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The drought is over.
On Friday night in New Castle, the Owen County High School baseball team captured their first 31st District title since 2007.
The Rebels used a 3-run sixth inning to open up a 5-2 lead and Jarrod Ball shut the door in the seventh to defeat Gallatin County High School in the championship game.
Owen County reached the championship game by beating Henry County High School 7-2 in the semifinals. It was the team’s first win of the season against the Wildcats after losing twice in New Castle earlier in the year.
Henry County entered the tournament as the two-time defending champs. They beat Owen County last year in the championship game and the previous season in the semifinals.
Gallatin County made it to the championship game with a win over Eminence in the first round followed by a victory over Carroll County in the semifinals.
The championship game was scheduled for Wednesday night but the weather moved the contest to Friday night.
By reaching the district championship game, the Rebels assured they would be making back-to-back appearances in the Eighth Region Tournament for the first time since 2006 and 2007.
Owen County got on the board with a run in the bottom of the first inning when Travis Hearne scored on a ground out by Ball.
The two would team up again in the fifth when Hearne scored the second run of the game on a Ball single.
Eighth-grader Cameron McAnally held the Wildcats scoreless for the first five innings before running into trouble in the sixth.
Gallatin County would load the bases but McAnally was able to limit the damage to just two runs sending the game to the bottom of the sixth tied at 2-2.
In their half of the inning the Rebels would see the bats come alive.
After getting two strikes, Trevor Smith would prove to be clutch when he singled to drive in Patrick Osborne to make the score 3-2.
Hearne would add a pair of insurance runs when he doubled to drive in both Trevor Smith and Tanner Smith.
Ball came in to pitch the top of the seventh and recorded two strike outs and a ground ball out to pick up the save and set off the winning celebration.
“Being the 31st District champions is an incredible accomplishment for our club,” Owen County High School Baseball Coach Shane Tirey said.
The coach said this has been an exciting season that has seen some great things.
“This has been a fun team to coach and they have had some great accomplishments,” Tirey said.
McAnally, Ball, Hearne, Sonny Berry and Logan Lowe were each named to the 31st District All-Tournament Team.
While the win was a team effort, Tirey credited his young starting pitcher.
“McAnally was brilliant,” Tirey said. “To be only in eighth grade and to be the winning pitcher in the district finals is incredible.”
The Rebels who also won the Eighth Region All ‘A’ championship are hoping there are still more accomplishments to come.
Owen County began play in the Eighth Region Tournament at South Oldham on Monday afternoon against Spencer County.
The Bears entered the tournament with a record of 21-10. They lost 4-3 to Collins in the 30th District championship game.
On Monday afternoon it would be Spencer County who would end Owen County’s season as they defeated the Rebels 11-4 to advance to the semifinals.
With the defeat the Rebels finished the season 17-18.