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McDavid strikes out 11 as D-B edges Boone in season opener

Jeff Birchfield • Updated Mar 11, 2019 at 9:43 PM

KINGSPORT — Jackson McDavid struck out 11 batters and emerged victorious in a pitchers’ duel as Dobyns-Bennett opened the baseball season with a 2-1 win over Daniel Boone on Monday night at J. Fred Johnson Stadium.

McDavid allowed two hits, a single to opposing starter Cade Elliott in the first inning and a solo home run to Colby Backus in the fourth. Still, he was on pins and needles at the end as Boone had the tying run at third base in the bottom of the seventh inning.

"I was nervous. I'm not going to lie," said McDavid, who gave up three walks. "They've got some good hitters. The one kid (Backus) got hold of one I left up. But I tried to pound the zone and see what happened. Boone's one of the best teams in our conference and that was a good win. It's always down to the wire when we play them. Being in the seventh inning, it wasn't a shocker."

The lack of runs and hits wasn't a shocker either.

Elliott, who is committed to Tennessee, threw the first 3 1/3 innings before switching positions with first baseman Ben Allen. The two Daniel Boone hurlers matched McDavid with 11 strikeouts.

After Backus hit a monster shot that traveled well over the left field fence to give Boone a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth, the Indians loaded the bases against Elliott in the bottom of the inning.

Dobyns-Bennett got two runs across, first off a sacrifice fly to left field by Dalton Harkleroad to score Derick Thurston and Jaden Alderson getting a bases-loaded walk to score McDavid.

"It's tough to start the season with two good ball clubs," Indians coach Ryan Wagner said. "Boone has five or six batters back in their lineup from last year. When you face a guy (Elliott), he showed why he's going to UT tonight. He's a really good pitcher.

"But, I can't say enough about Jackson McDavid. He's not thrown over 50 pitches any day leading into the season and he threw over 100 tonight. He was getting a little tired at the end, but there was still a lot on his fastball and he wanted to end the game."

DEFENSE AND PITCHING

In addition to the pitchers, both teams made big defensive plays to keep the scoring down.

Alderson started off the game with a diving catch in left field to deny Boone's Brody Goodman a hit on the game's first at-bat.

For the 'Blazers, Elliott worked out of a jam in the bottom of the second, throwing two strikeouts after the bases were loaded with one out. An inning later, Boone catcher Logan Rivers came up firing to throw out Alderson on a steal attempt at second.

In the sixth inning, Boone shortstop Robbie Storen made a diving catch to deny the Indians' Cade Maupin a hit up the middle. In one sense, it made the loss even harder for the 'Blazers to swallow.

"It's tough to play a good opponent in a conference game as the opening game," Boone coach Rob Hoover said. "Give McDavid a lot of credit. He threw a lot of strikes. We pitched well, but we also had a lot of high-stress innings where they had base runners on."

PRESSURE ON BOTH SIDES

With two outs in the seventh, Boone second baseman Anthony Edwards reached base on a walk and then advanced all the way to third base on a wild pitch by McDavid. With the pressure mounting, McDavid didn't show any of the inward nerves, striking out Storen to end the game.

With the Big Seven Conference opening with home-and-home, next-day series, the teams are scheduled to play again Tuesday 6 p.m. at Daniel Boone.

"It's a big game for us to try to even us back up in the league," Hoover said. "As early as it is, it's still important. It matters just as much as it does in April, so we have to bounce back and be ready to go."

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