MURFREESBORO – Summertown’s Kendall Franks was troublesome for Goodpasture in multiple ways Wednesday.
He used the combination of small ball and long ball to help the Eagles win 8-3 in a Class A losers’ bracket game.
Franks, who finished 3-for-4, paved the way for a fifth-inning rally with a key bunt and then added a two-run homer in the seventh to provide the exclamation point for the Eagles (32-9).
Summertown will face Peabody at 2 p.m. Thursday in another elimination game.
“Survive and advance; Advance and survive,” Summertown coach Jason Burleson said. “Today, we found some ways to get it done. I really believed, going into the tournament, that if (we) did happen to get beat (in the early rounds), that we have a team that could fight its way through the losers’ bracket.”
Goodpasture (32-10) was limited to four, leaving two runners stranded in scoring position in the first and fourth innings.
“We’ve kind of lived on the edge offensively all season,” Goodpasture coach Jim Carter said. “Some days, we just didn’t get that one big hit at the right time — and that’s what happened today. But we can’t let one day take away from what we accomplished this season. It’s tough to get here.”
Nick Bailey finished with two hits and drove in a run for Goodpasture, and Steve Pine added a hit and an RBI. Cole Carter also drove in a run.
– David Dawson, For The Tennessean
FRA staves off elimination
LA VERGNE – Franklin Road Academy staved off elimination in the Division II-A state baseball tournament Wednesday night against Evangelical Christian School.
Playing without its coach, who was diagnosed with cancer earlier this season, FRA overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat ECS 4-2 to earn a spot in the championship game.
The Panthers (25-7) will face St. Georgia’s at 10 a.m. Thursday. FRA, which lost to St. George’s (28-13) earlier on Wednesday to fall into the losers’ bracket, must defeat Gryphons twice to win the title.
“They’re playing for a team, they’re playing for a school and they’re playing for a head coach who has cancer,” FRA interim head coach Dave Ott said. “They’ve really rallied around that, and they’ve kind of found a personality the past few weeks, a brotherhood if you will.
“It’s been really fun to be a part of it.”
FRA coach George Weicker, winner of three state championships, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer earlier this season. He’s currently undergoing chemotherapy.
“It’s been a hard year with a lot of adversity,” Ott said. “These guys keep battling, though, and you saw that again (Wednesday).”
FRA starter Peyton Warren struck out eight and allowed two runs on six hits in a complete game. Both runs came in the top of the third inning when Keegan Westbrook hit a two-run home run for a 2-0 ECS lead.
“It’s unbelievable,” Warren said. “Never in a million years would I have thought we’d be playing for a state championship.”
FRA tied the score in the bottom of the third after Kenny Cooper and Easton Cornelius scored on back-to-back at-bats from Wynne Tansil and Casey Queener.
The Panthers took the lead for good in the bottom of the fourth when Warren and Austin Willis scored for a 4-2 lead.
Houston Harding took the loss for ECS. He allowed four runs, none of which were earned.
– Will Borthick, Gannett Tennessee
Ravenwood ousted in blowout loss
MURFREESBORO – Tennessee commitment Duncan Pence smacked a game-ending two-run home run, and teammate Chandler Chambers hit a grand slam to power Farragut past Ravenwood 11-1 on Wednesday and end the Raptors’ season.
Farragut, the Class AAA defending state champions, will play Houston at 2 p.m. Thursday and must beat the Mustangs twice to return to the state championship.
“We’re capable of (scoring like that),” Farragut coach Matt Buckner said. “We just haven’t done it much until today. It’s good to see.”
Chambers, a junior, picked a good time to hit his first career homer. His grand slam gave the Admirals a 7-1 lead in the second inning.
“They lumped it all together in the second,” Ravenwood coach Teddy Craig said. “I thought we had an opportunity to dodge a big inning. We got two outs with runners on second and third. If we could get out of there at 4-1, we’re still right there.
“Then the kid hit the two-out grand slam that kind of separated things.”
Ravenwood’s lone run of the game came in the second when Ryan Beamish walked and scored on Drew Haynie’s fly ball.
– Tom Kreager, Gannett Tennessee
Cascade continues improbable run
MURFREESBORO – Cascade’s improbable postseason run continued Wednesday in the Class AA state baseball tournament.
Cascade defeated Knoxville Catholic 4-1 to move within one win of a berth in the state championship game.
“It’s been a total team effort, and you saw that again (Wednesday),” said Cascade coach Brandon Bassham, whose team is 8-1 this postseason. “This team keeps finding a way to step up, and we did that again (Wednesday).”
Cascade (28-12) started the postseason in early May as the No. 5 seed in the District 12-AA tournament. Since finishing runner-up to Christ Presbyterian Academy in the district tournament, the Champions are 5-0.
Cascade will play the winner of the Lexington-Catholic game at 2 p.m. Thursday. It already has beaten both teams once in the state tournament after Wednesday’s victory over the Irish.
“The momentum has been going for about three weeks,” Bassham said. “There’s not a better story in the state, I don’t think, than this team right now. We keep finding a way.”
The Champions struck first against Catholic (27-15) in the bottom of the second inning when Keiron Patton scored on a single to left field by designated hitter Shane Keel, the team’s No. 8 hitter.
Catholic tied the score in the top of the fifth 1-1 only to have Cascade take the lead right back at 2-1 in the bottom half of the inning when Brady Parker, the team’s No. 7 hitter, scored on an error.
It was all the Champions needed, thought they added two key insurance runs in the bottom half of the sixth inning for a 4-1 advantage.
The 6-7-8 hitters in Cascade’s lineup finished 4-for-5 with two runs scored and three RBIs.
Sophomore Seth Gardner earned the complete-game victory for Cascade, allowing just three hits and one earned run.
– Will Borthick, Gannett Tennessee
St. George’s blows past FRA, 11-1
LA VERGNE – St. George’s turned a 3-1 lead into a blowout, scoring five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning en route to an 11-1 win over Franklin Road Academy Wednesday afternoon in the DII-A State Baseball Tournament.
The loss put FRA into the losers’ bracket, where it battled Evangelical Christian School at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Austin Willis’ RBI-double in the top of the fourth inning cut St. George’s lead to 3-1, but the five-run bottom of the fourth all but put the contest out of reach.
FRA scattered six hits – five of those singles. Keeling Hunter had a hit and run scored in the loss.
CPA rolls into bracket finals with win
SMYRNA – Two days into the Class AA state baseball tournament, Christ Presbyterian Academy has used two different formulas to remain in the winners’ bracket.
After using late-inning heroics in their opener Tuesday, CPA broke out to a big lead early Wednesday and rolled to a 10-2 victory over Loudon.
The win sent CPA into the bracket finals to face either Loudon or Crockett County at 2 p.m. Thursday. It marks the deepest postseason run in school history for CPA, which was eliminated on the second day of the state tournament last season.
“It’s a good feeling,” CPA coach Larry Nesbitt said. “Baseball is all about feel — and we like what we are feeling right now. But we’ve got to keep it rolling all week and hopefully we can finish strong.”
CPA, which posted a 2-1 win in extra innings over Sullivan South in their tournament opener, put together a five-run, 10-batter outburst in the top of the first inning against Loudon (23-13). The outburst — which was highlighted by a two-run double by Jacob Gunter — gave CPA starting pitcher David Bates a big cushion. Turns out he didn’t need it.
Bates went 6 2-3 strong innings, limiting Loudon to two runs on two hits. He finished with eight strikeouts and two walks.
“It’s always good to see some early runs on the board,” Bates said. “It lets you know that the team has your back. And after (the first-inning outburst), I just tried to throw strikes and get outs any way I could — groundouts, strikeouts, whatever.”
Baker was lifted with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. John Orr then recorded a strikeout to end it with the bases loaded.
“It was really hot today, so fatigue can be a factor,” Bates said. “I just tried to pitch through it. (I wanted to finish it) so bad.”
After the five-run first inning, the Lions added a single run in the third and scored three more in the fourth to build a 9-0 lead. CPA finished with seven hits and also took advantage of five Loudon errors.
Houston Nichols had two hits, including an RBI double, and Taylor Phillips drove in three runs. CPA leadoff hitter Jordan Baker reached base four times and scored two runs.
– David Dawson, For The Tennessean
Goodpasture falls to Peabody
MURFREESBORO — Although Goodpasture made a late push, scoring two runs in the bottom of the seventh, the Cougars never could crack Peabody’s Kendrick Malone.
Goodpasture (32-9), which cut its deficit in half in its final plate appearance, left nine runners stranded in Wednesday’s Class A winners’ bracket final, 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,” 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.”
The Cougars, who will face Summertown in Wednesday night’s losers’ bracket final, managed just five hits — two of which came in the seventh against an extremely fatigued Malone.
“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 senior Jordan Goff, who surrendered four runs off nine hits while striking out three and walking one, was tagged with the loss for the Cougars.
– Michael Murphy, The Tennessean
Hendersonville eliminated on second-straight walk-off
MURFREESBORO – Hendersonville fell victim to a walk-off loss for the second consecutive game.
Bartlett rallied with two outs in the bottom of the seventh Wednesday and won 4-3 in eight innings, ousting Hendersonville from the Class AAA baseball tournament losers’ bracket.
The Commandos lost 8-7 to Soddy-Daisy on Tuesday, squandering leads of four and three runs.
“We knew we needed more than three runs to win the game,” Hendersonville senior left fielder Braden Schwerdt said. “We knew it was going to be tough.
“We had a few key hits. We just needed a couple of more to win games like that.”
Hendersonville loaded the bases with one out in the top of the eighth, via Austin Brown’s single, Ben Smith’s double and a walk issued to Jarcques Wordlaw. But Bartlett senior relief pitcher C.J. Burrow escaped the jam with a strikeout and a groundout.
In the eighth, with runners at second and third and one out, Bartlett senior Christian Busby singled to deep left field to drive in a run.
Bartlett advanced to face the loser of Wednesday’s Hardin Valley/Soddy-Daisy game in an elimination contest to be played later on Wednesday evening.
– Craig Harris, Gannett Tennessee
Ravenwood stays alive with win over East Hamilton
MURFREESBORO – After losing to Houston in the opening game of the Class AAA baseball tournament, Ravenwood needed to rebound to keep its hopes of a state championship alive.
That’s exactly what the Raptors did Wednesday, winning 12-2 over East Hamilton.
“We jumped out and hit the ball well and were able to manufacture some runs,” Ravenwood coach Teddy Craig said. “We were aggressive, but also we were able draw some walks and to start some rallies.”
Walks were an issue all game as Farragut (21-14) struggled to find the strike zone. Ravenwood (26-7) benefited from nine walks, three of which came to start an inning.
The Raptors scored four runs to start the game after a lead-off walk, then added five more after another lead-off walk in the second inning, giving them a 9-1 lead after two innings.
“We had a tough one last night and maybe it took so much out of us that we just didn’t respond well today,” East Hamilton coach Steve Garland said.
Bryce Denton, Ryan Beamish and Jack Sisk finished with three RBIs apiece for Ravenwood.
“Yesterday we didn’t have too many good at-bats,” Denton said. “Today everybody was staying in the zone and trying to get a good pitch to barrel up and hit hard somewhere.
Micah Kaczor picked up the win for Ravenwood, allowing two runs on just four hits while striking out five and walking two.
Ravenwood will turn around and play another losers’ bracket contest at 5 p.m. against the loser of Farragut vs. Houston.
“It’s tough on everyone to turnaround that fast,” Craig said. What you can control is staying in the winners’ bracket and unfortunately we didn’t do that. Fortunately the kids played well and we get to play another day.”
– Sam Brown, The Tennessean
Pope John Paul II eliminated on walk-off walk
LEBANON – Briarcrest Christian leadoff hitter Hunter Hill drew a bases-loaded walk with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to defeat Pope John Paul II 7-6 and advance in the losers’ bracket of the Division II Class AA state tournament Wednesday.
Hill faced a full count when a high fastball for ball four scored Tyler Shamblin to end the game.
Dalton Heath had come into the game in the second inning, the third pitcher the Knights used. The Saints scored three in the first to chase starter Jack Gallagher and three in the second off Nate Pionto.
“I didn’t really have any pressure on me,” Heath said. “I just made a couple of mistakes, and that’s what cost it.”
The Knights came back from two three-run deficits to tie it in the sixth.
After falling behind 3-0, JPII tied it 3-3 in the top of the second. Jacob Reed tripled home Jacob Telli, and Ryan Hatten blasted a two-run homer.
But Briarcrest scored three more in the bottom of the second.
The Knights chipped away at the deficit, scoring one in the third, one in the fifth and one in the sixth.
JPII’s Logan Taylor was 3-of-4, with a single, double and triple. He knocked in the tying run in the sixth.
“We definitely could have laid down after getting down three, and getting down three again, but we just kept scrapping, and just couldn’t finish it,” JPII coach Michael Brown said.
Dresser Winn went the distance for Briarcrest Christian, improving his record to 7-0.
– Kenneth Schott, For The Tennessean
Summertown stays alive behind Beard’s 12 Ks
MURFREESBORO — Summertown starter Timmy Beard scattered three hits in a complete-game effort, leading the Eagles to an 8-3 victory Wednesday.
“I knew I had to come out here and finish the game because we had to save pitching for (Wednesday night’s) game,” Beard said. “I just had to pitch as efficiently as possible, but there was a little bit of nervousness.”
Summertown will play the loser of the Peabody-Goodpasture game at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Beard, who tossed three straight balls to start the game, set down the first nine Indians batters.
“To Oneida’s credit, they faced (Class A Mr. Baseball winner Drew Hall) from Goodpasture yesterday, who throws 86 or 87, and then to come in here and see a lefty is tough,” Summertown coach Greg Burelson. “Seeing a lefty with a good breaking ball is even tougher.”
Beard, a senior left-hander, scattered three hits while striking out 12 and walking one, and junior leadoff man Bryce Giles finished 3-for-3 with a pair of runs and an RBI.
“Our bats finally got hot today,” said Giles, who doubled and tripled for the Eagles. “I was just centering up the baseball, just finding it. Today it looked like a beach ball.”
Beard, along with senior Luke Scott, also finished with a pair of hits for the Eagles.
Summertown, making its sixth state tournament appearance in nine years, notched a pair of runs on three first-inning hits. The Eagles added another in the fourth, and they blew things open with their five-run, four-hit fifth.
“We got some runs early in the first inning and then we kind of shut down,” Burelson said. “That’s kind of what we do. Then we had the big inning there, but we got a little complacent in the field there.”
Summertown committed three errors in the final two innings, contributing to two of the Indians’ three runs.
“It’s kind of been the same both days,” Burelson said, referring to Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to Peabody. “We didn’t let them back in it, but we gave them some opportunities that we didn’t need to.”
– Michael Murphy, The Tennessean