The meeting between Lincoln County and Hurricane on Thursday night had the feel of a State Tournament championship game.
Unfortunately for both the state-ranked Panthers and Redskins, it was just the third and deciding sectional title tilt.
No. 3 Hurricane trailed by two in the sixth inning, but scored the next 10 runs to rally for a 13-6 victory at home over No. 4 Lincoln County in the Class AAA Region 4, Section 3 championship.
With the victory, the Redskins win their first sectional title in the five seasons under Coach Josh Caldwell. Things don't get any easier, though, with No. 2 Cabell Midland up next for Hurricane (28-6) in the Region 4 semifinals next Thursday.
"It goes from easy to easier," said Caldwell with laugh. "That's sarcasm. We get Midland here next Thursday. Our biggest goal of the year was to win this (sectional). That was a huge step for us tonight."
Caldwell was thankful to be advancing in what he called the toughest section and region in the state with three of the top four teams in Class AAA in Midland, Hurricane, and Lincoln County (23-8).
"It's a crying shame and it sucks that anybody has to lose in this sectional, but I'm sure grateful to be advancing," he said. "There is no sectional in the state that anybody has to go through like this.
"It's unreal. It's my fifth year here and we have been on the other end every year. We have had some good teams, too. That's a great team over there."
Lincoln County Coach Rod Hoover agreed on the toughness of the section.
"It's a shame that the state doesn't find a way to take more teams to the State Tournament and have a better tournament," he said. "It's harder to get to the State Tournament than win it when you're in Region 4.
"It's like this every year. Whoever comes out of Region 4, typically is the favorite in the state.
"Hat's off of Hurricane, though. They are a great team but I will take my team into battle any day. There has to a winner and a loser."
Hurricane looked to be in trouble, trailing 5-3 in the sixth inning when left fielder Addie Fullen hit a two-run home run over the left-field fence with two outs to tie the game and give the Redskins some much-needed momentum.