COLBERT— Just a month removed from their Class A state championship, the mighty Rattan Rams are already gathering more hardware for their trophy case.
The Rams were 4-0 in last week’s Colbert Summer Invitational baseball tournament, rolling through Boswell, Coleman, the host Leopards and finally Tushka to claim their third straight tourney crown in just the fifth year of the summer meeting.
The Tigers went ahead 6-0 in the second inning, but no lead is safe against Rattan. The Rams took advantage of some late Tushka mistakes and chipped away at the lead, going ahead 8-7 in the sixth for good.
Taylor Mobbs and Josh Eaves combined on the mound for Tushka. Mobbs recorded four K’s in three-plus innings of work, holding the Rams to one hit but walking five. A.J. Davis got the start for Rattan, with Blake Watts in relief.
Eaves was 2-for-4 with a double, single, one RBI, a run scored and a steal. Jody Moreland and Jason Nutt hit RBI doubles for Tushka as well. Taylor Mobbs had an RBI and a single, Scott Brinkley scored three run and hit a single, Weston Manar had a single and a run scored, Trevor Lytle scored a run, and Garrett Wall had an RBI and a single.
Tushka scored five runs on five hits, including all three doubles, in an explosive second inning. The Tiger defense turned a double play in the third but Rattan scored two in the inning.
Brinkley scored in the fourth on a walk, a steal and a passed ball to up the Tushka lead to 7-3. Rattan’s Cade Clay hit Eaves for a two-RBI double in their part of the fourth.
Centerfielder Weston Manar made an eye-popping, diving catch in the fifth, preventing a likely double as part of his two put-outs in the inning. Just to make things fair, Clay bare-handed a slow roller to short in the sixth and threw to first for the highlight reel put-out.
Trailing 7-6, Rattan got a man on base via a hit batsman, then a slow roller up the middle got through three Tushka defenders. The Tigers settled down and got two outs with runners on the corners. Clay hit an RBI single, scoring Brandon Jones to tie the game. The go-ahead run scored during a distracting run-down between first and second, and the Tiger bats had no answers in the seventh.
Tushka got to the Saturday final by way of a 6-5 semifinal win over Colbert. The Leopards held a 5-4 lead but Tushka got a double from Wyatt Daniel to score Josh Eaves, then Daniel walked in the go-ahead run on a bases loaded walk issued by Preston Rice.
Rice went the distance in the loss, with a seven-hit, four strikeout afternoon. Weston Manar and Scott Brinkley combined on the mound for Tushka.
Daniel was 2-3 with 3 RBIs for the Tigers; Manar was 2-3; Eaves had an RBI double and scored two runs. For Colbert, Caleb Shoemake was 2-4 with a double, single, stolen base and two runs scored; Dylan Jones was 2-3 with three RBIs; Bradley Nichols and Dakota Graham each had an RBI single; Bubba Roberts scored a run; pinch-runner Zach Lovelace had one stolen base.