Extra base hits have been hard to come by for LaVergne this season, but the Wolverines had four of them to account for all of their runs Wednesday night.
Kalani Porto doubled to get himself in scoring position in the sixth inning, then scored on Jake Hammon’s single, as the Wolverines defeated the Bulldogs 5-4 to even their District 7-AAA series.
Mitchell Lovell homered and doubled to account for three of La Vergne’s runs, and Chris Johnson doubled to knock home a run.
Both teams had the lead twice, and the score was tied going into the sixth inning when La Vergne got the winning run.
“(It was a) back and forth game,” La Vergne coach Dean Darnall said. “They had some chances early and didn’t capitalize, and we did, too.”
La Vergne led 1-0 after the first inning, when Lovell doubled and scored on a La Vergne error.
The Bulldogs tied it in the top of the second, when Ryan Veal doubled and Connor Boyd knocked him home. Smyrna scored in the top of the third after Jeremy Noe drew a leadoff walk and Beau Brewer singled to score him.
The Wolverines came back to take a 3-2 lead when Lovell drove a two-run homer to left field.
“Going into the bat, I just wanted to get a good pitch,” Lovell said. “I got a good pitch and I just nailed it. I didn’t let it get past me.”
It was only the third home run hit by La Vergne this season.
“We are not a power-hitting team by any stretch,” Darnall said. “We’re not geared that way. We need to be hard ground balls, line drives. We’ve got some kids that can run, so it’s just getting people on base and just trying to get the game in motion for us is where we work best. We’re not like Earl Weaver, we can’t sit back and wait on that three-run bomb.”
La Vergne added to its lead when Johnson doubled home Carson Thigpen, making it 4-2 in the fourth.
But the Bulldogs weren’t done. They loaded the bases in the fifth with no outs when Noe drew a walk, Cameron Roberts singled and Camron Hayes singled. Then courtesy runner Kedall Miller and Roberts scored on groundouts to tie the game.
That set up the eventful sixth inning.
“It was clutch hitting on their part, and we left too many runners on (six), that’s kind of a theme for our season right now,” Smyrna coach Barry Vetter said. “That’s baseball. Some days they fall, and sometimes you hit them right at them.”
Chris Johnson started and went five innings for La Vergne. Hammon pitched the final two innings to earn the win.
La Vergne 5, Smyrna 4
Smyrna 011 020 0 — 4 6 3
La Vergne 102 101 x — 5 9 1
WP – Hammon. LP – Boyd.