“We responded early, but it’s good to come back and get the win over a quality opponent. They have a chance to go down to Murfreesboro,” Sullivan South head coach Anthony Richardson said about the win and University High. “They put the ball in play and we made the plays out there.”
Said University High head coach Josh Petty: “We had several innings with runners in scoring position, just couldn’t get the big hit. Their pitcher was throwing strikes and we were putting the ball in play and they made the plays.”
Sullivan South got things started right when Drew Creech led the game off with a hit. His trip around the bases was completed as Cole Layne reached on an error by center fielder Kaleb Meredith.
The next inning the Rebels struck again as Eli Jennings started the inning with a single. He stole second while Jackson McGee was at the plate. McGee singled, but an error by Kaden Weir allowed Jennings to score the game’s second run.
McGee led off the fourth with a double and later scored an insurance run.
Esau Byrd threw all seven innings for University High and scattered nine Rebel hits. He struck out a pair with a walk issued and hit a Rebel batter.
University High had a rally attempt in the bottom of the fourth. Back-to-back walks to Byrd and Jacob Peeler brought up Carter Pollock, who singled to load the bases. The frame was closed out by the Rebels’ Jeffrey Leonard, who struck out the next two batters. University High got runners to second base in both the fifth and seventh innings, but no further.
Leonard tossed a complete-game shutout for the Rebels. He scattered four hits and only struck out three Buc batters. Four walks were issued by Leonard.
“Leonard threw strikes,” Richardson added. “I think maybe he threw five curveballs all game. Hopefully our other pitchers can learn from that.”
Both teams have important league series starting Monday.
Sullivan South welcomes Johnson County. The Rebels are a game behind Sullivan East for second in the Three Rivers Conference, but only a game in front of Johnson County. University High has a game with North Greene.
The Bucs are a perfect 7-0 in the Watauga Valley as a win would secure the top seed for the District 1-A Tournament.
Earlier in the day Sullivan South was upended by Sevier County 16-4. Sevier County also beat David Crockett 14-4.
University High 10, Lee (Va.) 0
Brant Hare and Michael Degennaro combined on a five-inning, two-hit shutout of the Generals in the Bucs’ late game Saturday.
Hare gave up a pair of singles and a pair of walks over three innings before Degennaro had three strikeouts over two no-hit innings.
Esau Byrd led the University High offense, going 2 for 3 with three RBIs. Carter Pollock drove in two runs.