Sevier teams go unbeaten in Invitational
Though the weather wasn’t perfect for this past weekend’s annual Smoky Mountain Invitational baseball tournament, the three local baseball teams that participated in the field were.
The Sevier County Smoky Bears, Seymour Eagles and Pigeon Forge Tigers teams combined to go 12-0 in a dozen games against squads from Greeneville, Karns, Grace Christian, Morristown East, Pikeville (Ky.), Greenbrier and John S. Battle (Va.).
Despite cold temperates the bats our the local teams were hot all weekend during Thursday, Friday and Saturday games.
The Bears (11-2) were 5-0 in the Invitational and only had only had one close game.
Thursday’s 6-5 win over Pikeville, a small 7-12 school in eastern Kentucky, was the team’s only matchup that was closer than five runs.
“We faced a good left-handed pitcher — a decent team with a good arm,” SCHS coach Casey Taylor said. “He held us in check until late in the game. We could never put them away.”
A four-run sixth inning staked the Bears to a 6-3 lead, however.
“We barely hung on for the win,” Taylor said.
The Panthers scored two runs in the top of the seventh against SCHS reliever Logan Brett before he closed the door to earn his first win of the season.
“It was a tight one there throughout,” Taylor said. “I thought we learned a lot about our team. We sat some guys that had been struggling, and let some other guys have a chance.”
Dylan Ford, Dillon Cate and Bryce McFalls all had multi-hit games for the Bears. Ford had a triple and two RBIs in the victory.
On Friday Sevier County added two more wins, topping Greenbrier (a AA team located 30 minutes north of Nashville), 6-0, and Greeneville, 12-5.
Freshman Zach Linginfelter pitched the team to the victory over Greenbrier, while the offense scored six runs on seven hits.
Dalton Ford had a triple and two RBIs, while Dallas Gossett, Devante Matthews and Dylan Ford also drove in runs.
The Bears followed that with a 12-run output against Greeneville.
In that contest, sophomore Jake Hall launched a three-run homer and collected four RBIs, while senior Nick Clabo (2-for-2) reached base in all four of his plate appearances.
Jeff Henry earned the win on the mound, allowing three runs over five innings. He struck out five and allowed six hits.
“Greeneville’s got a good team,” Taylor said. “They’ll advance in their district play. We didn’t see their top two arms, but our offense did pick it up, and came out well and swung it good. That was a good ball game for us. We got to clicking there offensively.”
The Bears finished up on Saturday with a pair of wins over Karns, 8-3, and Grace Christian, 12-4.
Kody Paul pitched 51⁄3 innings, allowing three earned runs, to secure the win on the mound against the Bearvers, while the SCHS offense — led by Nick Clabo (two hits, two RBIs) and Nick Osborne (three hits, 2B, two RBIs) pounded out 10 hits and eight runs.
Finally, against Grace, the Bears got another good effort on the mound and at the plate.
Alan Silva pitched five innings and allowed just one earned run on two hits, while the Bears banged out 12 runs on 13 hits.
Osborne and Hall each had two hits. Dylan Ford, Henry, Paul, Gossett, Hall, Matthews, Austin Conner, and Dalton Ford each recorded RBIs in the game.
The Seymour Eagles (7-3 overall) won all four of their games in the tournament, earning a pair of double-digit wins along the way.
The Eagles started Invitational play Thursday night in a non-district matchup against normal IMAC foe Morristown East.
In a preview of what may come in district action, the Blue and Gold pummeled the Hurricanes 14-2, envoking the five-inning mercy rule.
Gunner Gibson won the game on the mound for the Eagles, pitching a complete game.
In Friday’s 7-3 win over Pikeville, the Eagles got a complete game from pitcher Hunter Longmire, who scattered six hits while recording eight Ks.
Keaton Summers and Corey Heard both homered in the 7-3 victory.
On Saturday the Eagles continued their winning ways with a 7-6 win over Grace Christian and a 12-1 throttling of Greenbrier.
The Eagles were up 6-1 early on Grace behind a good outing from starting pitcher Corey Heard, but the Rams came back against reliever Larry Kennedy.
“They stole home to tie it in the top of the seventh,” Seymour coach Scott Norman said.
But Seymour answered.
Heard, who’d walked earlier in the inning, scored the winning run on wild pitch to close out the game.
Seymour’s Invitational finale went a lot smoother, as freshman pitcher Patrick Cook pitched the Eagles to a 12-1 five-inning win over Grace.
The win was Cook’s first varsity experience for the Blue and Gold.
The Tigers (11-0) also went through the Invitational perfect, though foul weather limited them to one less game than the Eagles and two less than the Smoky Bears.
Pigeon Forge won 7-3 over Karns Thursday night in their opener, as ace Wil Crowe (3-0) earned another victory.
He right-handed South Carolina-signee fanned 13 Beavers hitters and gave up two runs and four hits in the complete game.
Crowe has now given up two earned runs and five hits in 152⁄3 innings this season. He’s also struck out 31 opposing hitters and walked just one in that span.
Koleman Roach and Jake Griffin each had two-hit performances in the win.
On Friday the Tigers continued their unbeaten streak with a narrow 6-5 win over John S. Battle High School (Va.).
“We played poorly Friday, and that showed,” PF coach Mike Guinn said.
The teams were tied 5-5 heading into the Tigers last at-bats in the seventh inning.
Ben Breazeale, who finished the game 3-for-3 and had earlier hit his second homer of the season, singled to start things off.
Just minutes later he was singled in by Crowe, keeping the team’s unbeaten streak alive.
Finally, on Saturday, the team finished things up with a 9-3 win over Morristown East.
Drake Byrd, who earned the victory on the mound with five innings of three-run ball, was 3-for-4 with two doubles to lead the Tigers’ bats as well.
Breazeale and Crowe were both 2-for-4 with two RBIs each.
“We played well Saturday,” Guinn said. “We made a couple of corrections from Friday and our focus was better.”