1 of Regionals on Thursday, May 6 at 10 am against Cotter. “I’ve never been on a team so hungry for success so if we come out and get runs in early, our defense will back us up.”
Photos courtesy of Summer Martin