With the score tied 4-4 in the bottom of the seventh inning and runners on first and second base, Rome Red All-Stars’ Remi Latimer stepped to the plate. Latimer, who had been subbed in earlier, wasted no time, smashing the first pitch he saw into centerfield. Cam Blanton, who had been on second base, took off like a canon shot, rounding third base without hesitating and crossing home plate a moment later setting off a huge celebration that encompassed Blanton, Latimer and the entire team at Riverview Park.
“I had subbed him (Latimer) in earlier, and it was great to see him get that hit,” Rome Red coach Tony Carver said after the game. “It was a total team effort the entire tournament. All of the kids on the team pitched in at some point just like he did tonight.”
The 5-4 win over Summerville in extra innings capped off a super successful GRPA District 5 Tournament for the home standing Rome Red squad, which never lost a game en-route to the district title and a berth in next week’s GRPA state tournament in Gainesville.
The teams had to dig deep into their pitching rotation for Tuesday evening’s championship game due to the strict pitch limit imposed on all tournament teams.
Rome Red went with Brody Teems on the mound to start, while Summerville countered with Stetson Peppers.
“In this tournament you have a 120 pitch limit for the whole tournament, so the coaches really have to finesse their pitch counts. We did the same,” Carver said. “Our pitching has dominated even coming from the recreation league to this. Our talent on this team is really unreal as far as the pitching goes.”
Both squads had a few solid scoring opportunities throughout the contest. Rome Red struck first with Korbin Foreman leading off the bottom of the first with a double to centerfield. He moved to third base on a wild pitch and then came home to score when Brody Teems singled to center. Kace Wofford brought Teems home with a single to centerfield, helping stake Rome Red to a 2-0 advantage.
Summerville answered in the top of the third inning as Will Maddux led off with a single to left field. Neiko Crowe then drew a walk and Zayden Brown singled to left, driving in Maddux. Dannon Yancey drew a walk, and Crowe scored on a fielder’s choice to tie the game at 2-2.
Rome Red brought in Wofford to pitch, because the starter Brody Teems had reached his pitch limit. Teems threw 56 total pitches and struck out five batters
in 2 2/3 innings of work.
Braydon Lee reached then reached on an error that also scored Brown, giving Summerville a 3-2 advantage with runners still in scoring position. With two outs, Callen Kerce hit a shot to left field that Rome’s Deagan Rhodes was able to snag in the webbing of his glove to end the inning and Summerville’s scoring chances.
Rome wasted little time in tying the game. Brody Teems got on base when he hit into a fielder’s choice and came around to score when Wofford doubled to left field, tying the game. Wofford got thrown out on a close play trying to steal third base to end the inning.
Wofford then turned up the heat on the mound, as he struck out all three batters in the top of the fourth inning and the first two batters he faced in the top of the fifth inning before hitting his pitch limit. Brycen Teems came on in relief and got the final batter to hit into a ground out to end the top of the fifth.
Rome managed to get baserunners in the fifth and sixth innings and even had runners on first and second with no outs to start the sixth inning, but couldn’t get timely hits to bring them in. Summerville brought in Braydon Lea to relieve Peppers in the in the bottom of the fourth inning.
With the score knotted at 3-3, the game headed into extra innings. Each team started the seventh inning with a runner on second base with no ou
ts. Summerville’s Maddux singled to right field to drive in a run and grab a 4-3 lead. Luke Edwards drew a one-out walk to give Summerville runners on first and second with one out. But Brycen Teems managed to get the next better to line out to shortstop and then struck out the final batter to end the inning.
Rome also started with a runner on second in the bottom of the seventh. Blanton started out by drawing a walk. Rhodes singled to centerfield to score Jacob Simmons, the runner who started on second base, to tie the game at 4-4. That’s when Latimer stepped up and delivered the game-winning hit.
Brycen Teems earned the win on the mound for 2 1/3 innings of work.
Three players delivered two hits each for Rome with Wofford getti
ng a single and a double and also driving in two runs. Foreman had a double, single and scored a run while Rhodes had two singles and an RBI. Latimer added an RBI as did Brody Teems.
Maddux had two hits and an RBI for Summerville, while Lea had a hit, Brown had a hit and an RBI and Covington added an RBI.
Both Rome Red and Summerville have now qualified for the GRPA State Class A/B Baseball Tournament, which will be held in Gainesville beginning on Tuesday, July 20. Rome opens the tournament against Tucker at 6:45 p.m. while Summerville begins play that day against St. Simons at 5 p.m.
“It’s awesome to get to go to state. We’re excited about it, and we’re eager to see how we can do,” Carver said. “We get to see the best of the best from every district. Who knows? Maybe we can go deep in that tournament and maybe win it too.”