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BASEBALL: County rivals deliver intense contest during Spring Break

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Baseball: Model Coosa

Model's Matt Banks (right) collides with Coosa's Seth Keith at third base at Model High, March 13, 2013. (Brittany Hannah/RN-T)

Brittany Hannah

Although it wasn’t quite the same as a Spring Break vacation, Wednesday’s road trip to Shannon proved to be enjoyable for the Coosa baseball team.

Fueled by the pitching of Nick Tucker and the timely hitting of Jake Ayer, the Eagles posted a 3-1, eight-inning victory over crosstown rival Model in the Region 7-AA opener for both teams.

Tucker, who went the distance, allowed just two hits and finished with nine strikeouts for the Eagles (6-2, 1-0).

Ayer delivered a two-run, two-out triple in the top of the eighth that broke open a scoreless tie.

For Model (3-2, 0-1), starting pitcher River Brannon went seven scoreless innings and struck out 10.

“It was a good ball game — a pitcher’s duel,” said Model head coach Brett White.

As expected in a rivalry match-up, the game featured plenty of intensity from the Coosa and Model players, who are spending their week concentrating on baseball while many of their classmates are gone for Spring Break.

Coosa coach Gus Bell said his team hasn’t seemed to mind being on the diamond instead of the beach this week.

“The kids are up for it; they are excited,” said Bell. “We worked out each day … and I haven’t had anybody ask me if we (could skip) practice.”

Wednesday’s weather in Shannon certainly didn’t feel like Orlando, as a cold wind blew consistently during the afternoon.

Many of the fans were wearing heavy winter coats and were bundled up in blankets.

But they were rewarded for their loyalty by getting to see a highly-competitive game — and clutch pitching from Brannon and Tucker.

Both pitchers worked out of jams during the opening seven innings to keep the game scoreless.

In the eighth, Ayer finally broke the deadlock with his two-run triple, and Ayer himself also scored on the play — when Model committed a throwing error — to give Coosa a 3-0 lead.

Model answered with a run in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI by Tristen Ingle, but the Devils comeback bid ended when Tucker recorded a game-ending strikeout with the tying run at the plate.

Coosa and Model will each face county rivals again today, with the Eagles visiting Pepperell and Model going to Armuchee.