Atkins’ walk-off homer wins it for Tigers

Stephanie King

After winning their first two games of the season, the Randleman Tigers opened PAC-7 Conference play at home on Tuesday against the Wheatmore Warriors. The Warriors were coming off a pair of losses to Southwest Guilford when they traveled to Randleman.

Wheatmore jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first when Hunter Smith sent one over the fence for a three-run home run. Smith scored Rylan Smith and Nick Halo to give the Warriors a 3-0 lead. The Tigers answered in the bottom of the first with an over the fence home run by Matt Kemp that brought in three runs to tie the game. Kemp’s homer brought in Dawson Edwards and Ramsey Petty to score. After one inning, this one was all tied up a 3-3.

The Warriors regained in the lead in the top of the second as Gabe Hernandez scored after picking up a couple of steals. He was the lone score of the inning. Wheatmore gave up a base hit in the bottom of the inning but left the runner stranded to take a 4-3 lead into the third. Randleman walked the first batter in the third inning before striking out the next three to keep the Warriors’ led at one. It was a quick bottom of the third for the Tigers as they were forced to go three up three down.

Wheatmore put a pair of runners on base in the top of the fourth, but the Tigers did their job and kept both runners from scoring. In the bottom of the inning, Connor Sterling led off with a solo home run to tie the game a 4-4. After two outs, the Tigers put a pair of runners on base, but both were left stranded as the Warriors picked up out number three. With four innings in the books, the game was tied 4-4.

After a pair of outs for the Warriors to open the fifth inning, Hunter Smith picked up his second home run of the evening to give the lead back to the Warriors. Randleman picked up the final out, trailing Wheatmore 5-4. Two runners got on for the Tigers to start the bottom of the inning before the Warriors picked up out number one. A base hit from Sterling scored Petty to retie the game for the Tigers. After five innings, the game remained tied at 5-5.

Things opened up for the Warriors in the sixth as they loaded the bases with two outs on the board. A big hit from Rylan Smith scored all three runs giving the Warriors an 8-5 advantage. Randleman responded in the bottom of the inning loading the bases with their first three batters. Wheatmore picked off the lead runner at home on a hit from Edwards, but the bases remained loaded for Randleman. Hunter Atkins scored on a base hit from Petty to cut the lead to two before Owen Strickland score on a sacrifice hit from Kemp. Wheatmore got the final out of the inning to take an 8-7 lead into the seventh.

Randleman made quick work of the Warriors in the top of the seventh by forcing them to three up three down. The Tigers put their first two batters, Sterling and Brooks Brannon, on before the Warriors picked up out number one. Freshman Hunter Atkins stepped to the plate and unleashed a walk-off homer to steal the win for Randleman. The Tigers picked up their first conference win of the season with a 10-8 win over Wheatmore.

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