MONTEREY — Monday night drew a big crowd as the Highland Rams hosted the Eastern Montgomery Mustangs at Ed Crigler Field in the consolation game of the Pioneer District tournament.

The Rams did not disappoint, winning in convincing fashion, 8-1, with a couple of seniors playing a strong role in the game.
John Wagner started on the mound for the Rams and allowed one hit in the first. In the bottom half of the inning, the Rams quickly got on board with three runs — Mike Campbell, Wagner, and Zach Armstrong crossed the plate. Colton Williams and Patton Hull each notched sacrifice RBI to bring in two of the runs, putting the Rams up 3-0.
Both teams failed to score in the second and third innings, but the Rams exhibited some great defense by Patton Hull and Tristan Carpenter in the outfield and Wagner and Armstrong on a groundout at first.
The Mustangs were silent in the fourth inning as well, though they loaded the bases with Austin Tate, Cam Sutphin, and Hunter Howard. But Wagner got out of the jam on a nice double play by Campbell (shortstop), Williams (third) and Armstrong (first).
The home half of the fourth saw Williams slamming his fifth home run of the season, a solo shot, over the right field fence. Prior to Williams’ home run, Campbell scored a run and stole second. The Rams were up 5-0.
The Mustangs threatened again in the fifth, with Gunner Lawson and Tyler Atkinson hitting singles, but Wagner was able to get out of the inning with no score.
The Rams pushed three more runs across the plate, scoring Eli Moore, Elijah Good, and Campbell. Campbell stole two bases — one stealing home — and hit an RBI single to account for most of the damage. Moore also stole two bases and Good had one, taking the Rams to an 8-0 lead.
East Mont finally got on the board in the top of the sixth with Tate hitting an RBI triple, scoring Kobe Phoenix, who had hit a single to get on base. The Rams went down quietly in the bottom half, making it 8-1 after six.
Wagner notched two outs on fly balls in the top of the seventh before Armstrong took over with Wagner shifting to first base. Armstrong got the last batter to pop-up to third to end the game.
“This was a dominating game, outstanding defense, and the guys hit the ball putting it into play,” said Ram coach J.D. Hiner. “You can’t ask for anything more from a small-town high school baseball team. They left it all on the field and can hold their heads up high. The seniors came up big and ended their high school careers at home in front of the fans in grand fashion.”
The Rams’ two seniors, Williams and Campbell, led the way. Williams was 1-3 with the home run and two total RBI. Campbell finished going 2-for-2, adding three runs, three stolen bases, for a season total of 40, and one RBI. Wagner, Evan Kimble, and Hull each had one hit.
Wagner pitched 6.2 innings, giving up one run, nine hits, two strikeouts, and six walks. Campbell pitched a third of an inning, ending the game by getting a pop up to third.
The Rams, throughout the game, made numerous defensive plays to prevent East Mont from mounting much of a scoring attack.
The Mustangs were led by Austin Tate, Hunter Howard, and Aiden Shepherd, who had two hits each. Tate accounted for the lone RBI with a triple. Kobe Phoenix, Gunner Lawson, and Tyler Atkinson added one hit apiece.
Tate started the game and pitched 5.1 innings, surrendering seven runs, five strikeouts, six hits and six walks. Phoenix pitched two-third of an inning, allowing one run, one strikeout, and one walk.
Last Thursday, Highland was beaten in the district tournament semifinal game by Parry McCluer, 24-1.
The Blues scored in every inning, including a 12 in the home half of the fourth.
Braedyn Houck had a big night for Parry McCluer, going 3-for-4 with two doubles, scoring three runs and driving in six. He also pitched the win, allowing just six hits and one run, while striking out seven.
Brayden Holdren and Cole Mills also had three hits, Tyler Wade scored four runs and drove in three and both Maison Hamilton and Peyton Ramsey also added three RBI each.
Armstrong, Campbell, Williams, Good and Carpenter all pitched for the Rams, combining to allow 15 hits, while striking out two and walking 13.
Campbell and Williams each had two hits, while Kimble and Moore had one each.
Highland scored its only run in the fourth inning when Williams doubled and scored on a Kimble line drive single to left.
Highland, 11-10 on the year, faces George Wythe in the first round of the Class 1, Region C tournament today in Wytheville.

Last Thursday’s Linescore
Highland 000   10 -     1   6  2
P. McCluer 264 (12)x - 24 15 0
WP: Braedyn Houck; LP: Zach Armstrong (2-2)

Monday’s Linescore
Eastern M. 000 001 0 - 1 9 1
Highland 300 230 x - 8 6 1
WP: John Wagner (5-2); LP: Austin Tate
HR: Colton Williams (4th inning, 0 on)