MURFREESBORO – Kendrick Malone has been in his share of big games on the football field and baseball diamond.
He’s dealt with adversity and overome it on more than one occasion.
He did that again Wedesday in a 4-2 win over Goodpasture to put the Golden Tide in the state semifinals with two chances to make the championship game.
“Those last three innings I had a bad cramp, and I just tried to gut it out,” Malone said. “My team wanted to win and so did I. (Lumley) knew I was tired, but he just told me to trust my stuff and gut it out.”
Goodpasture (32-9), which cut its deficit in half in its final plate appearance, left nine runners stranded in Wednesday’s Class A winner’s bracket final at Riverdale High School, contributing to the team’s 4-2 defeat.
“The Malone kid, we knew he was a heck of a competitor, and he is as advertised,” Goodpasture coach Jim Carter said. “We never assumed they were going to go to anybody else. We knew we were going to have to find a way to score against him, and we couldn’t.”
Malone, also the starting quarterback for the Golden Tide’s Class 2A state championship football team, threw 138 pitches in Wednesday’s complete-game effort. And while the junior left-hander struggled with his control at times, the Cougars never managed to make him pay for it.
“We had situations where we had runners out there, but I’m telling you, every time (Malone) made a quality pitch and got out of the inning,” Goodpasture coach Jim Carter said. “You’ve got to give him credit for that.
“A hit here, a hit there would have made all the difference, but that’s postseason baseball.”
Malone struck out 10 while walking seven for Peabody (31-5).
“We have to be very patient with him because his stuff is good, but he struggles with control some,” Peabody coach Todd Lumley said. “It’s not an easy game to watch from a coaching standpoint, but he works his way out of it. He’s know’s how to compete, and he gives us an opportunity to win when he takes the mound.”
Goodpasture senior Jordan Goff, a former Riverside player and son of former Panthers football coach Joel Goff who surrendered four runs off nine hits while striking out three and walking one, was tagged with the loss for the Cougars.
Boyd Buchanan 8, Huntingdon 2: Boyd Buchanan scored three runs in the top of the first inning and didn’t look back much before eliminating the Mustangs Wednesday morning.
The Buccaneers led 4-2 after five innings and got some insurance runs with two each in the top of the sixth and seventh innings.
Josh Furr and Kade Pearson each had an RBI in the loss for Huntingdon.