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GC Tigers roar past foes, claim second place in Cal Ripken Tournament

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By Paul Gable

In a season that featured both highs and lows, the Grant County Tigers, a team in the Cal Ripken League, finished its season on a high note, placing second in the Cal Ripken League Tournament held June 27-28 at Gallatin County High School.

"The kids played really well. It was a total team effort this year, and every kid did their job. It was a great year for us," coach Dwayne Smith said.

The tournament capped a season which saw the Tigers twice open the season 0-3.

In the Grant County portion of their season, the Tigers opened the season with three straight losses before rebounding for a 5-3-1 record to finish second in the league. Their hot play continued as they finished second in the league tournament prior to the tournament at Gallatin County High School.

In the county portion of their season, Grant County opened the season 0-3 competing against teams from Carroll, Trimble, Gallatin and Owen counties.

"When it mattered most, our kids bowed their backs and came on strong. I am very pleased with the success our team had," Smith said.

The Tigers opened the tournament on a strong note, defeating the Carroll County Bears 17-5.

Devon Cummins started the game as the Tigers' pitcher, but was replaced by Wyatt Glass, who threw four-and-one-thirds innings, recording eight strikeouts.

In the semi-finals, the Tigers defeated the Grant County Indians 17-7 as Lucas Alger turned in a strong pitching performance, throwing four innings, striking out five and issuing two walks.

In the championship game, Grant County fell short, falling 5-3 to the Northern Kentucky Cougars in five innings as rain ended the game early.

Glass, who recorded the most strikeouts in the league, pitched five innings, striking out four in the loss.

In addition to their work on the mound, Smith got solid play out of Alger and Glass at the plate in the tournament.

Alger went 5-for-7 with three doubles, and RBI and scored six runs. Glass went 4-for-7 with five runs scored.

Another player that Smith got a lot of production out of was Steven Fightmaster, who, according to Smith, is "the ultimate team player."

"He is always there, and he'll go through a brick wall for you. He is a quiet leader who does the dirty work and things that go unnoticed. I wish I had 12 of him," Smith said.