BY WAYNE PHILLIPS, SPORTS EDITOR EMERITUS
Greeneville High's baseball team bunched all their runs into two innings, and Trey Holditch pitched a complete game as the Greene Devils nipped visiting Cherokee 7-6 Friday afternoon at Dale Alexander Field.
It was a non-conference game, pitting two old foes from the Inter-Mountain Conference, but it was still an important win for Greeneville as they head into the final week of the regular season and the Blue Ridge Athletic Conference tourney which begins on Friday at Tusculum College's Pioneer Park.
"Glad to get the win," Coach Jeremy Shepherd said after the Devils improved to 18-7 on the year. "But we didn't play very smart. We got all our runs in two innings and spent the rest of the time popping up and not working their pitcher."
Down 7-4 heading into their final time at bat in the seventh, Cherokee made things very interesting by scoring two runs and having the tying run on second base before Holditch got the final out with a strikeout.
The Chiefs started out strong against the Devils, scoring two in the top of the first on a two-run homer by Tanner Trent that sailed over the left field fence with room to spare.
But Greeneville retaliated even stronger, plating four runs in the bottom of the inning against Cherokee starter Matt Davis.
Jake Treadway started it with a single to left, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on Matt Barham's double to right. Zack Finchum then came through with an RBI single, and Finchum later scored when Mike Lane's dribbler got through Cherokee's infield. Lane came around on a two-out single by Drew Patterson.
That 4-2 score stood up for a long time. Both teams had runners erased by a double play in the second. Logan Jarnigan came in to replace Davis on the mound in the second for Cherokee and retired eight straight Greene Devils, six of them on fly balls to the outfield.
"We went in there and just starting swinging early in the count, and we end up hitting a lot of fly balls," Shepherd said.
Cherokee knotted the game at 4-4 with two runs in the top of the fifth. Shawn Bond unloaded with a solo homer over the right field fence. With one out, Tanner Trent singled up the middle and later scored on a two-out base hit to right by Ryan Gibson.
That sudden surge by Cherokee seemed to awaken the Devils, who had not had a hit since the first inning and suddenly unleashed five of them in the home half of the fifth to score three times.
Treadway started it with a bunt single. He stole second, then sped home on Barham's base hit. Barham also stole second and scored on a hit to left by Tyler King. Courtesy runner Chase Wagner then scored all the way from first base when Mike Lane cracked a double down the left field line.
Holditch retired the side in order in the sixth, but got into some difficulty in the seventh after Bond reached base on an error to lead it off. With one out Trent reached on an infield hit. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch, and Gibson brought them home with a two-out, two-run double. Gibson was the tying run standing on second, but Holditch got Tristan Webb to go down swinging for the third out to end the contest.
The Greene Devils had nine hits, led by Treadway and Barham with two apiece. Barham knocked in two runs. Cherokee's Trent had three hits in three trips and knocked in a pair, while Gibson had three RBIs on the day with two base hits.
Greeneville, who has already clinched the regular season Blue Ridge crown, plays at Daniel Boone Monday, at North Greene Tuesday and takes on Sevier County Wednesday at Pioneer Park to close out the regular season.
CHS AB R H GHS AB R H
Bond,cf 4 3 2 Tre'way,cf 3 2 2
Jarnigan,3b 3 0 0 Barham,2b 3 2 2
Trent,lf 3 3 3 Finchum,ss 2 1 1
Owens,c 4 0 0 King,c 3 0 1
Gibson,ss 3 0 2 Wagner,cr 0 1 0
Webb,1b 4 0 0 Lane,lf 3 1 1
Crowder,2b 2 0 0 Hen'sen,1b 3 0 1
Cole,ph 1 0 0 Patterson,dh 3 0 1
Davis,p 2 0 1 Holditch,p 0 0 0
Price,lf 3 0 0 Ball,3b 3 0 0
Renner,rf 2 0 0
TOTALS 29 6 8 TOTALS 25 7 9
2b Hits: Ch-Gibson; GHS-Barham, Lane. HR: Ch-Trent, Bond. WP: Holditch. LP: Jarnigan.
Score by innings:
Cherokee 200 020 2--6 8 2
Greeneville 400 030 x--7 9 2