Tough 7th inning ends G-P’s season

May. 06, 2013 @ 02:15 PM

The Gatlinburg-Pittman Highlanders 2013 baseball season came to an end Saturday with a 17-9 loss to Union County in the District 3-AA Tournament at Jack A. Parton Field at Pigeon Forge High School.

Behind starting pitcher Austin Sides and some timely hitting from senior left-hander Corbin Lamb, the Highlanders were in the thick of the game until the last few innings, when things started going awry for the Blue and Gold.

Union plated 11 runs in the top of the seventh to go ahead 17-6.

“(Austin) got tired and before I could get anybody loose he gave up a few hits,” GPHS coach Henry LaFollette said. “It’s not his fault, he’s just not been trained to stall, and only a few of those runs ended up being his.”

G-P rallied for three runs in the bottom of the frame to make it 17-9, but the double-digit lead was too much to overcome.

The Highlanders finish the season 14-12 overall and will say goodbye to two graduating seniors, Noah Fortney and Corbin Lamb.

Fortney’s been a four-year player for LaFollette, regularly playing in the outfield for G-P.

“He was always a good defensive player in the outfield. He didn’t hit much, but gave us some really solid play defensively,” LaFollette said.

As for Lamb, who’s been a cornerstone of the team’s rotation and offense, LaFollette said he’ll be missed.

“That’s an arm you can’t replace,” he said.

Lamb, who’ll undergo Tommy John surgery this coming Thursday has been a great arm for the Highlanders and will still likely make a college squad. He’s got a visit with one school this Tuesday.

As for G-P’s future, LaFollette believes it’s promising.

“We’ve got a lot of positives to build on with eight returning starters,” he said. “That should bode well for next year.”