Pigeon Forge pulls away late to beat Fulton, 10-4
Fulton gave defending state champion Pigeon Forge a scare but the Tigers scored six runs over their last nine outs to put away the Falcons, 10-4, in the District 3-AA tournament opener for both teams.
Scott Lafollette had five hits while Chase Effler had three and scored twice to lead Pigeon Forge’s 14-hit attack. The game was still tied 4-4 midway through the fourth inning.
“We’ve got to come out and play the first inning like we played the last three innings,” said Pigeon Forge senior Koleman Roach. “We’ve got to somehow find a way to come with the heart and the drive that we come with in the later innings all seven innings.”
Roach had a hit and a pair of runs, including a double in the bottom of the fourth that gave Pigeon Forge runners on second and third. Jake Griffin and Thomas Simms bunted a pair of runs in before the Tigers added four in the sixth to put the game away. Underclassmen Anthony Baimonte and Turner Whaley both came off the bench to score runs in the sixth.
“I want to tip my cap to a couple young guys that got in there late in a 6-4 ball game,” said Tigers coach Mike Guinn. “They came in and got two big hits for us late that got things going really good for us.”
Josh Griffin went the distance on the mound, allowing just two hits and two earned runs while striking out 10. The victory moves Pigeon Forge into a showdown with second-seeded Carter on Saturday at home. Fulton waits for the winner of Gatlinburg-Pittman and Union County. The Falcons beat the Highlanders, 4-3, earlier on Thursday.
It looked like the Tigers would roll to the win against Fulton just like they did in 13-3 and 12-1 victories in March. Pigeon Forge scored two runs in each of the first two innings thanks to RBI hits from Simms, Lafollette and Effler.
But Fulton tied the game with a four-run fourth highlighted by a two-run double from Gage Seymour. Garrett Powell drove him home with a grounder to second that tied the game.
“They swung the bats well,” Guinn said. “I give them the credit there.They did a good job, hit the ball hard that inning. They hit a lot of hard shots.”
Pigeon Forge responded with Lafollette and Roach reached scoring position to lead off the bottom half of the inning. Fulton never reached base again.
“We’ve just got to gut it out and see what happens,” Effler said.
Fulton 4, Gatlinburg-Pittman 3
PIGEON FORGE — The Highlanders lost to the Falcons by a run for the third time this year.
This one was especially painful thanks to Garrett Powell’s walk-off sacrifice fly that scored Gage Seymour in the bottom of the seventh.
“I think that’s the most pressure a lot of them has been in before,” said G-P coach Josh Warner. “We just didn’t make the plays when we had to. We had chances. We had what we wanted.”
G-P led until the dying moments of the game, taking a 2-0 lead while loading the bases twice in the first inning. Austin Acor scored his second run on a double steal in the second to make it 3-0.
G-P managed just three base runners the rest of the game as Seymour sat down 13 Highlanders in a row at one point. Acor and pitcher Kevin Profetta each finished with two singles in the loss.
G-P still led entering the seventh when disaster struck. Adam Diggs reached on an error to start the inning. Hal Bishop followed up with a grounder to short that Austin Sides couldn’t make a play on.
That gave Fulton too many outs to work with. Diggs came home a squeeze play setting up a deep fly ball to right from Powell that scored the winner.
“The kids have worked harder than they ever have, but there’s still a lot left in their tank,” Warner said. “Tough loss. We’ll come back tomorrow and see what we’ve got.”
Seymour 3, Cocke County 1
SEYMOUR — Lauren Irwin and Reid Ballard both homered on senior night.
Ballard added a double and finished with two RBI. Miranda Duncan went the distance, allowing four hits and a run while striking out 13.
Seymour will now be one of the host sites for the District 2-AAA tournament beginning on Monday. The Eagles face Sevier County at 7:30 p.m.
Sevier County 4, Karns 1
SEVIERVILLE — It was a record-breaking night for the Smoky Bears.
Anthony Lemus had two goals to set the Sevier County single-season scoring mark with 35 while the 15th win of the season tied the school record in that department. Lenin Salinas and Chance Arnold had a goal each.