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Hilltoppers hang on to defeat Greenies

Jeff Birchfield • Updated Apr 28, 2019 at 2:30 PM

Science Hill’s margin of victory was much slimmer Saturday, but Ryan Edwards and his coaching staff weren’t complaining.

The Hilltoppers held on for an 8-5 win over Asheville Christ School in an intra-state baseball game Saturday at TVA Credit Union Ballpark. It came less than 24 hours after Science Hill demolished Cocke County by 21 runs on the same field.

This time, against stouter competition, the Hilltoppers (20-10) scored seven runs in the second inning and held on to defeat the Greenies (17-4), who lost for just the second time in their last 16 games.

“Offensively, that team could really swing the bats 1 through 9 and didn’t have an easy out in their lineup,” Edwards said. “Landon (Slemp) got his change-up going today. He pitched great and gave us five solid innings.”

It was a big week for Edwards, who passed John Broyles as Science Hill’s all-time winningest coach earlier in the week and saw his team go 4-0 over a six-day stretch to reach the 20-win milestone.

Cade McCoy led the way for the Science Hill offense, going 3 for 4 with an RBI. Jackson Hill finished 2 for 3 with an RBI, while Matthew Levi and Slemp each drove in two runs.

“They threw some good arms at us, but I thought we had some pretty good approaches at the plate,” McCoy said. “I struck out on my first at-bat, but I just had to make an adjustment after that and I saw the ball good all day. I definitely think hits are contagious for our ball team. It’s been special this season when we’ve had several games where we will get multiple runs in one inning.”

It was certainly that way Saturday as all nine Science Hill starters reached base, either on a hit or by drawing a walk. Seven of the nine scored runs, including Jack Torbett, who was productive in the nine-hole with an RBI single and two runs scored.

“The first time I was up there, the ump called it bad, so I just hit it,” Torbett said about his RBI single. “The third time I was up, I hit it up the middle, but got out. I feel it’s really helpful that we have so many guys on this team who can contribute.”

That included his cousin, Cole, who didn’t bat, but came up with a couple of big catches in left field.

Slemp gave up nine hits, but stayed with the game plan and gave up only two walks over five innings. He left the game with an 8-4 lead and improved to 6-0 on the season. Dustin Eatmon came in for two-thirds of an inning, before Drew Honeycutt shut down the Greenies to get the save.

“We knew Landon was a strike thrower,” Edwards said. “He works fast and he has three pitches. If you can do that in high school baseball, you’re going to be successful. He’s done most of it out of the bullpen. He’s a guy who can start a big game or he can do whatever.

“It’s the same thing with Drew, who has started some big games for us. He did a great job closing the door.”

Jack Galbraith was 3 for 3 with a RBI, while Jack Sutton and Parker Johnson each had two hits to lead the visitors from Asheville.

Science Hill will return to action Monday, renewing an old rivalry with Elizabethton.

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