PARKERS CHAPEL – Momentum can sometimes be difficult to halt.
Parkers Chapel saw it firsthand on Saturday, as Cale Edmonds hit leadoff homer after Garrett Cowart worked out of a first-inning jam, and the Bears never looked back in topping the Trojans 10-4 in the championship game of the 8-2A District Tournament at Robert McKinnon Park.
Edmonds’ blast in the first was the start of a big game for the junior, who also belted a grand slam to cap a five-run fifth that broke the game open.
JT Grace drove in four runs for the Bears, who outscored Junction City and Parkers Chapel by a combined score of 16-4 after they fell behind the Dragons 5-0 in Friday’s semifinal.
In his final home at-bat, Trace Shoup hit a two-run homer in the seventh for Parkers Chapel.
The Bears (26-3), who won the 8-2A regular season title, will be the No. 1 seed for next week’s regional tournament, while the Trojans (21-7) will be the No. 2 seed.
Woodlawn will face Poyen in the opening round of the regional tournament, while the Trojans will take on Dierks.
In the opening inning, the Trojans worked Cowart, Woodlawn’s starter, for three walks, but failed to cash in.
Edmonds then gave the Bears an early lead by ripping PC starter Caleb Barnes’ 3-2 pitch for an opposite-field homer to right to open the bottom of the first.
The Bears then took advantage of a miscue to score two more runs in the frame.
With one out, Jaydon Manes singled to center, but Barnes got Jaxson Case to hit a grounder to shortstop that had the makings of being turned into an inning-ending double play.
However, Case’s grounder was misplayed for an error, putting runners at the corners.
With Grace at the plate, Case stole second to put runners at second and third.
Barnes got ahead in the count 0-2 on Woodlawn’s catcher, but Grace hit the left-hander’s next pitch to right for a two-run single to extend the lead to 3-0.
After failing to take advantage of the free passes in the first, the Trojans got on the scoreboard in the third.
Spencer Frisby led off with a single to right and Reid Cates reached after his grounder to shortstop was mishandled for an error to put runners at first and second.
One out later, Shoup was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Austin Looney then beat Woodlawn first baseman Owen Stover to the bag after hitting a high chopper between first and second for an infield single to score Frisby to make it 3-1.
The Trojans seemed primed for a big inning, but Cowart fanned Mason Dougan and Wyatt New to avoid further damage, and the Bears quickly regained the momentum by scoring twice in the bottom of the third.
Case was hit by a pitch to start the inning and Cowart helped himself with an opposite-field double to right to put runners at second and third.
Grace then drove in a run with a sacrifice fly that was deep enough to also allow courtesy runner Braiden Stephens to take third, and Stover followed with a sacrifice fly of his own to give the Bears a 5-1 lead.
The Bears then broke the game open in the fifth against Cates, who took over for Barnes in the fourth.
Cowart reached on a three-base error after his fly ball to center was dropped and Grace drove in his fourth run of the game by lacing an RBI single to left to make it 6-1.
Stover followed with a bloop single to center, and a wild pitch with Braydon Jones at the plate advanced both runners into scoring position.
Jones then drew a walk to load the bases, setting the stage for Edmonds, who drilled Cates’ 1-0 pitch over the fence in left for his aforementioned grand slam to make it 10-1.
The Trojans didn’t go down quietly, scoring three runs against Edmonds in the seventh.
Cates led off with a single, and one out later, Shoup made his final at-bat at Robert McKinnon Park a memorable one by crushing a two-run homer to left.
Looney followed with a double and later scored when New’s grounder to second was misplayed for an error to make the final margin.
The Bears had 10 hits with Edmonds, Grace, Stover and Ethan Gardner each finishing with two hits.
Shoup and Looney were both 2-for-2 for the Trojans.
Cowart allowed two hits and one run in four innings of work to pick up the win. He walked three, hit a batter and struck out eight.
Barnes allowed five hits and five runs in three innings of work to take the loss. He walked one, hit a batter and struck out four.
In the third-place game, Hampton topped Junction City 5-1.
Jacob Orr went the distance with a five-hitter for the Dragons. He walked five and struck out five to take the loss.
Orr had a single and drove in Junction City’s lone run of the game.
Coyt Sellers added a single for the Dragons, who will be the No. 4 seed for the regional tournament next week.
The Dragons are scheduled to face No. 1 seed Murfreesboro.
Hampton, the No. 3 seed, faces No. 2 seed Horatio.