Seymour beats Cherokee in opener
Seymour survived a shaky fourth inning in an otherwise dominant 8-2 first-round District 2-AAA tournament win over the Cherokee Chiefs at Cliff Davis Field on Friday night.
“I felt like it was going to be a pick-em game,” said Seymour coach Scott Norman. “But we came out swinging the sticks early ... We hit the ball well, played good defense and had good pitching.”
Seymour’s Gunner Gibson went the distance for the Eagles (14-17-1) with a solid seven innings of work, allowing five hits and three walks while striking out six.
The only real trouble for Gibson came in the top of the fourth.
With the Eagles leading 4-0 and Cherokee (15-15) showing no signs of life to that point, Chiefs’ lead-off hitter Tanner Trent finally got something going with Cherokee’s first hit of the night, a single to left.
Hunter Price immediately followed with a walk, and Daniel Owen loaded the bases with no outs on an infield single.
Ryan Gibson then drew an RBI walk to cut the Seymour lead to 4-1, and two batters later Austin Crowder drew another RBI walk to cut it to 4-2 with just one out and the bases still loaded.
But Gunner Gibson settled down and got out of the jam on a 5-2 fielder’s choice for an out at home before a 1-3 ground out to end the inning.
“Gunner Gibson went the distance and didn’t let up, even though he had that one inning,” said Norman. “But like I was telling him, anytime you pitch you’re going to have that one inning.
“It’s just how you battle through it. Do you crumble, or do you dial it up a notch? And that’s what he did. He just didn’t give in and made the big pitches.”
Seymour drew first blood in the contest with a big four-run two-out rally in the bottom of the second frame against Cherokee’s starting pitcher Ryan Gibson, who was voted the district pitcher of the year and entered the contest against the Eagles with a 0.4 ERA.
“We knew he was good,” said Norman.
But that didn’t stop the Eagles from racking up 14 hits, two walks and a hit-by-pitch against the Cherokee ace, who did manage to strike out five in six innings of work.
With two down and nobody on in the bottom of the second, Seymour’s Douglas Maples got things started when he got hit by a pitch to earn a trip to first.
Devin Davenport followed with a single to center to put runners at first and second, and Kevin Escalona cracked the scoreboard with an RBI single to center for a 1-0 lead and runners at first and second.
Gibson then loaded the bases with a fielder’s choice that left everyone safe, and catcher Cade Snapp followed with a three-RBI double to center that proved to be the game-winning hit.
“We’ve hit the ball hard with men in scoring position (all year), but it seemed like we just hadn’t quite got that break,” said Norman. “(But tonight) Cade Snapp got that big hit with the bases loaded.”