Silverdale Strikes Back To Bounce Decatur County, 6-2, For Shot At Title

Seahawks Lost First Game, 18-1; Meet Friendship Friday For State Crown

Thursday, May 23, 2013 - by Larry Fleming

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Talk about resiliency.

Three-time defending state Class A champion Decatur County Riverside routed Silverdale Baptist Academy, 18-1, Thursday to force a winner-take-all showdown and determine the upper bracket winner at Middle Tennessee Christian’s Joe Baron Field.

Decatur County had the momentum.

Silverdale had its horse on the mound – senior Reid Clements.

After pounding the Seahawks with 13 hits, including a 5-for-5 performance by Alex Whitwell that included five RBIs in the opener, Silverdale rode Clements’ six-hit, 10-strikeout effort to a 6-2 second-game victory and into Friday’s high noon (Eastern) Class A state championship matchup with Friendship Christian at Middle Tennessee State University’s Reese Smith Jr. Stadium.

“This is indescribable,” said Seahawks coach Jonathan Adcock, his team now 29-3-1. Decatur had won three state titles and Summertown one. That’s four state titles in our bracket. We had never even won a district championship before this season and now we’re going to play for a state championship.”

Friendship Christian (32-6) beat Knoxville Grace, 12-1, to earn a shot at this year’s state championship. The Commanders won it all in 2007.

Silverdale is trying to become only the second Chattanooga school in the three-class era that dates to 1977  to win a Class A championship. Lookout Valley claimed titles in 1977 and 1980.

The last Chattanooga state champion – in any classification – was Baylor in 2006.

“This is pretty amazing, especially coming off that first game,” said junior Colton Rogers, who was raked for six runs – four earned – in just one inning of work in the opener. He pitched to 11 batters, facing five without recording an out in the second and all five runners scored.

Amazingly, the Seahawks stopped the onslaught by throwing three runners out at home plate.

“I didn’t have anything working for me, couldn’t find the strike zone and gave up some hits,” Rogers said. “Then Reid goes out there and threw the best game of his life. To come back from 18-1 and beat the defending state champion is just unreal.”

The first-game drubbing forced Adcock’s hand in using Clements rather than Joey Szollosi in the do-or-die nightcap.

Clements made the decision easier.

“Never before in my life have I pitched on two day’s rest,” he said. “But I was asking to do it. I wasn’t concerned with my arm (he had Tommy John surgery in December 2011).”

Said Adcock, “I had some concerns because we were hoping to use him (Friday). But after the first game we didn’t have much choice. We asked him if his arm was sore and if it was we might have let him go two or three innings. But he said his arm was fine. He’s like a horse out there. He loves these big games.”

Szollosi, a senior who normally plays shortstop, will get the start on Friday.

“He’s got a great arm, too,” the coach said. “We could have pitched Joey today and we could have gone with Josiah (Green, who had an effective relief stint in Game 1), or come back with Colton. He would have had a big chip on his shoulders.

“We don’t push the pitchers because we like them to get four day’s rest. We don’t like them going over a hundred pitches. At this stage, we felt like Reid’s arm is sound enough to handle the short turnaround.”

It was.

Clements held Decatur County (32-8), which finished second in its first state tourney appearance before reeling off three consecutive titles, scoreless for three innings. The Panthers got a run in the fourth on Alex Vise’s single – Clements’ throwing error trying to pick off Alex Whitwell – put the runner in scoring position.

Decatur County got another run in the fifth on Whitwell’s RBI hit deep in the hole between third and shortstop.

In the sixth and seventh, Clements denied the Panthers any further offense. He gave up a walk and single starting the sixth, but struck out two and retired Alex Hays on a groundout. Hays was the Panther’s starting pitcher in both games.

Clements struck out Jordan Goff in the seventh and got Clint Fisher and Whitwell on easy fly-ball outs to end the game.

“I’m ready for (Friday),” Clements said. “We’re a blessed team. We were ready for the second game and we’ll be ready to play Friendship. We’re really pumped right now.”

Clements, who beat Rockwood, 5-1, on Tuesday with a five-hitter and 12 strikeouts, was backed by timely hitting and solid defense – the Seahawks’ pattern all season except for three errors in a 2-1 win over Decatur on Wednesday and six errors that led to eight unearned runs in Thursday’s opener.

The Seahawks didn’t score until the fourth inning when Clements and Matt Millard each singled to start the rally. Cody Thomas, running for Clements, scored on Chance Brown’s groundout and Millard came home on Rogers’ sacrifice fly deep into foul territory in the right-field corner.

Silverdale again scored twice in the fifth off Hays. Brown and Rogers had RBI singles, but the Seahawks left the bases loaded when Jordan Delashmitt struck out and Spencer Mossburg popped out to second.

The Seahawks stretched the margin to four with two more in the seventh to put a lid on Decatur County’s highly successful state championship run.

Clements doubled and Thomas scored on Brown’s squeeze bunt. Brown later came home on Delashmitt’s infield grounder. Brown slid home to beat the throw from Hays, who was playing second after he was relieved on the mound.

Clements, Millard, Brown and Rogers each had two hits to power the Seahawks’ 10-hit attack. Brown drove in three runs.

“It’s awesome,” said Brown, who has been a low-in-the-order contributor throughout the state tournament. “That 18-1 blowout was God testing us, we think. Our confidence was shaken a little bit, but we kept our heads up and just played the next game.”

The first game was no contest. Decatur County came out on fire and stayed that way.

The Panthers scored eight runs in the second inning, sending 13 batters to the plate, added three in the third and five more in the fourth.

Whitwell did the most damage, but he had help, too. Fisher had a three-run double in the second. Hunter Pulley added two hits and three RBIs. Goff had two hits and scored four runs.

Eight of Decatur County’s runs were unearned due to six Silverdale errors.

“Those unearned runs kept piling up,” Adcock said. “We knew they were going to hit the ball, but if you make that many errors you’re really in trouble.”

Clements’ two-out single in the third scored Mossburg with the Seahawks’ lone run.

LINESCORES

FIRST GAME

Decatur County                  183 51 – 18 13 0

Silverdale Academy          001 00 – 1 6 6

Rogers, Millard (2), Green (5) and Bankston; Hays, Brawley (4) and Whitwell.

SECOND GAME

Silverdale Academy          000 220 2 – 6 10 1

Decatur County                  000 110 0 – 2 6 3

Clements and Bankston; Hays, Whitwell (6) and Whitwell, Vise (6).

(E-mail Larry Fleming at larryfleming44@gmail.com)

 



PHOTOS: Freshmen Footballers Begin Next Level Of Competition

With the return of football to prep campuses across the State of Tennessee on Monday, one group of players are not only getting used to new schools, curriculum and the hazing that comes with being a freshman, they are also learning what it means to step up to that next level of competition. Once such program is at Ooltewah High School where 9th Grade coach Jon Massey is setting ... (click for more)

Mocs Senior Quarterback, Huesman, Named To CFPA 2015 FCS National Performer OF The Year Watch List

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior quarterback Jacob Huesman was named to the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) 2015 FCS National Performer of the Year Trophy Watch List. The list includes thirty-two returning performers from the Football Championship Subdivision.  The award winner will be announced January 13, 2016. Huesman has already garnered ... (click for more)

Assessor Of Property Bill Bennett Will Not Seek Re-Election

Bill Bennett, a longtime fixture in Hamilton County government, announced Monday that he plans to retire at the end of his current term as assessor of property. Mr. Bennett said, "After careful thought, prayer and encouragement from my family, I have made the decision to retire at the end of my current term and not place my name on the ballot for assessor of property in the 2016 ... (click for more)

Funeral Service For Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Scott Smith Is Tuesday

The funeral service for Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Scott Smith will be held on Tuesday at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Fort Oglethorpe.   Petty Officer Smith is the last of the five servicemen, and the second in Chattanooga, to be buried after the attack on July 16.   Parking at the church is reserved for family and friends of the Smith family. The public ... (click for more)

What Is #NoogaStrong

I've seen some recent posts asking exactly what Chattanooga Strong means. This week I have seen enough that I believe I can give you a definition of this glorious word.   As a city everyone will not always get along or agree. Often we may ask ourselves what is wrong with these nuts. Often we run across the rude, crude and ugly. But when tragic happens, we all come together ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Chanie's Puzzling Poem

Ronnie Joice was in a bar in north London when he spied a poem tacked to the wall. The more he studied it, the more it revealed and, suddenly, he was floored. I don’t need to tell you it has gone viral, cheering people up particularly in England, but it is fun to know it was written by an 11 th -grader at an all-girls school in New York. Chanie Gorkin first posted it on her page ... (click for more)