Head Coach Rodney O Parker competed in his first region tournament appearance as a head coach on Monday night.
It did not go his way.
His team looked as if they might also be a bit nervous, but they settled in.
The game went back and forth for three and a half innings.
Dickson County jumped out to a 1-0 lead before Rossview tied it up in the bottom of the second.
Both teams had a nice third inning scoring two a piece to send us into the fourth.
Tied at three, the Cougars managed to scrape across a run to take a 4-1 lead.
They were feeling good.
Then the wheels came off.
Adam Roth had pitched decently but thrown over fifty pitches.
He would walk the first two batters of the inning before being relieved on the mound.
Owen Hutchison came in and did not make it out of the inning.
He was relived by Nick Sullivan.
Ultimately the Cougars would give up six runs in the bottom of the fourth.
Rossview held a 9-4 lead and never looked back.
They brought in Cannon Rice, their power throwing closer, to pitch the final few frames.
Dickson County never could muster anything after that.
It was as if the air had left their bodies.
The Hawks would plate two more runs to bring the score to 11-4 and that is the ballgame.
It was a tough pill to swallow.
That is until you realize, they are one of the youngest teams that was still alive.
The Cougars lose next to no one from this squad.
Nick Sullivan and Clinton Shrader headline the list, for certain.
However, we saw people step up at their respective positions when either one of them was injured or had to pitch.
John Thompson was a PO (Pitcher Only) and so while it certainly sucks to lose experienced pitching, he was not one of your higher rotation guys.
Last, but far from least, is Carter Ward.
Ward is simply put, everything you want if you are coach Parker.
He is a utility player.
Ward can pitch, play first, hold down an outfield position, and will do it all with a smile.
He may not be the best at any of them, but he is more than capable at each.
All that being said, think about the talent that returns.
Cade Pilkington, Adam Roth, Ben Fisher, Logan Myatt, Eli Potter, Nate Poole, and many more are all back.
With postseason experience.
They had the region game against a heavy-hitting Rossview team.
Showed up and came up just short in a back and forth district final.
They now know what it takes throughout a season to be ready for the big moment.
The biggest adjustment for this team and staff will be offensively.
Pitching and defense can always improve.
This team has to learn how to score in bunches.
Much like you see teams at higher levels adjusting to the teams and conferences around them, so must the Cougars.
Small ball wins games, not championships.
We saw it come up short against Henry County.
Obviously against Rossview.
It is not a sustainable model.
When the Hawks scored six runs in the bottom of the fourth the game felt instantly out of reach.
Simply because the Dickson County offense is not built to come back from that, or score at that pace.
That has to be fixed.
Will it be? That is the question we will ask all offseason.
For now, a great season comes to an end.