Craig Harris/Macon County Times Macon County High junior Isaac Belton delivers a pitch during the Tigers’ season-ending, 8-3 loss to visiting Cannon County.

Craig Harris/Macon County Times

Macon County High junior Isaac Belton delivers a pitch during the Tigers’ season-ending, 8-3 loss to visiting Cannon County.

The Macon County High School baseball team came through with some late-inning heroics in a District 8-AA Tournament loser's bracket contest played on May 7.

However, the Tigers couldn't follow up that victory with another round of success, ending their season with an 8-3 loss to visiting Cannon County later that evening.

"It's difficult," Macon County head coach Jason Hudson said. "You come back in the first game. You make the comeback late. It's a lot of emotion. Everybody is fired up ... but baseball is not a sport where you can be out-of-control fired up.

"To turn around 20 or 30 minutes later and come back down to earth to play another game, nobody is accustomed to playing like that. During the (regular) season, you play one game a night. Elimination games are that much more stressful."

Tiger senior leadoff hitter Kade Allen singled to lead off the top of the first inning, moved to third base when junior Cameron Mercer singled and scored when sophomore Isaac Meador grounded into a forecourt.

However, the Lions responded by scoring three runs in the bottom of the frame -- thanks to three hits, an error and a base on balls -- and never trailed again.

Mercer drew a third-inning walk and scored on Meador's two-out double to left-centerfield, pulling Macon County -- the No. 1 seed form the 8-AA West Division -- to within a run.

However, Jacob Raines homered to lead off the bottom of the frame.

Then, Cannon County -- the No. 4 seed from the 8-AA East Division -- erupted for four runs in the fifth, thanks to three of the Tigers' eight errors and a walk.

That brought Macon County sophomore Jordon Steen on in relief of junior starting pitcher Isaac Belton.

The Tigers attempted to rally in the seventh thanks to Allen's single, Meador's double and walks to Logan Thompson and Belton. Belton's bases-loaded walk forced in Mercer, but the game ended with a strikeout.

It was the third meeting between Macon County and the Lions. The Tigers rolled to an 8-1 win at Cannon County on April 29, but when the two teams met to open the 8-AA Tournament on May 3, the Lions dropped Macon County into the loser's bracket with a 3-0 setback.

With the victory, the Lions advanced to the 8-AA championship game and also earned a spot in the regional tournament. However, Cannon County suffered a 5-2 loss to Smith County in last Wednesday evening's 8-AA title tilt.

"They're on a roll," Hudson said. "They're hot and playing well. They got in the winners' bracket and threw two kids (Garett Alexander and Blane Elkins). The day of rain (that postponed the second day of play) helped them."

The Tigers ended the season with a 19-8 record and lose three seniors -- Allen, Thompson and Trent Cook.

"I told them that they have been a part of the last two years where we've won our side (of the district)," Hudson said. "Last year, we won the regular-season (title). To come from where we've been, now, Macon County is back toward the upper half of the district. That's where we expect to be now. When this group came in, they came in to a program that had struggled. Between last year's bunch and these three seniors, they've kind of put us back on the map so to speak.

"It's no consolation when you lose, but overall, where we were picked and what they've been through in the past, I'm proud of them. We had to replace five starters, and they still came back and did what they did. They had a good year."

• Macon County overcame a five-run deficit earlier on Tuesday to stay alive, rallying for a 6-5, eight-inning victory over Watertown.

The Purple Tigers won the two teams' regular-season meeting, a 14-11 contest in Watertown on April 15.

In the rematch, Watertown -- the No. 2 seed from the 8-AA East Division -- scored single runs in the first and fourth innings and three in the second for a 5-0 lead.

Mercer reached on a fourth-inning error and scored on Belton's double.

Then, three errors helped the Tigers rally for three runs in the bottom of the sixth, with Allen, Thompson and Belton all crossing the plate. Freshman Oakley Stinson drove in one of those runs with a single.

Then, with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Mercer reached on a two-base throwing error before Meador hit a fly ball out into left-centerfield that was mishandled, allowing Mercer to score the tying run.

Then, in the bottom of the eighth, the bases were loaded with no outs following walks to Belton and sophomore Hayden Blankenship and after Stinson's ground ball was mishandled on the left side of the infield.

Junior Connor Trent successfully laid down a suicide squeeze that allowed Belton to score the winning the run.

Stinson had two of his squad's five hits.

Thompson went the distance on the mound, improving to 5-3. The right-hander allowed two earned runs on five hits, issued two base on balls and struck out three hitters.

"You don't ever want it to end," Hudson said. "You know it's going to for everybody but three (public-school) teams in the state.

"To battle like we did and not lose faith, that's what we've relied on this week after we've lost that game on Friday (the 3-0 loss to Cannon County). We wanted to believe we could come back and pull this off. To battle back and pull it off in extras, it's a testament to our kids and their determination to get it done."