Sevier County holds off Morristown East
Sevier County cruised to an 11-6 victory over Morristown-East in a District 2-AAA tournament opener at Cliff Davis Field on Friday night.
The Bears (24-12) jumped out to a 4-0 lead by the end of the second inning, but Morristown (10-22) closed to within 4-3 and 5-4 before Sevier County eventually broke it back open with a four-run fourth to take a 9-4 edge into the fifth.
“We were able to score early, and we figured that (East) would come back, but we didn’t want it to be that close,” said SCHS coach Casey Taylor. “But it was good for us to survive their challenge and survive and advance, and we feel pretty good about it.
“It was a good start (to the 2-AAA tourney) for us.”
The Bears went with Kody Paul as their starting pitcher, saving ace Nick Osborne for Saturday. The Hurricanes, however, put their ace Ryan Lloyd on the mound against the Bears.
It all went according to plan for Sevier County.
“We figured East would come out and throw Lloyd, because he’s been their go-to guy this year,” said Taylor. “We thought it’d be a good match-up for us to throw Kody, so we could hold onto Osborne for (Saturday) to hopefully put us in a position where somebody has got to beat us twice on Tuesday.”
Both starting pitchers went a complete five innings, but Paul got the better of the deal. Paul allowed four hits and three walks with a strikeout in the win. While Lloyd gave up 13 hits, walked one and hit one batter, and struck out two in the loss.
Sevier County’s Alan Silva led off the bottom of the first with a triple and was plated on a Dallas Gossett sacrifice fly to center two batters later to give the Bears an early 1-0 lead.
The Bears broke it open for a 4-0 lead with three runs in the bottom of the second, coming on Silva’s RBI base knock to center and Paul’s two-RBI single to left center.
East rallied for three runs in the top of the third, however.
With one out and runners at first and second, Morristown’s Braden Jones came through with a big two-RBI triple to the left center wall to cut it to 4-2. Jones then scored when Will Thompson grounded out to first to cut it to a one-run game, 4-3.
The Bears answered with a run in the bottom of the third.
Devante Matthews, who was on second with a one-out double to right center, scored when Charlie Brown came through with a two-out single to left to make it 5-3 Sevier County.
But the Hurricanes responded in the top of the fourth to again make it a one-run affair, 5-4, when Travis Charmichael drove in Jeremiah Ray from third on a SAC fly to right.
But that’s as good as it would get for East the rest of the night, as Sevier County gained some breathing room for good with a four-run bottom of the fourth.
Silva led off with a walk, Dalton Ford put runners at second and third with a double to left, and Gossett juiced the bases when he reached on a fielder’s choice that failed to earn an out.
The Bears capitalized for a 9-4 lead over the course of the next three batters.
Osborne started things with an RBI sacrifice fly to left, two runs scored off the slight chaos of a Matthews line drive that momentarily injured the East pitcher, and the fourth run scored when Austin Conner reached on an East error.