(Photos by Lee Talbert/Johnson City Press)
Logan Gentry shut down Science Hill for the second time this season as Dobyns-Bennett clinched the Big Seven Conference title with a 2-1 victory at Cardinal Park on Wednesday.
Gentry (6-0) struck out eight while allowing three hits and two walks, and drew a bases-loaded walk to plate the winning run with two outs in the top of the sixth inning.
The Indians (10-0, 20-2-1) began the decisive sixth with two up and two down before Sammy Salyers started the rally with a line-drive single to center.
That was followed by three straight walks from reliever Reece Westmoreland, the last of which plated courtesy runner Quentin Polinski with the winning run.
From there, Matthew Beaird’s two-out single in the seventh was the only baserunner Gentry allowed.
Gentry struck out seven en route to a complete-game victory when D-B beat Science Hill 3-1 on March 24 at J. Fred Johnson Stadium.
“He pitched another masterful game,” Science Hill coach Ryan Edwards said. “And honestly, I mean, the way he pitches, it also effects our pitching, because he’s not giving up runs, so we’re forced to try to do some things that maybe we were uncomfortable doing at times.”
Indeed, Payton Marshall’s walk to load the bases in the sixth came on a 3-2 offspeed pitch.
D-B also used a two-out, none-on rally for its first run. Sammy Stewart drew a two-out walk in a seven-pitch at-bat in the fourth, and scored on a hit-and-run wen Salyers lined a double to left-center field.
“That was a big hit for us,” D-B coach Ryan Wagner said. “He finally swung at a good pitch and hit it hard. I don’t know if we had a hit with runners in scoring position all night long. The kid was on first base on that hit. … And we were patient enough when they brought in the relief pitcher to draw a walk there and get another run against them.”
Science Hill starting pitcher Daniel Sweeney allowed five hits, walked two and struck out two in five innings.
“Sweeney threw a great game for them,” Wagner said. “He mixed his pitches up well, and I don’t know that he walked hardly anybody, either. We had runners on, I think, probably about every inning and didn’t come up with a hit. Hat’s off to him for kind of holding us down right there. … He’s a good pitcher.”
Science Hill (5-3, 18-6) tied the score, 1-1, in the bottom of the fourth. Kyle Ouellette led off with a four-pitch walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch and alerty stole third before coming home on Addison Adams’ ground-out.
Ouellette, having an excellent season, had lined a single to left field in his first at-bat, and Wagner wanted to pitch him carefully the rest of the way.
Edwards was glad to see Westmoreland (4-1) go out and pitch aggressively during a 1-2-3 seventh.
“Even though the glaring thing is that we issued a walk or two too many, the pitchers hung in there,” Edwards said. “Reece went back out there after that inning and he gave us a shutdown inning when we needed it. … I was proud of Reece responding and going out there and getting the guys out the next inning.”
Science Hill’s J.T. Torbett had a double and a line-out, and made diving catch after a long run in center field.
Salyers was 2-for-3 with a walk.
Science Hill hosts Elizabethton today at 5 p.m.