Bears earn win over Eagles
The Sevier County Smoky Bears tied a school-record for wins Saturday with a 5-0 win over arch-rival Seymour.
The Bears (30-6 overall) equaled the win total of the 2010 SCHS club that made the regional round of the postseason with their third win over the Eagles this season.
Senior hurler Dillon Cate had another masterful performance on the mound, giving up just four hits and two walks over his seven-inning shutout.
The two walks came in the very first inning, and once Cate settled down, he was cruising. He needed just 85 pitches to complete the shutout.
“We knew it was going to be a good matchup,” Sevier coach Casey Taylor said. “Any time you’ve got Cate and (Hunter Neff) going against each other, it’s going to be an intriguing matchup.
“We knew it was going to be a low-scoring game, and we were trying to find ways to score.”
And do that, the SCHS squad did. The team scored runs by making things happen on the basepaths and setting the table for their primary run-producers — including Nick Osborne, who had a team-high three RBI.
“He’s swinging it well,” Taylor said. “We’re relying on him there in the middle of our lineup.
“And may even a little bit more thna him coming through in those at-bats is having guys on base when he comes up. Those guys are setting the table, and we’re putting trust in him to swing. We’re giving him a little freedom, and as of late he’s been swinging it well.”
Cate got the team on the board in the bottom of the third with a hot grounder to first that took a funny hop on Seymour first baseman Gunner Gibson.
As the ball scooted into the outfield, Dalton Ford — who’d led off the frame with a single — came in to score the game’s first run.
Osborne made it 2-0 in the fourth with an RBI single to left center field, which drove in senior Nick Clabo, who’d walked and moved to second on a wild pitch.
Cate and Osborne added to the Bears’ run total again in the fifth.
After Ford reached on an E3 and stole second, Cate drove him in with a single. Moments later, following a free pass to Clabo, Osborne drilled a two-run double to the wall, making the score 5-0.
Seymour didn’t threaten over the final two innings as Cate completed the game on the mound for the Bears.
The Bears will now face the winner of Monday’s elimination game between Jefferson County and Seymour on Tuesday for a spot at the finals on Wednesday.
Should the Bears lose to either Jeff or the Eagles, a rematch would have to be played immediately following, since SCHS has yet to lose in the double-elimination tournament.