It hasn’t been the smoothest senior season for Tate pitcher Michael Sherrill.
A nagging shoulder and neck injury kept Sherrill sidelined until a couple weeks into the season and even once he was back the Tate coaching staff didn’t feel comfortable using him as a starter.
But with the Aggies facing a near must-win situation after a painful midweek loss to Pace, the senior got the call for his first start of the season, and he didn’t shy away from the moment.
Sherrill tossed a complete game Saturday afternoon and led the Aggies back to the top of District 1-7A with a 4-2 road win over the Patriots.
“I told my kids that we had our backs against the wall,” Tate head coach Greg Blackmon said. “We came out and took care of business and won.”
Sherrill grinded through six shutout innings in his first start and carried a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh before finding himself in a jam.
With the memory of Wednesday’s 9-5 loss to Pace, which saw the Patriots overcome a 5-0 deficit in the final few innings, still fresh, Blackmon couldn’t deny the anxiety he felt after two Patriots scored to slice the Aggies’ lead in half.
“We preach that you have to play for 21 outs,” Blackmon said. “You’re always a little nervous until the end.”
Pace’s potential tying run came to the plate in the form of Jake Nemith, but Sherrill forced a check-swing strikeout to end the game.
With one of the Aggies’ most experienced pitchers back in form, and a newly restored district, lead Blackmon said he feels more confident as the season winds to a close.
“We’ve been nursing him back because he’s had a bit of a shoulder problem, but now he’s ready to get his innings” Blackmon said. “He did a great job … We have one other guy to get back and we’ll be in great shape”
Tate 4, Pace 2
THS 000 112 0 – 4 8 1
PHS 000 000 2 – 2 9 2
WP – Michael Sherrill (7 IP, 2 ER, 9 H, 4 K, BB. LP – Jason Barlow (4.1 IP 2 R (1 R), 5 H, 6 K, 6 BB). Tate hitters – Cole Halfacre 4-4 RBI; AJ Gordon 1-1 2B, RBI, 2 BB, SB; Trace Penton 1-4 2B, RBI, BB. Pace hitters – Bennett Shell 1-4 2B, RBI, R; Andrew Bates 2-3 RBI; Dalton Childs 2-3; Connor Howton 2-3 R.