Crockett's Heath Ricker gets back to first before Andrew Street's tag. (Photos by Lee Talbert/Johnson City Press)
Pitcher Daniel Cox wasn’t razor sharp, but didn’t have to be with the cuts he and Daniel Boone teammates were taking Thursday at Miller Field.
The Trailblazers piled up 16 hits while defeating David Crockett, 15-4, in six innings.
Boone improved to 5-2 in the Big Seven Conference and 10-6 overall.
Zach Peters went 3-for-4 with two doubles and four RBIs and Dustin Chandler was 3-for-4 with three RBIs for Boone, which took an 8-1 lead with a six-run fourth.
Shortstop Parker Breuel was 3-for-4 with two doubles and three runs, Josh Bacon had two hits, a walk and two RBIs and Cox helped his cause by going 2-for-3 with a triple, a walk, a sacrifice, two RBIs and three runs.
“Dustin, Josh and Peters — all those guys are smoking the baseball right now,” Cox said. “We came up with some great clutch hits tonight … and it helped us have some big innings.”
Cox (4-1), a senior southpaw that’s signed with East Tennessee State, had his moments on the mound, too. He struck out 13 in six innings, including the rare feat of four in the second inning. He allowed five hits, three walks and hit a batter while giving up three earned runs.
But he began slowly. Heath Ricker and Ryan Burger opened the bottom of the first with consecutive singles for Crockett, and John Long followed with a walk to load to the bases with none out.
However, two strikeouts and an RBI ground-out helped Cox limit the damage to a run.
“That’s a big point in the ballgame,” Crockett coach Scott Hagy said. “You’ve gotta find ways to put it in play, get a two-out hit and create something against a pitcher like that. You just don’t get too many opportunities like that. …
“He’s a quality pitcher, there’s no doubt it about it. The one thing I admire about him is when he steps out on the mound, he knows he’s got a job to do and he goes out and tries to get it done.”
Cox struggled with his changeup, but a curveball and fastball were all he needed.
“I think he’ll be the first to tell you he wasn’t as sharp with his location as he normally is,” Boone coach Rob Hoover said. “But to his credit – and a lesson for our pitching staff – sometimes you’re not gonna have your best stuff, but you’ve gotta find a way to get out of some jams. They had runners on base, especially early in the game. The first inning was huge … just giving up one run.”
Ricker and Burger were each 2-for-4. Burger hit a two-run home run to right field in the fifth. Burger made a difficult back-handed pick-up look easy at third base, then looked a runner back at second before making a strong throw to retire Andrew Street in the second inning.
Long, who is batting around .410 and plans to play at Tusculum, was 0-for-1 with two walks. He saw two strikes out of 12 pitches.
“People are going to pitch John carefully,” Hagy said.
Right-hander Jeremy Collins (3-2) took the loss for Crockett (3-4, 6-10-1), plays Anderson County and CAK today in Knoxville. The Trailblazers will visit Unicoi County.
There was a moment of silence before the game for long-time umpire/coach Darrell “Pappy” Crowe, who died Tuesday.
“He did a lot for a lot of kids around here,” Hagy said, “including a bunch of our kids. … Pappy was good for baseball and the kids in this area.”