Losses don't keep Sevier County down for long
There have been a couple times this spring that the Sevier County baseball team could’ve let its season get out of hand.
Monday was one of those moments. The Smoky Bears were jumping back into district play at home against rival Seymour following a 1-3 weekend in upper East Tennessee.
“I even asked our coaches on the way back from Kingsport, ‘Hey, is this too much of a grind?’ ” said Sevier County coach Casey Taylor. “It seems like every opponent we play presents some type of interesting matchup.”
That humbling weekend quickly faded after the Bears got back to work, dispatching the Eagles 6-1 on Cliff Davis Field to lock up the top seed in next month’s District 2-AAA tournament.
“I guess the losing and realizing that we need to step our game up a little, we came back and were fired up to play this game at home,” said winning pitcher Nick Osborne. “I guess we were just more intense.”
Osborne gave up two hits and no runs for the victory. Seymour (11-14-1, 6-4 District 2-AAA) didn’t score until the final inning when Larry Kennedy led off with a double. Bryce Catlett added a double in the third. The Bears (18-10, 11-2) got all the runs they needed in the second when Devante Matthews ripped a two-run triple to left-center after he lofted a ball out of the park, but foul, a few pitches earlier.
“(Seymour pitcher Gunner Gibson) just got behind,” Matthews, who later added an RBI double, said. “He made a mistake and you’ve got to make him pay for his mistakes.”
That was the beginning of several big hits the Bears came up with in key situations. Osborne added an RBI single in the third before the lead grew to 6-0 in the second when Sevier County brought home three runs on four hits, including a double from Matthews. That inning began with an infield single from Nathan Clabo in his second varsity start.
“They just won all the big situations when there was runners in scoring position,” said Eagles coach Scott Norman.
“Like I told my team, I said, ‘When you do that, you usually win the ball game, especially when two good, quality baseball teams (play).’ ”
Matthews said the Bears understood a win Monday was pivotal with a return trip to Seymour — always a difficult place to play —looming a day later.
Taylor recognized a similar situation a couple weeks ago after Sevier County dropped back-to-back games to Dobyns-Bennett and Pigeon Forge before rebounding against Hardin Valley.
The Bears bounced back again Monday, not letting a difficult weekend distract them.
“They know they can’t just sit around and whine and pout for a week,” Taylor said. “We don’t take it easy on them the next day. The opponents don’t take it easy on them the next day. Their teammates don’t take it easy on them.
“The teaching tool behind (the tough schedule) is whatever happens, happens.
“If something goes bad, let’s not make it worse. Let’s try to nip it when it’s bad and try to respond to that.”