Baylor, McCallie Whip Memphians; To Meet In DII-AA Winner's Bracket Final

Red Raiders Drop MUS, 2-0; Blue Tornado Edges Christian Brothers, 3-2

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 - by Larry Fleming

LEBANON, Tenn. – Baylor and McCallie swept Memphis opponents Tuesday night in the Division II-AA state baseball tournament at Wilson Central High School.

The Red Raiders (23-10) got a four-hit shutout from freshman Gavin Roberson and two bases-loaded walks in a 2-0 victory over University School.

The Blue Tornado (26-10) got past defending champion Christian Brothers, 3-2, behind the strong four-hit pitching of Elliott Dockery.

The long-time Chattanooga rivals now square off on Wednesday in the winner’s bracket final at 1:30 p.m., again at Wilson Central, located about 30 miles north of Murfreesboro on Highway 840.

“That’s never happened in the state tournament,” Baylor coach Gene Etter said. “In our regular season series they were the top team in our region and we swept them in a three-game series. From their viewpoint, they’ve got a chance to wipe out those three games with a win against us tomorrow.”

McCallie coach Greg Payne said he wasn’t thinking so much about Baylor as paying close attention to his own team.

“We always try to focus on what us rather than who we’re playing,” Payne said. “If we do the things well that we do well we’ll be fine against anybody we play. While Baylor has gotten hot in recent games, we still have to focus on us.”

Payne said he will start Tyler Payne in Wednesday’s game.

Etter was fretting over who he would pitch in the second round after hearing “bad news” from Andrew Belcher.

“Andrew hurt his shoulder and he told me tonight he didn’t think he could pitch (Wednesday),” the veteran Red Raiders coach said. “He wasn’t himself the last game he pitched against Pope John Paul in the opening game of that series.”

The Red Raiders and Tornado played well Wednesday.

Roberson, a diminutive 5-foot-6, 127-pound right-hander with a sneaky fastball and tantalizing breaking ball, was brilliant against the Owls while striking out four and walking two.

“That’s my game,” said Roberson, who is from Ringgold, Ga. “I don’t overpower anybody and just place my pitches and throw as many groundballs as possible. I’ve had a size disadvantage my whole life, but I’ve learned to deal with it.”

University School never solved Roberson’s pitches, although Baylor’s defense came up with some solid plays behind the youngster.

And Roberson tuned up for his state tournament debut by saving two games and winning another in a starting role in the McCallie series. And when Pope John Paul beat Baylor in a series opener, Roberson won the second game and the Red Raiders won Game 3 to take the series 2-1.

That made Etter’s decision to start Roberson against MUS much easier.

“I’m going to throw the guy who is doing the best regardless of what grade he might be in,” Etter said. “Gavin was our best pitcher in preseason and pitched a great game against Mt. Juliet in our first game of the season in the Scenic City Classic.

“Then there was a stretch where he struggled and I took him out of the rotation because he lost his location. Since he got a second chance he’s been money in the bank.”

Baylor catcher Blake Layne said Roberson was on his game against the Owls.

“He threw an excellent game,” Layne said. “He was locating well and that’s what you expect from him. He won’t overpower people, but he will kill them with accuracy.”

Baylor scored the game’s only two runs in the third inning.

Hunter Holland and Alex Armstrong drew bases-loaded walks to force in the runs.

“Both of those walks were on 3-2 counts and with two outs,” Etter said. “Both those hitters deserve credit for being disciplined at the plate.”

Baylor had only four hits off left-hander Colton Neel, who was hurt with nine walks.

Dockery was working on a shutout through five innings, but was roughed up for two runs in the sixth after the Blue Tornado went up 3-0 with two runs in the fifth.

Coach Payne decided to bring in Tyler Payne to pitch the seventh. Payne retired the Owls in order, including one strikeout, to get the save.

“Christian Brothers is the defending state champion (the Owls have won 11 state titles, six since 2000), with a lot of tradition and a lot of college prospects, and we needed to play nearly a flawless game and we almost did that,” Greg Payne said. “I was very pleased with our execution.”

McCallie broke through against Neel for a run in the fourth.

Christian Burnett led off with a double and Tons Ferguson came in to run for him. Ferguson eventually scored from third on Drew Vaughn’s squeeze bunt.

In the fifth, Spencer Morgan reached on an error, John Hennen ripped a RBI triple and Burnett, on a 10-pitch at-bat, has a sacrifice fly to give McCallie a 3-0 lead.

Burnett and Winston Whitener each had two hits for the Blue Tornado.

Now McCallie turns its attention to Wednesday’s game.

“We have to play better against them than the last time,” Payne said.

SUMMARIES

Christian Brothers                           000 002 0 – 2 4 0

McCallie                                           000 120 x – 3 7 0 

Durham and Grisanti; Dockery, Payne (7) and Burnett.

University School                            000 000 0 – 0 4 1

Baylor                                              002 000 x – 2 3 0

Neel and Hunt; Roberson and Layne.

(E-mail Larry Fleming at larryfleming44@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @larryfleming44)





Notre Dame Stays Alive In A-AA State Duals

FRANKLIN -- Notre Dame's wrestling team came to the Williamson County Agricultural Expo Center ready to fight Saturday morning and it took all of 32 minutes to eliminate Martin Luther King by a lopsided 70-12 final score. Luke Mullin got the ball rolling with a 50-second pin at 120 and was a breeze from that point on as Ned Warwick, David Hodges, William Nelson, Packy ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Wins 63-62 Over Signal Mountain

Notre Dame won a key District 7A/AA basketball match up Friday night, edging Sequatchie County 63-62.   Tyler Byrd led all scorers with 27.  Signal Mountain's Jack Teeter had 23.  Scores by Quarter Notre Dame 15 21 6 21 - 63 Sequatchie 16 9 11 26 - 62 Notre Dame (63) Tyler Byrd 27, AJ Flemister 14, Kealey Green 17, Westhoff 2, McGowan 3, ... (click for more)

Chance Loftis Set To Be Freed From Jail After Jury Finds Him Guilty Of Only Misdemeanor Charge

Chance Loftis is set to be freed from jail on Monday after a Criminal Court jury on Friday afternoon found him guilty of only a minor charge. Instead of murder in the death of 46-year-old Donald Rogers, the jury in the courtroom of Judge Don Poole found him guilty of the lesser charge of reckless endangerment. He was found not guilty of aggravated animal cruelty in the beating ... (click for more)

1 Dies In House Fire In Rhea County

Rhea County Fire Department officials said one person died in an early-morning house fire on Saturday. The call came at about 6:30 a.m. The brick residence is on Fisher Road. S tate arson investigators were on their way. (click for more)

It's Time To Insure Tennessee - And Response

Tennessee has a problem.  What is the value of saving the lives of 1,000 Tennesseans each year? That is exactly what can be expected if 176,000 Tennesseans gain health insurance through Insure Tennessee. A New England Journal of Medicine study showed that expansion of Medicaid was associated with a 6% reduction in yearly mortality for people in the 34-65 age group. Statistically, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: What About The Ashes?

I attended my fifth funeral in the month of January the other day and, while I wish a lot of my friends would hang around a little longer, I was amused by the conversation in the pew before the service began. The question was “ … then what do you do with the ashes?” More and more people are being cremated and asking their loved ones to scatter their ashes -- more properly called ... (click for more)