MT. JULIET The Gallatin High baseball team was limited offensively by Mt. Juliet sophomore Ethan Smith on Tuesday evening, suffering a 3-0 loss to the host Golden Bears in the District 9-AAA Tournament championship game.
Smith (4-4) – a Vanderbilt University commitment – allowed three hits, issued two base on balls and struck out 11 hitters.
“Whenever you throw strikes and don’t give free bases, you have a great chance to win the game,” Green Wave head coach Mark Wilson said. “(Smith) was in command. He was throwing his off-speed pitches for strikes.”
Gallatin junior Austin McWhirter (3-5) held Mt. Juliet (27-10) scoreless until senior Tyler Brown singled with two outs in the fifth inning, driving in two runs. Then, junior Alex DeRiggi doubled with one out in the sixth and scored on a wild pitch.
McWhirter – who pitched 4 and 1/3 innings in Saturday afternoon’s 1-0 win over Hendersonville – also went the distance on Tuesday, scattering five hits. The right-hander walked two hitters and struck out two.
“He had a great game against Hendersonville, and he came back on three days’ rest and probably threw better tonight than he did against Hendersonville,” Wilson said.
All three hits for the Wave (19-10) were singles – by senior Carlos Hernandez and juniors Andy Denning and Bailey Russell.
“You can’t expect to beat Mt. Juliet without putting hits together, but they have the arms to stop good hitting,” Wilson said. “They’re a great baseball team. Coach (Mark Purvis) does a great job with them. It’s why they’re the district champs.”
The game lasted just 83 minutes.
Both teams move on to next week’s Region 5-AAA Tournament, with the Golden Bears – who won the program’s ninth 9-AAA Tournament title in the last 11 years – hosting the District 10-AAA runner-up and Gallatin traveling to face the 10-AAA champion on its home field.
Reach Craig Harris at email@example.com or at 615-575-7138. Follow him on Twitter @HarrisGNESports.
Gallatin 000 000 0 – 0 3 0
Mt. Juliet 000 021 x – 3 5 0
Austin McWhirter and Bailey Russell; Ethan Smith and Brayden Osborne. WP – Smith (4-4). LP – McWhirter (3-5). Records: Gallatin 19-10, Mt. Juliet 27-10.