Siegel 9-3, Summit 5-2
It was a tale of two games for Siegel baseball but the Stars got it done and are locked in for a spot in the Class AAA title game.
Siegel topped Summit twice Thursday. The Stars will play Arlington at Reese Smith Jr. Field at MTSU at 5 p.m. for the state title.
Murfreesboro native and Louisville commit Drew Benefield came up clutch for the Stars in their second game, which was a defensive struggle that lasted eight innings.
With the bases loaded and tied 2-2 in the top of the eighth, Benefield walked to bring in the winning run.
“Words can’t describe it,” Benefield said after the win. “We’re not done yet and we have to play well tomorrow.”
Benefield’s eye at the plate was just one highlight of his night as he drove in the two additional runs during the second game.
The Stars overcame a strong performance by Summit’s Chris McElvain, a freshman and a Vanderbilt commitment who pitched eight innings with 10 strikeouts.
The pitching duel came after an offensive explosion in the first game where both teams combined for 13 runs, and the Stars prevailed.
Christian Brothers 6, Brentwood Academy 1
Brentwood Academy lost to Christian Brothers in the DII-AA baseball championship game.
The Eagles led 1-0 until the fifth and couldn’t get much going against Michael Feather, who pitched a complete game.
“We’ve struggled all year offensively,” said Brentwood Academy coach Buddy Alexander. “That was big to even get on the board early. We are not a great offensive team. We had some chances beyond the one run early, but I knew we’d have to capitalize on every chance, and we didn’t.”
Senior Thomas Swafford gave up three runs on four hits and two walks in five innings for the Eagles.
Spring Hill 13, Milan 3
Sophomore Matthew Joslin went 3-for-3 with a three-run homer, five RBIs and three runs scored to lead Spring Hill into the Class AA championship game with a 13-3 win over Milan.
Junior outfielder Hunter Whitwell did his part with a 2-for-4 day and three RBIs with a run scored.
Taylor Warwick went 2-for-4 with an RBI and three runs scored in the leadoff spot in the Raiders’ lineup.
Spring Hill will play CPA in the championship game on Friday at 2 p.m. at MTSU.
Arlington 7, Stewarts Creek 4
Gresham Mosley and Corey Perkins each collected two hits for Stewarts Creek, but the Red Hawks stranded nine runners and Arlington never trailed in a 7-4 victory. The Tigers advance to the AAA state championship game on Friday.
Stewarts Creek ends the season with a 24-17 overall record, going 2-2 in its first state tournament appearance. Coach Mike Bartlett had nothing but positive things to say about his third-year program.
“I’m so proud of these guys. We got down four and we came back,” Bartlett said. “We had guys in scoring position, but we didn’t get the hits today. We had a great year but just came up a little bit short.”
Arlington scored four times in the top of the first, including an RBI triple from Tyler Gentry, a run-scoring single by Brelin Carroll and a squeeze bunt from Tyler Pagenkopf. The Red Hawks answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame on a bases-loaded walk to Luke Alexander and a sacrifice fly from Daniel Freeman.
Stewarts Creek left the bases loaded in the second inning and stranded two more in the fourth after pulling within 5-4. Perkins scored on a wild pitch and Tre Bailliez came across on a groundout by Brandon Dial in the frame.
“They do a great job of pitching backward, throwing breaking balls in fastball counts. Hats off to their guys making great pitches in tough spots,” Bartlett said.
Arlington reliever Ryan Taylor gave up a single and a walk when he entered in the fourth but then retired 11 of the final 13 batters he faced to earn the victory.
Freeman suffered the loss for the Red Hawks, allowing four runs on four hits in one-third of an inning. Will Duffee pitched well before running into trouble in the fifth and Bailliez struck out three in 2⅔ scoreless innings.
FRA captures DII-A state title
Peyton Warren belted a triple and two doubles and Walker Palmerton allowed just one run over 5 1/3 innings as Franklin Road Academy completed a perfect run through the Division II-A State Baseball Tournament with an 8-1 win over Harding Academy in the championship game Thursday at MTSU.
Warren drove in three runs with the three hits to pace the FRA offense. Kenny Cooper had a pair of hits and a run scored and RBI each while Christian Drake scored three times in the triumph.
FRA (25-11) exploded for five runs in the first inning and never looked back. That was plenty of run support for Palmerton, who threw 40 of his 63 pitches for strikes. Warren retired the five batters he faced to close the game.
Casey Harford was the loser for Harding, giving up eight hits and five runs – all earned – in 3 2/3 innings.
It was the fourth state baseball title for FRA (1984, 1988, 2000). Two of those titles were won under longtime coach George Weicker, who died in February after coaching the team for 30 seasons.
His successor, Jon Wilson, wins a state title in his first season heading up the Panther program.
Scotts Hill 5, Loretto 4
Austin Branham’s walk-off single scored Junior Kimmel from third base, and Scotts Hill eliminated Loretto 5-4 to advance to the Class A state championship game for the first time.
Loretto entered the day needing two wins over the Lions thanks to Wednesday’s loss, but the Mustangs couldn’t get the first one.
The Mustangs closed their first state tournament season ever at 34-9.
“We don’t have any seniors, so the thing is we’ve got something to look forward to,” Loretto coach Gary Lamm said. “We can’t take any guarantees because there’s no guarantee in this, and the thing is we’ve got to work harder next year.”
Scotts Hill (25-11) will meet defending champ Knoxville Grace. This is the Lions’ third Murfreesboro appearance after making it in 2013 and 2014.
“We’re all in this together, from the head coach to every freshman on this team,” Scotts Hill coach Carl Harken said. “We’re ecstatic for the opportunity to play and go out and prove something, that we can compete with these guys that are perennially in it and perennially make it deep into the tournament.”
Dylan Montgomery pitched five innings for Scotts Hill (25-11), with Evan Russell and Kimmel pitching one each.
Loretto’s Jacob Hallmark faced all but the final batter.
Siegel 10, Sevier Co. 0
MURFREESBORO — Drew Benefield’s two-run homer capped a five-run second inning, and Jacob Key’s two-run double drove in the final runs in Siegel’s 10-0 victory Wednesday over Sevier County for the Stars’ second win of the day in a Class AAA elimination contest.
Siegel moved into the bracket final against Summit at 2 p.m. Thursday, needing the beat the Spartans twice to reach the state tournament championship game.
A pair of errors in the second inning opened the door for five runs for the Stars, capped by Benefield’s two-run homer, and Siegel never looked back, adding single runs in the third and fourth before three runs in the fifth ended the contest early.
John Ross Langworthy picked up his second win of the day, allowing just four hits with one walk and four strikeouts. The Louisville commitment tossed the final two innings in the club’s 6-5 win earlier Wednesday versus Collierville.
“We got the five runs up and I just relaxed and threw strikes at that point,” Langworthy said. “I knew before the game my off-speed felt solid so I wanted to come out and establish that. I was prepared to go all seven innings but coach was checking with me every inning.”
Key was 3 for 4 with a run and two RBIs while Benenfield drove in three runs and Zac Pearson collected two hits and scored three times. CJ Murray also had two hits and two runs scored in the win.
– JoJo Freeman
Central, Milan suspended
SMYRNA — With the score tied 4-4, Central Magnet had the bases loaded with one out, and there was a 3-2 count on cleanup hitter Hunter Jones, when the thunderstorms started.
The game was postponed until Thursday at noon at Smyrna High. The winner will advance to play Spring Hill, and the loser is eliminated from the AA baseball tournament.
The Tigers took a 4-0 lead through the first three innings. Jordan Jackson led off the game with a double and Jones singled him home. An error by Milan first baseman Connor Creary allowed two runs in the second, and Wes Duffield and Jones had back-to-back doubles in the third to plate another run.
The Bulldogs came back to tie it, scoring two in the third and two in the fourth. Center fielder Landon Walkup tripled home two runs in the third, and shortstop Jay Hatfield had a two-RBI single in the fourth.
– Kenneth Schott
Stewarts Creek 9, Farragut 4
MURFREESBORO — After a loss early Wednesday to Arlington in the Class AAA tournament, Stewarts Creek baseball coach Mike Bartlett said his team would be resilient in the elimination game just hours later.
“Lately we’ve been really good in elimination games,” Bartlett said after the 1-0 loss.
Bartlett’s words rang true as the Red Hawks rallied back to beat Farragut 9-4 Wednesday to force a rematch with Arlington on Thursday.
“Our guys for whatever reason have done well in elimination games,” Bartlett said. “They gutted it out.”
The Red Hawks found themselves in a hole early down 4-0 after the top of the first. After adding two runs in the top of the second, SCHS needed more answers.
And did the third-year program ever find them in the bottom of the fourth.
The Red Hawks scored six runs off an eight-hit barrage that was started by Daniel Freeman’s single. By the time the inning was over, Stewarts Creek had 11 hits on the board.
“All year we’ve felt like we’ve hit the ball really, really well,” Bartlett said. “I’m glad it fell for us.”
The defense also shined as Tre Bailliez turned a bare-handed double play in the bottom of the fifth.
“That was huge,” Bartlett said. “I think it took the air out of them.”
Now the Red Hawks’ attention turns to a rematch game with Arlington.
“It’s a whole new game,” Bartlett said. “Our guys will hopefully respond like they have.”
– Aldo Amato
FRA 9, Davidson Academy 1
LA VERGNE — Franklin Road Academy senior Dalton Ney delivered an impressive complete-game effort on the mound and the Panthers’ offense delivered several timely hits on Wednesday, resulting in a 9-1 Division II-A tournament win over Davidson Academy.
The Panthers (24-11), who used a two-run seventh-inning to come from behind and beat Harding Academy in Tuesday’s opening-round action, will take on the winner of Davidson Academy and Harding Academy in Thursday’s 10 a.m state championship game at MTSU’s Reese Smith Jr. Field.
“No one thought we’d get this close,” said Ney, a senior Lee University signee who missed much of the early season with a broken fibula. He also homered in the game.
“It’s really exciting to be in this spot, especially as a senior. We lost in this game last year, and it feels great getting the win and knowing that we only have to win one more.”
Ney, who scattered five hits while striking out five and walking three in seven innings, also went 2-for-4 at the plate with an RBI and two runs scored.
“Since coming back from injury, Dalton has really been big on the mound for us,” first-year FRA coach Jon Wilson said. “He really battled out there, threw strikes when he needed to and pitched out of some tough situations early. I really couldn’t be happier with what he did.”
Panthers freshman Walker Palmerton and junior Zachary Walker each managed two-run doubles in the lopsided victory, while senior Kenny Cooper finished 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored.
“This is our first time in the state tournament since 2009, so we’re all experiencing this for the first time,” said Davidson Academy coach Dennis Winn, whose Bears mustered their only run on senior Xavier Corcino’s second-inning solo shot to left. “We knew when we got here that we weren’t going to roll through three games and win a ring.
“You’d like to be undefeated heading into the final, but ultimately you’re just trying to get yourself there.”
The Bears will take on Harding Academy in Wednesday’s 5 p.m. loser’s bracket final.
– Michael Murphy
Jackson Christian 7, Goodpasture 4
MURFREESBORO – The baseball teams at Jackson Christian and Goodpasture have both played better most of the year than they have this week.
The Cougars have committed a lot more errors per game this week than they usually do in a three-game span.
The Eagles haven’t found themselves trailing anybody by nine runs like they did early Wednesday against Knoxville Grace.
Jackson Christian and Goodpasture met Wednesday night to decide who would play Grace again Thursday needing to beat them twice to make it to the Class A state championship. The loser’s season would be done.
Jackson Christian was the team that came out with the win, 7-4, just before a rain storm blew into the area around Blackman High School, where the teams have played all week.
“I tell you what man, after that loss this morning, I told the guys we were going back to the hotel, taking a shower, getting some lunch, putting on different uniforms, and it was going to be a new day for Jackson Christian baseball,” said Eagles coach Chuck Cooper. “We just needed to put it behind us, and I think they did a good job of that.”
Cooper almost confused himself when he said his players’ willingness and ability to compete with anybody that drove them after the loss.
“If you get into a competition of competing with these guys, they will out-compete anybody,” Cooper said before laughing at his statement. “Because that’s just how this group is. They’re not flashy or anything like that. They just compete and love to do it.”
Jim Carter, a former Jackson Christian coach who now coaches at Goodpasture, said he knew what his team was in for entering the game against the Eagles.
“Jackson Christian always has talented players that are coached well, and this team was no different,” Carter said. “We’ve had a good season, but we just picked the wrong week to not play our best defense on the biggest stage.”
Hunter Higdon started the game on the mound and went into the seventh inning before being pulled in a jam.
“Hunter is a battler, and he battled tonight,” Cooper said. “He’s been dealing with elbow issues, and this was his first start since we played [Trinity Christian Academy] in the regular season.
“He wanted the ball, and I gave it to him.”
Higdon is a Tennessee Tech signee.
“After the game this morning, we just had to forget about it and get ready for tonight,” Hidgon said. “I love my teammates, and I trusted them to make plays behind me. And they did that.”
Higdon finished with three earned runs on eight hits and two walks with one strikeout in 6.1 innings pitched. He helped himself by going 2-for-4 and scoring a run.
Hayden Love went 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Miles Humphrey had a run scored and an RBI with one hit that all came on the same play with his solo shot in the Eagles’ four-run third inning.
Ryan Lyle, Jayme Gregory and Cole Carter each had two hits for Goodpasture.
“Nearly everybody in the state has their season end in a way they’d prefer it not to, but that doesn’t make this situation any easier,” Carter said as rain poured on Blackman’s field. “No one wanted to win this week worse than us, but we’re more concerned with what kind of young men these guys will be off the field and the impact they will have for Christ. I’m proud of them for that.”
– Brandon Shields
Arlington 1, Stewarts Creek 0
MURFREESBORO – A pitcher’s duel lasted all the way until the eighth inning in the Class AAA state tournament on Wednesday.
But it was Arlington who prevailed 1-0 over Stewarts Creek after a solo shot by Tate Kolwyck to left center at Oakland High School.
The homer was enough to pull pitcher Stewarts Creek pitcher Austin Steel, who had seven strikeouts in seven innings.
Despite connecting for five hits and getting runners in scoring position, the Redhawks could not capitalize on their chances.
One of their best chances came in the bottom of the first with the bases loaded. Redhawks first baseman Daniel Freeman struck out at that at bat.
The Red Hawks, a program in its third year, will play Farragut in an elimination game Wednesday at 5 at Oakland.
“Lately we’ve been really good in elimination games,” SCHS head coach Mike Bartlett said. “We just have to flush the disappointment and try to play baseball. “
Bartlett said his team does not feel any pressure as they look to make history at the state tournament.
“We have talked from the first day that nobody is going to feel sorry for us being a third year school,” Bartlett said. “There is no state championship for third-year schools and we’re competing for the same championship.”
Reach Aldo Amato at 615-278-5109 and on Twitter @Aldo_Amato.
CPA 3, CAK 1
MURFREESBORO — Christ Presbyterian Academy baseball coach Larry Nesbitt and his team had one goal on Wednesday: Keep moving forward.
“The only thing we want to do is put ourselves in a good position to keep advancing,” Nesbitt said. “That’s what today meant.”
CPA marched on with a 3-1 win over Christian Academy of Knoxville in a winners-bracket matchup of the last two Class AA state champions at Blackman High School.
CPA took control with three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Cooper Reynolds and Harrison Whiteside had an RBI each and Reynolds scored from third on a balk for a 3-1 lead.
CPA junior pitcher Devin McKnight scattered three hits over seven innings of work.
“He works quick,” Nesbitt said. “I love it when he’s on the mound; he gets quick outs. I think we played an hour and 15 minutes. He pitched in the state championship game last year. Same thing — hour and 15 minutes.”
CPA advances to play the winner of CAK and Chester County at 2 p.m. on Thursday at Blackman.
“(CAK) is a great team, but I think all eight teams in it are good teams,” Nesbitt said. “The main thing is we get to play at least two more games and we’re excited about it.”
– Grant Ramey
Spring Hill 4, Central Magnet 2
SMYRNA – Spring Hill needed a big inning to give Zac King the run support he needed, and the Raiders got it in the fifth.
Spring Hill scored two in the fifth, and went ahead to defeat Central Magnet 4-2 in the AA state tournament Wednesday.
Central Magnet battles in the losers bracket against Milan at 5 Wednesday evening at Smyrna. The winner of that game will face Spring Hill in the bracket finals Thursday at 2 p.m.
The score was tied 2-2 going into the fifth. Brycen Thomas singled with one out, Matt Joslin drew a walk and Hunter Whitwell doubled home pinch-runner Shaun Ballard. After the second out, Brennon Sanders singled home Joslin with a clutch two-out RBI.
The scrappy Tigers were down 2-0 but tied it in the bottom of the fourth off King when Wes Duffield reached first after he swung at a high outside fastball for strike three, but the ball got to the backstop and he reached first safely. Hunter Jones singled him home, and Patrick Norman singled home Jones with two outs.
King, a left-hander who is committed to Vanderbilt, had 12 strikeouts in five innings. Thomas finished the game and kept Central scoreless to earn the save.
Spring Hill coach Paul Lamm said the heat affected King and prompted him leaving after five innings.
“The last couple of weeks, we’ve been playing in fall-type weather, and (the heat) kind of drained everybody,” said Lamm.
Central’s Darek Sargent and Joey Hughes each doubled off King in the first two innings, but both were left stranded. Central left seven runners on base in the game, six of them in scoring position.
“You face a guy who’s got the stuff that he (King)’s got, you have to battle,” said Central Magnet coach Jason Patterson. “We had a lot of chances. We competed well.”
Siegel 6, Collierville 5
MURFREESBORO – Jordan Middleton’s fly ball down the rightfield line was dropped, allowing the winning run to score and capping a two-run seventh in Siegel’s 6-5 victory over Collierville in an elimination game here Wednesday morning at Siegel.
The Stars (30-9) move on to a 5 p.m. match-up against either Summit or Sevier County in another elimination contest.
Siegel took a 4-1 lead after four innings thanks to a two-run double by Middleton in the second and RBI singles from Ryker Kristinus and Tyler Kirkland. Adam Sanderlin’s two-run shot in the fifth got the Dragons (21-22) back in the game and Collierville took the lead in the sixth with a pair of runs, though it could have been more.
Parker Cathey’s bases-loaded walk tied the game at four and Peyton Cathey scored on an errant pickoff throw to third, but John Ross Langworthy stranded runners at second and third to minimize the damage.
In the seventh Drew Benefield and Krystinus each doubled to start the frame, tying the contest. A throwing error and a bunt single loaded the bases before Middleton’s fly ball down the rightfield line was dropped by R.J. Dell near the line, though pinch-runner Trey Campbell likely would have scored on the play.
“We talk about, this time of year, it doesn’t matter. You get one more run and move on,” Siegel head coach Craig Reavis said. “I was proud of our guys. We gave up the lead and could have folded and gone home. (Benefield and Krisstinus) came out and hit some balls hard in the last inning.”
Siegel starter Jacob Key gutted out five innings in his third start in nine days, allowing three runs on five hits in five innings. He walked five and struck out nine, stranding seven runners in the process. Langworthy picked up the win with two hitless innings of relief, striking out one.
Collierville’s Brayden Green suffered the loss, allowing four earned runs on 11 hits. He walked two and struck out five.
– JoJo Freeman
Farragut 7, Ravenwood 3
MURFREESBORO — Farragut’s Jake Hagenow, a Middle Tennessee State commitment, broke a seventh-inning tie with a three-run blast over the left-field fence to spark a four-run outburst in the frame as Farragut held off Ravenwood 7-3 in a losers’ bracket elimination game in the Class AAA state tournament Wednesday at Oakland High.
Farragut (38-6) will play a second elimination game against either Stewarts Creek or Arlington at 5 p.m. on Wednesday. Ravenwood finishes the season 22-17.
Hagenow’s home run off Ravenwood starter Clayton Mayfield broke a 3-3 tie. The Admirals added an insurance run when Zach Sharber fielded a Carmelo Venero bunt and overthrew first baseman Jack Sisk, allowing a run to score.
The heroics allowed Farragut to avoid going two-and-out in the state tournament for the first time under the TSSAA’s current eight-team format.
Tennessee signee Duncan Pence earned the win, striking out nine and allowing just one hit – a solo home run to Hagan Severance – in 4 2-3 innings of relief. He stepped in for starter Danny Abel with one out in the third, and got Sharber to ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play as Ravenwood left the bases loaded with the score tied 2-2.
The Raptors raced to a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first on Drew Haynie’s two-run single. But Ravenwood mustered just two hits the rest of the way, including Severance’s solo shot in the fifth.
Justen Freeman, John Painter and Parker Noland each added RBIs for Farragut, which posted single runs in the first, second and fifth.
The loss spoiled an otherwise effective outing for Mayfield, who surrendered seven runs – six earned – on nine hits in 6 1-3 innings.
“I was proud of our guy Mayfield working on three days rest,” Ravenwood coach Teddy Craig said. “He battled to give us as much as he did. It’s anybody’s game going into the seventh. Unfortunately , they got the key hit and we didn’t. He’s been our go-to guy. He’s the guy who won three games to get us to this point.”
– Chris Thomas
Brentwood Academy 6, JPII 2
LEBANON – An early lead and their chances of advancing in the Division II-AA state tournament slipped away from the Pope John Paul II High School baseball team with a 6-2 loss to Brentwood Academy in the losers bracket on Wednesday at Wilson Central High School.
The Knights had dropped their opening game of the tournament 4-0 to Christian Brothers the night before. The loss to Brentwood Academy ended the Knights’ season.
JPII got on the board first in the first inning. Junior Ben Brooks, who was a finalist for Division II-AA Player of the Year, led off the game by reaching on an error, went to second on a sacrifice bunt, and then scored on a single up the middle by junior Pace Dempsey.
Senior pitcher Dalton Heath kept Brentwood Academy off the board until the fourth inning, when Alex Wittman blooped a ball into short right center field just out of the reach of the diving Dempsey, scoring two.
The Eagles scored two more runs in the fifth on singles by Conner Woodlee and James Rosen and another two in the sixth on sacrifice flies by Easton Cline and Warren Preston. JPII scored its final run in the top of the sixth when sophomore Jake Rucker opened the inning with a single and later scored on an error.
– Andy Telli
Goodpasture 8, Forrest 2
MURFREESBORO – After dropping a tough game yesterday to put itself in the Class A loser’s bracket, Goodpasture rebounded nicely Wednesday using an 8-2 win over Forrest at Riverdale to keep its season alive.
“You’re fighting for your life and our whole mindset right now is we just want to stay together as long as we can,” Goodpasture coach Jim Carter said.
With the win, Goodpasture will have another win-or-go-home game at Riverdale tonight at 5 p.m. vs. the loser of Jackson Christian and Knoxville Grace, which beat the Cougars 5-4 yesterday.
Goodpasture got the scoring started with a pair of RBI singles from Ryan Lyle and Gage Gregory in the second inning.
The Rockets responded in the bottom of the inning with an RBI single from Jacob Jones that made it a 2-1 game, but Goodpasture tacked on two more in the third and one more in the fourth to increase is lead to 5-1.
Starting pitcher Zach Wallace took it from there allowing two runs on eight hits while holding Forrest’s Class A Mr. Baseball winner and Vanderbilt signee Alex Brewer to just one hit and no RBIs.
The Rockets had their chances against Wallace, they were just unable to convert, stranding 11 men on base.
“We just didn’t get those timely hits when we needed them,” Forrest coach Bart Joyce said. “That’s baseball. There’s things you’ve got to do and it just wasn’t there today.”
In total, five Cougars finished with at least one RBI, and that’s the way coach Carter said Goodpasture likes to play.
“We’ve had a good year offensively and we’ve been at our best when we’ve kind of just take the right approach at the plate and not rely on one or two guys.”
– Sam Brown
Gordonsville 7, Meigs Co. 6
Gordonsville scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning to stay alive in the Class A state baseball tournament Wednesday, topping Meigs County.
Bobby Parliament had two hits and belted a home run for Gordonsville while Mitchell Kirby had three hits, a run scored and an RBI.
The win puts Gordonsville in a 5 p.m. losers bracket game at Middle Tennessee Christian School.
Chester Co. 9, Upperman 2
Upperman was eliminated in the AA tourney as Chester County broke a 1-1 tie with a five-run fifth inning.
Stewarts Creek 9, Ravenwood 3
MURFREESBORO – Micah McClelland drove in four runs and Brandon Dial added three hits and
three RBIs, as Stewarts Creek scored four times in the first and never looked back in a 9-3 victory over Ravenwood here Tuesday afternoon at Mack Hawks Field.
The RedHawks (23-15) advance to face the winner of Farragut-Arlington at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday while the Raptors (22-16) take on the loser of that contest at 10 a.m.
McClellan’s two-out, bases-clearing double in the first inning came after a two-out error plated a run for Stewarts Creek to open the scoring. Austin Steel and Dial each drove in runs with singles in the fourth and the RedHawks plated two more in the sixth on Dial’s RBI double and McClellan’s run-scoring single.
“Ravenwood is a team that really thrives on momentum and us getting four runs [in the first inning] slowed down their momentum,” Stewarts Creek head coach Mike Bartlett said.
Maddox Vondohlen tossed six innings to get the win for the RedHawks, giving up three runs on nine hits. Ravenwood starter Drew Haynie suffered the loss, allowing six runs, two earned, on five hits in 3.2 innings.
“Maddox pitches in the zone and expects us to play defense behind him and we played good defense today,” Bartlett added. “We know that he is going to give up some hits but we backed him up today.”
Jack Sisk posted three hits for Ravenwood and Alex Lubas and Zach Sharber collected two hits apiece in the loss. Jack Kopecky’s RBI double got the Raptors on the board in the fifth and Lubas plated a run with a single as well. Zane Denton’s sacrifice fly in the sixth scored the final run for Ravenwood.
“We could have rallied around the error and got out of there with one run, but the double down the line that cleared the bases was the biggie,” Ravenwood head coach Teddy Craig said. “We didn’t do a very good job of setting the tone. We were still one pitch away from getting out of the inning but unfortunately it didn’t happen. We dug a hole for ourselves and played uphill the rest of the game.”
– JoJo Freeman
Davidson Academy 9, Harding Acad. 0
LA VERGNE – Davidson Academy used a seven-run inning and 10 strikeouts from ace Brock Myers to cruise to a 9-0 win over Harding Academy Tuesday at LaV ergne High School in the Division II-A baseball tournament.
With the win, Davidson Academy will move on to face Franklin Road Academy tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. at La Vergne.
“There’s sometimes during the year when you have to get the big hit and sometimes you do and sometimes you don’t,” Davidson Academy coach Dennis Winn said. “You’ve got to take advantage of some situations and push some runs across.”
The Bears were held scoreless in the first inning, but took advantage of several situations in the second when they busted the game wide-open behind a seven-run outburst punctuated by an Alec Harris triple.
Ben Switzer, Ethan Tressler, Hayden Hollingsworth and Harris all finished with two RBIs for the Bears.
“Once we got the seven runs it kind of relieved some pressure and we just played how we always play,” Myers said. “We try to pound the strike zone every single game.”
After being given a seven-run cushion, Myers threw almost exclusively strikes on his way to a 10-strikeout, one-walk performance, starting 18 of his 27 batters with first-pitch strikes.
Jake Criswell, Ty Wooton, Chris Swanberg and Bam Cochran were the only four Harding players to reach base against Myers.
– Sam Brown
Spring Hill 5, Milan 1
SMYRNA — The Spring Hill High School baseball team received a big boost from a rather unlikely offensive source in Tuesday’s Class AA state-tournament opener at Smyrna.
After falling behind by one run in the bottom of the third, Spring Hill’s No. 9 hitter — junior Andy Hale — stepped to the plate with two outs and proceeded to belt a three-run home run to left field — his first of the season — to help lead the District 6-AA and Region 6-AA champion Raiders to a 5-1 win over Milan at Smyrna High School.
“That was my first (home run) of the year, and I thought I popped out honestly,” Hale said. “As soon as it went over I was hype. I thought about giving it the old Kurt Gibson.
“I thought I was just going to come in and have a solid, and everything else is just a cherry on top.”
Hale also laid down a sacrifice bunt to score teammate Matt Wilson later in the sixth and finished the game with four RBIs.
Junior right-handed pitcher Gage Gillian, who claimed Class AA Mr. Baseball honors earlier in the day, picked up the win Spring Hill (30-8), giving up just one run off three hits while striking out 11 in five innings.
“We didn’t beat ourselves tonight; they beat us,” Milan coach Todd Holden said. “Hats off to him. He did his job and hit the baseball. We’ve just got to get ready to play tomorrow.”
“Their nine-hole hitter got a pitch, connected on it and it turned into a home run,” Milan coach Todd Holden said. “Hats off to him, he did his job and hit the baseball. They just beat us.
The Raiders will square off with Central Magnet on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m., while Milan (27-12-1), which managed just three hits on Tuesday, will square off with Greeneville in a 10 a.m. losers-bracket matchup.
– Michael Murphy
Jackson Christian 6, Forrest 3
MURFREESBORO – Forrest’s baseball team got off to a good start with a two-run lead after the first inning, but Jackson Christian’s team settled down quickly thereafter and played its way to a 6-3 victory over the Rockets in the first round of the Class A state tournament Tuesday.
Pitcher Carter Holt was among the best-looking players for the Eagles, who won the Class A state championship in 2014. He pitched the complete game and gave up two earned runs on six hits and three walks while striking out 11.
Hunter Higdon, Wesley Wester, Tucker Burton, Collin Cantrell and Hunter Allen each had an RBI in the win.
It was Cantrell’s that got the scoring started for the Eagles in the top of the second. With two outs and a runner on second, he sent a pitch to left field that didn’t touch the ground until after it had hit the wall.
Other standout hitters for the Eagles included Ethan Anderson’s 3-for-4 night at the plate and Burton going 2-for-4.
Forrest head coach Bart Joyce said he thought his team’s lack of production after that first inning was partially because of both teams.
“Jackson Christian is a good team, and we can’t take anything away from them,” Joyce said. “They played a good ballgame.
“But I think after they got up 3-2, our guys lost composure and had a hard time coming back with it.”
Al Brewer and Slayton Wild each had an RBI for the Rockets, who will play Goodpasture in an elimination game at 10 a.m. at Riverdale High School Wednesday.
Jackson Christian will play Knoxville Grace immediately after, scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
– Brandon Shields
Scotts Hill 11, Gordonsville 2
MURFREESBORO – Hunter Beecham came into his first state tournament game Tuesday a little nervous.
Evan Russell gave up the game’s first two runs.
But those two players were the most outstanding performers in the Scotts Hill baseball team’s 11-2 rout of Gordonsville on the first day of the Class A state baseball tournament.
Scotts Hill will play Loretto in a 12:30 p.m. non-elimination, winners’ bracket game Thursday. Gordonsville and Meigs County will meet Wednesday with the loser eliminated from the tournament.
The junior Russell struck out 11 Gordonsville batters in a complete game win.
Gordonsville (15-20) got two runs from a one-out double by Lake Underwood in the first inning but didn’t score again.
“We knew Russell was going to be tough coming in to score a lot of runs on, and we just didn’t execute offensively like we’re used to,” Gordonsville coach Mac Petty said.
Beecham, a sophomore second baseman, led a productive Scotts Hill offense with five runs batted in.
“My nerves kind of got into me, but I cleared that, went up to the plate with a good approach and had a good day,” he said.
His first-inning single scored Cainan Maners for the Lions’ first run.
Beecham finished 4-for-4, doubling home Austin Branham and Charlie Lowry in the second inning, singling to score Drake Thompson in the third and singling to score Lowry and Maners again in the fifth.
Cody Carter and Russell drove in two runs each for Scotts Hill (23-11) and Maners drove in one.
Christian Brothers 4, JPII 0
LEBANON Weston Bizzle rebounded from his only loss this season in a big way and on a big stage.
The Christian Brothers High School junior tossed a one-hitter on Tuesday evening, winning a battle of Vanderbilt University commitments as the Purple Wave opened the Division II-Class AA State Tournament with a 4-0 victory over Pope John Paul II High in a game played at Wilson Central High School.
Bizzle battled future Commodore teammate Mason Hickman, also a junior right-hander.
“We know each other fairly well,” Bizzle said. “We see each other around ballparks. He’s a great ballplayer and tough to beat.”
The game remained scoreless into the fifth, but Christian Brothers senior leadoff hitter J.L. Bland came through with a two-out single up the middle to score the game’s first run.
Then, Bizzle’s bases-loaded single drove in the next two runs in the four-run frame.
Hickman (5-3) went the distance as well, allowing five hits and three base on balls while striking out eight hitters.
“We needed Bizzle to be like that,” Purple Wave head coach Buster Kelso – who earned his 1,000th coaching victory earlier this season – said. “I love the Hickman kid. In all my years, I’ve never been in (a game) with two pitchers quite like that. It was a crying shame we didn’t have 2,000 people here watching. It was a great high-school environment.”
PJP II (19-16) faces Brentwood Academy in an elimination game at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, while the Purple Wave (33-10) face McCallie at 12:30 p.m. for a spot in the state championship game.
– Craig Harris
Central Magnet 3, Greeneville 2
SMYRNA – Central Magnet reliever Darek Sargent shut the door on any chances that Greeneville had in the 10th inning by striking out both batters he faced during the Tigers’ 3-2 victory over Greeneville in the AA state baseball tourney Tuesday.
He came in in the 10th with one out and Greeneville left fielder Austin Collins on first base. Collins had walked to start the inning.
Central Magnet starter James Touchton, who had struck out eight batters through nine and a third innings, and allowed only five hits and one walk, struggled to find the strike zone against Collins. Sargent entered the game.
“It was pretty difficult, especially following a pitcher like James,” said Sargent. “He was out there pitching his heart out. I was just trying to get him the W.”
Sargent went behind in the count 3-0 to the first batter he faced, Greeneville leadoff batter Dawson Martin. Then he struck Martin out and struck out designated hitter Augustus Fraley to end the game.
With two outs in the top of the 10th inning, Sargent singled and moved to second when Greeneville pitcher James Duer tried to pick him off but threw errantly past first baseman Cody Hartness.
Central Magnet designated hitter Wes Duffield singled to left field to drive home Sargent. It was Duffield’s 19th two-out RBI of the season.
“He’s been that way all year,” said Central Magnet coach Jason Patterson. “He’s been really good with two outs and runners in scoring position. He did what he’s done all year, he just did it on a bigger stage.”
– Kenneth Schott
Summit 7, Siegel 2
MURFREESBORO — The Summit High School baseball team got off to a strong start in its first Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association state tournament appearance, securing a 7-2 win over host Siegel in Tuesday’s opening-round action.
Summit starting pitcher Reed Johnson scattered five hits while striking out eight in 6 1/3 innings, while the District 11-AAA and Region 6-AAA champion Spartans erupted for seven runs in their final three plate appearances to secure the lopsided victory.
“I was a little nervous for the first couple of pitches but then I started playing within myself, keeping the ball down and throwing strikes,” Johnson said. ”I feel like everybody was a little bit nervous, and we got that nervousness out of the way and feel we can play with anybody.”
Johnson, who also belted a leadoff double to start the fifth, had kept a shutout intact through six innings before Siegel finally got on the board with senior catcher Alex Carignan’s two-run homer in the seventh.
“It was just too late,” Siegel coach Craig Reavis said. “We didn’t play well enough. We didn’t pitch it well enough, we walked too many guys and didn’t field bunts. We put ourselves in bad situations and they finally took advantage of it.”
Ryan McGill (2), Levi Hood, Wil Dalton, Wade Lopicolo and Davis Jackson each tallied RBIs for Summit (33-5), who will take on the winner of Collierville and Sevier County in Wednesday’s 12:30 p.m. second-round game at Siegel.
Zac Pearson, who surrendered two runs off five hits in 4 1/3 innings, was charged with the loss for Siegel (29-9), which will take on the Collierville-Sevier County loser at 10 a.m.
– Michael Murphy
FRA 3, Evangelical Christian 2
LA VERGNE – Franklin Road Academy’s baseball team proved Tuesday that the old adage “it’s better late than never” is still relevant.
The Panthers were held scoreless for the first five innings of Tuesday’s Division II-A opening round matchup with Evangelical Christian School, but FRA got runs when it needed them most, using a seventh inning rally to come from behind and escape with a 3-2 win.
“We’ve been down a lot this year,” FRA senior Kenny Cooper said. “This team right here fights until the end of the seventh.”
ECS got on the board in the second inning with a Riley Watkins double, then padded its lead with a Mason Hutto single in the sixth.
The Panthers didn’t respond until the sixth inning when a controversial ground ball down the first baseline that ECS believed was foul allowed FRA to score.
After FRA held ECS scoreless in the top of the seventh, Brennt Girton got on base with a double to begin the bottom of the inning.
Kenny Cooper was up next and came up with a clutch single facing an 0-2 count to bring Girton around to score and tie the game at 2-2.
After a failed pick-off move allowed Cooper to advance to second, Ponder Thurman dropped down a bunt to move Cooper to third base.
Upon seeing that he would be unable to get Cooper at third, the ECS catcher gunned a throw over the first basemen’s head that allowed Cooper to score the winning run.
“When you let a team hang around,” ECS coach Duke Williams said. “They’re going to come back and get you.”
– Sam Brown
McCallie 1, Brentwood Acad. 0
LEBANON – McCallie junior Parker Steventon has thrown 16 shutout innings against Brentwood Academy.
The most important of those came in Tuesday afternoon’s Division II-Class AA State Tournament opener, a 1-0 victory at Wilson Central High School.
Steventon (6-1) – a Lipscomb University commitment – scattered six hits, issuing two base on balls while striking out four hitters.
“This is the best,” Steventon – who pitched nine shutout innings against visiting Brentwood Academy in an extra-inning loss on April 29 – said. “This is what we did when I was a freshman. After you get that first win, you get that mental confidence that you are going all the way.”
It’s the third consecutive season that the Blue Tornado have won their state opener, winning the state title in 2014.
Eagle freshman starting pitcher Jack Victory pitched five-plus innings before being relieved in the sixth inning. Victory (2-2) allowed four hits but issued six base on balls, striking out two hitters in the process.
“He’s solid,” Brentwood Academy head coach Buddy Alexander – whose program is in the state tournament for the first time since 2011 – said. “I coached his brother (2015 graduate and current Carson-Newman player Ryan Victory) for four years. He started when he was a freshman too. He’s kind of an extension (of his brother).”
Senior Ethan Cady – a Lipscomb signee – came through with a fifth-inning double to drive in senior pinch runner Jyles Romer with the game’s only run.
Brentwood Academy plays an elimination game at 10 a.m. against the loser of the Christian Brothers/Pope John Paul II contest, while McCallie plays the winner at 12:30 p.m.
“Of our top two guys, one of them (junior pitcher Bryce Jarvis, a Duke commit) is hurt,” Alexander said. “I didn’t fear the losers bracket if we had him. Being short (a pitcher) makes quite a difference.”
Loretto 11, Meigs Co. 1
Loretto erupted for six runs in the bottom of the third inning and coasted to an 11-1 win in the Class A State Baseball Tournament Tuesday.
Jacob Laws scattered three hits and struck out nine in five innings in the six-inning victory while helping himself with a two-run homer. Ryan Weathers belted a homer and double, driving home two runs, to lead the Loretto offense.
Loretto had 12 hits in the win, which advances it to Wednesday’s 12:30 winners bracket contest against the winner of Scotts Hill-Gordonsville.