Coach Will Wiggins was a little nervous about how his Coosa team would handle the distractions of Senior Night heading into a big home matchup against Armuchee on Friday.
Turns out he had nothing to worry about.
The Eagles broke open what had been a tight game, pouring in six runs in the fifth inning to take a commanding lead that would later stretch to a 9-1 final score in the Region 7-AA game.
Coosa’s group of seniors is Wiggins’ first that he’s been able to coach all four years of high school.
“It’s extremely special for me to come out with a win like that, going against my alma mater. With all the distractions that are going on between Senior Night and all that, to see these guys fight back and do what they did is great,” Wiggins said.
The coach was helped out by his team’s “hoss”, senior Caleb Shiflett, who tossed a gem from the mound for the Eagles, striking out eleven batters and scattering three hits and three walks while going the full seven innings. For insurance purposes, he also added a bases-loaded two-RBI double in an at-bat during the fifth-inning surge.
“We had a bunch of energy coming in, knowing this was the seniors’ last home game,” Shiflett said. “Everybody was just pumped up to play, and it worked out well.”
Seniors Reese Burnette and Dylan Callahan were among the strong contributors from the plate for Coosa, going a combined 3 for 5 with two walks, two RBIs and four runs scored.
Through four and a half innings, it seemed like a pitchers’ duel was playing out, even after Armuchee (12-12, 5-7 7-AA) answered Burnette’s solo homer in the third with Ethan Nixon drawing a bases-loaded walk that tied it up 1-1 going into the bottom of the fifth. Then, the Eagles’ bats came alive.
“Hitting wise, the biggest thing we tried to do was just put the bat on the baseball,” Wiggins said. “I think we did a really good job of doing that, putting it in play. (Armuchee) didn’t have a whole ton of strikeouts.”
Four hits and four walks in the bottom of the fifth led to six runs for Coosa, putting the Indians in a hole they weren’t able to climb out of.
Armuchee will travel to Southeast Whitfield on Monday, while Coosa (12-11, 8-4) heads to Rockmart for another 7-AA matchup on Tuesday.