Pats complete sweep of ‘Canes
Morristown East’s J.R. Seals is tagged out at the plate by Jefferson County catcher Jonathan Royster during Tuesday’s game in Dandridge. Seals was ejected from the game by home plate umpire Justin Anderson after colliding with Royster on the play.
DANDRIDGE — As the old saying goes, “It’s not how you begin, but how you end.” On Tuesday night against Jefferson County, the Morristown East Hurricanes began their IMAC battle well, but did not finish their game with the same passion.
East scored four runs in the first two innings, but that would be as good as it would get as the Hurricanes dropped their fourth straight IMAC game. The Patriots erupted for double-digits in the run column to pick up a 10-4 victory over the visiting Hurricanes.
Winning pitcher Ryan Buchanan gave up four runs in the first two innings, but settled down to throw four more innings of scoreless ball before being relieved for in the seventh inning. J.R. Seals and Will Thompson led the Hurricanes with a double each. Jonathan Royster nailed a home run and finished with 3 RBIs to lead the Patriots.
East trailed only 6-4 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, but the wheels fell off with two outs as the Patriots scored four insurance runs to put the game out of reach.
Hurricanes coach Ryan Haun’s team dips to 4-4 overall, while Coach Gaines Cox’s team improves to 4-2 overall and 3-2 in the IMAC. Haun said his team allowed way too many second chances on Tuesday night.
“We gave Jefferson County too many free bases,” said Haun. “We also had too many passed balls, walks and little mental mistakes. Whenever you allow a passed ball or a walk, those guys usually advance and turn into runs. You can’t do that at this level and expect to win. We battled hard for two innings, but we didn’t play a complete seven innings of hard-nosed baseball. I thought we hit the ball well tonight, but hit it right at them.”
In the top of the first, the Hurricanes didn’t take long crossing the plate behind a little two-out magic.
East third baseman Braden Jones moved Aaron Smith to second base on a ground out. Smith, who reached base via a walk, crossed home plate for a 1-0 lead on a RBI single from Ryan Lloyd.
With Lloyd on first base, Thompson roped a double down the left field line, which scored Lloyd from first base for a 2-0 lead off Buchanan.
However, the Patriots did not waste any time grabbing the lead back with a strong offensive inning. Royster highlighted a four-run first inning with a two-run home run off eventual losing pitcher Dustin Green.
Royster’s home run sailed over the left field wall for a 4-2 Jefferson County advantage. Trevor Whitley and Silver Munguia also scored in the inning. Whitley crossed home plate on a passed ball, while Munguia scored on a wild pitch.
With their lead quickly evaporating, the Hurricanes wasted little time getting back in the game. Hayden Davis walked to lead off the second inning. Seals followed with a deep ball that hit the top of the left field fence. The RBI double scored Davis and Seals moved to third on the throw home. However, on the next play, the Hurricanes ran into some bad luck. Cale Wolfenbarger hit a dribbler back to the pitcher, who fielded the ball and threw to home plate. Seals collided with the catcher and was ejected from the game.
After the play, the Hurricanes calmed down and Wolfenbarger later tied the game at 4 on a RBI single from Smith.
Tied at 4, the Patriots continued the offensive scoring in the bottom of the second with two more runs.
Eli Devotie and Brandon Bingle both scored after reaching base on a walk and a hit by pitch, respectively. Logan Hayes picked up an RBI in the inning.
In the bottom of the fourth with two outs, Green was pulled with the bases loaded in favor of reliever Aaron Rymer. Rymer got out of the jam for the Hurricanes with a ground ball out to keep the game at 6-4 heading into the fifth inning.
In the top of the sixth inning, the Hurricanes put two runners on base, but Buchanan and the Patriots got out of the scoring threat unscathed. With two outs, Tavis Carmichael reached on an error and Cale Wolfenbarger walked. However, Buchanan got Ryan Lynch to hit into a force out at third base to end the inning. The scoring attempt proved to be the Hurricanes’ best chance at taking the lead as the Patriots exploded with four runs in the sixth inning to put the game away.
With two outs, Royster picked up his third RBI of the game on a single to left field to score Malik Kyle from second base. Later, Devotie roped a double to score Royster for an 8-4 showing. Daniel Kirk then plated Zach Rogers and Devotie with single for a 10-4 lead.
East went down quietly in the seventh inning as reliever Brandon Saylor closed out the game.
East 10, JCHS 5
The Hurricanes scored nine runs in the first two innings to insure a win against the Patriots in junior varsity action.
Trey Martin had three hits, including two doubles, scored three runs and drove in a run in the win, while Jessie Tipton and Tate Rutherford both had two hits, scored a pair of runs and knocked in a run each. Tavis Carmichael and Jake Dent both added an RBI.
Brandon Lane was the winning pitcher.
East 10, Cocke County 6
At Newport, the Lady ‘Canes overcame an early 5-0 deficit to pick up a road IMAC win and improve to 2-0 in league play.
East (3-1) scored three runs in the second inning but did not lead until a six-run outburst in the fifth gave them the lead for good.
Winning pitcher Ashlyn Pillion had three hits with a double to lead the Lady Hurricanes, while Rachel Cutshaw smacked a homer and a single in the win. Katelyn Davidson chipped in two doubles and Lauren Bruce added a pair of hits for East.
West sweeps Sevier County
At Sevierville, the Lady Trojans not only picked up their first two wins of the season, but they moved to 2-0 in IMAC play to sit atop the standing with cross-town rival Morristown East after sweeping a doubleheader against Sevier County.
West (2-2, 2-0 IMAC) won the opening game 15-4 in five innings before taking the nightcap 7-5.
Camryn Ward ripped three hits in the opening game, while Katie Lakas, Natalie Martin, Maysi Brotherton and Savannah Edmonds had two hits each for the Lady Trojans. Brotherton drove in four runs, while Martin plated three runs and Lakas knocked in a pair in the win.
In the nightcap, Lakas, Martin and Kaley Muncy had two hits apiece, while Jessi Tinsley drove in a pair of runs. Ward and Muncy both added RBIs in the victory.
Tinsley also picked up both wins inside the circle by tossing a pair of complete games.
-By Chris Ayers, Assistant Sports Editor