LEBANON, Tenn. – Everyone knows just how tough it is to beat the same team three times in the same season, but what about four?
That was the case here at Wilson Central Wednesday afternoon when the Baylor Red Raider baseball team beat McCallie for the fourth time.
The latest was by far the biggest and most important as it came in the winners bracket final of the Division II-Class AA segment of the state tournament.
With Wednesday’s 11-7 victory over the Blue Tornado, Baylor improves to 23-6 and will play for its third state title on Thursday afternoon at MTSU’s Reese Smith Jr. Field. The opponent will be the Memphis University School Owls, who rallied from Tuesday’s 5-1 loss to McCallie to eliminate Christian Brothers before nipping the Blue Tornado by a 6-5 final in the losers bracket final.
Baylor’s most recent state title came in 2006.
Baylor has been on a hot streak with the bats in recent games as they’ve scored 30 runs on 38 hits in the last three games.
Everyone in their lineup got at least one hit in Tuesday’s win over Christian Brothers and that same trend continued against McCallie as everyone except Gehrig Ebel collected at least one hit as the team totaled 13 for the game.
The Red Raiders didn’t waste any time taking charge in this one as they batted around in the first inning and scored four runs.
Christian Martin had the big blow with a two-run double that was wrapped around run-scoring singles from Stan King and Daniel Corona.
McCallie got within 4-3 in the third before Baylor answered with single runs in the fourth and fifth innings. They put a little icing on the cake with two more in the sixth and three in the seventh.
Baylor coach Greg Elie likes the way his team is performing these days.
“The guys in the middle of our lineup really stepped up and had a heckuva day at the plate. It’s always a battle when we play those guys, but I thought we played a good game all around as we just tried to keep playing our style of baseball.
“We stayed aggressive at the plate and really hit it hard at times. We also had some really huge two-out hits, but this is what we’ve worked on all season. And I was really proud of the fact that every time but once when McCallie scored, we answered,” he added.
Greyson Linderman was the winning pitcher after going five-plus innings and allowing five runs on four hits. He had one strikeout and three walks, but was relieved after issuing a leadoff walk to Ethan Bain in the sixth.
Gage Johnson and Danny Corona followed, but it was southpaw Jack Oliver who struck out the side in the seventh with two on to end the game.
While Martin had the big two-run double in the first inning, he did the same thing in the sixth and was one of three Baylor players with two hits, joining Cooper Kinney and Teddy Lepcio with two.
King had an outstanding day at the plate as well with three hits and three runs scored.
Daalen Adderley had a triple and scored a run for McCallie in the fifth inning and was one of six Blue Tornado players with one hit apiece, the others being Cameron Costo, Chad Marsh, Kahler Youngblood, Chase Roberts and Blade Steelman.
Grayson Jones was the loser after allowing five runs on six hits in three innings. He was replaced after a leadoff walk to Taylor Shahan in the fourth.
McCallie’s season ends with a record of 19 wins and 16 losses.
BAYLOR 400 112 3 – 11 13 1
McCALLIE 003 011 2 – 7 6 1
Linderman, Johnson (6), Corona (6), Oliver (7) and Carmichael; Jones, Sides (4), Center (5), Shell (6), Holsonback (6), Bowman (7) and Riemer.
(Email John Hunt at email@example.com)