Silverdale Baptist Academy made sure there was no suspense in Monday’s do-or-die game against Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences.
The Seahawks, bouncing back from a tough 11-10 loss to Boyd-Buchanan on Saturday, scored 10 runs in the first two innings and shellacked the Patriots, 17-0, in a five-inning blowout in the District 5-A tournament game played at CSAS.
“We came off a tough loss but we played really well Saturday,” said Seahawks center-fielder Spencer Mossburg, who hit one of two first-inning home runs off Patriots starter Lucas Hicks and finished with five RBIs.
“Coming into this game we knew we had to win and knew we were going to win. Our confidence was high.”
The Seahawks (18-11) will go back to Boyd-Buchanan (22-8) on Tuesday and battle the Bucs for the district championship at 5 p.m.
Boyd-Buchanan’s dramatic 11-10 come-from-behind victory – the Bucs scored seven runs in the seventh inning – secured a region tournament berth for coach Josh Rider’s club.
The rout of CSAS did the same for Silverdale, which advanced to its second region appearance in school history. The first came in 2008, Seahawks coach Jonathan Adcock’s first season to guide the program.
“We’re looking forward to playing Boyd on Tuesday and seeing what we can do there,” Adcock said. “Our guys know they can play with them. We’ve got good players, they do too. It’s going to be a battle.”
The Bucs swept the home-and-home series with Silverdale in the regular season.
Silverdale must beat the Bucs twice to claim the district title.
“It’s never fun playing a team three, four or five times in a year, especially if you’re on the winning side of the equation every time,” Bucs coach Josh Rider said. “Guys relax and automatically think it’s going to happen again. Silverdale is as good as they’ve ever been and we can’t take them lightly or they’ll beat us twice.”
Pitching aces Clayton Parker of the Bucs and the Seahawks’ Mossburg will match wits and whizzing fastballs in the championship showdown.
The Bucs’ rally on Saturday was remarkable. Their comeback inning was highlighted by Rance Harden’s three-run homer, a solo shot by Parker, Thatcher Smith’s two-run single and a base-loaded game-winning walk to Jim Cardwell.
“It was unbelievable,” Rider said. “I’ve never seen too many games like that.”
Monday’s game started in a light shower and the Seahawks, showing no ill-effects from the disappointing setback two days earlier, rained runs on the Patriots from the get-go.
Hicks whiffed Chase Turner to start the first inning. The sky fell on him after that.
Mason Brown singled and Mossburg drilled a two-run homer over the center-field fence.
Reid Clements, who is regaining his hitting form after undergoing Tommy John surgery in December after an injury suffered in football, walked and Josiah Green singled. First baseman Garrett Howard slammed another Hicks pitch over the fence, about 20 feet to the right side of where Mossburg’s shot sailed out of the park.
With lightning precision, the Seahawks had a 5-0 lead.
Joey Szollosi stroked a two-run single in Silverdale’s five-run second inning. Green added a sacrifice fly and two more runs scored on Patriots errors – they committed three in the game.
CSAS was in a 10-0 hole.
“It’s definitely a big challenge,” Patriots coach Rik Herrmann said. “But my guys have responded to challenges all year. We have the capability to rally and we’ve scored seven or eight runs in an inning in the past. We never quit and I never gave up hope.”
Silverdale’s offensive onslaught – the Seahawks had 12 hits and the Patriots used four pitchers – in the third with four more runs.
Mossburg had a two-run single, Clements stroked an RBI double to center and Szollosi’s groundout produced the final run.
Silverdale’s winning pitcher, Colton Rogers, doubled home a run in the fifth, Josh Bankston’s groundout pushed a run across and Mossburg got his fifth RBI with a single to left-center.
“I felt good at the plate,” said Mossburg, who has four homers on the season. “I went into a slump midway through the season, but it’s all starting to come back to me. That feels good.”
Rogers gave up one hit, a second-inning single by Lee and struck out six. After Lee’s hit, Rogers induced a double-play grounder and retired 11 of the last 12 he faced.
Although their seasons will continue, local bragging rights come down to today’s title game at Boyd-Buchanan.
Mossburg is eager for a fourth shot at Boyd-Buchanan, the district’s regular-season champion.
“We’re ready and confident,” he said. “The first two regular-season games we didn’t play our best. Going into (Tuesday) we know we can play with them and we can go after them. We believe in each other.”
Adcock said the Seahawks are playing well at the right time of the season.
“Everybody is contributing,” he said. “Reid is back and he’s been a great addition to the lineup. Everybody’s hitting, so it’s coming together at a good time.
“This is a great group of guys. I thank God for them every day. This was a big win because it guarantees us getting into the region and it’s only the second time we made it that far.”
The Patriots finished with a 9-16 record.
Silverdale Baptist 554 03 – 17 12 0
Arts & Sciences 000 00 – 0 1 3
Rogers and Turner; Hicks, J.Brown (3), Lee (3), Derrick (5) and Smelcer.
(Contact Larry Fleming at email@example.com)