KINGSPORT — The Greeneville Greene Devils faced either Jake Timbes or Shohei Ohtani on Wednesday night.
The way Timbes threw the ball on the mound and hit it at the plate at least resembled the Los Angeles Angels’ two-way star.
In Dobyns-Bennett’s 4-0 non-district win over Greeneville at J. Fred Johnson Stadium, Timbes tossed a one-hit shutout and crushed a home run in a three-run first inning.
The junior right-hander, labeled Dobyns-Bennett’s top pitcher and position player as the Indians’ shortstop, walked two and struck out nine.
Greeneville’s Avery Collins lined a double over second base with two out in the top of the first. After that, though, just three Greene Devils reached base – two via walks, one on a fielder’s choice – and none of those advanced beyond first.
From the fourth inning through the seventh, Timbes retired the final 11 Greene Devils he faced, seven via strikeout.
“When you go out and play great programs in non-district games like we do, you’re going to run across some really good pitchers,” said Greeneville senior third baseman Adrian Bundy. “It’s good to see another guy like that for later in the season.”
Timbes was dominant for sure, but the Greene Devils did take some quality cuts against him. Trey Massengill, Will Hurley and Hunter Richards all had deep drives that backed up Dobyns-Bennett’s outfielders, and Bundy had two towering popups that might have done damage had they been squared up.
Of Greeneville’s 12 outs that weren’t strikeouts, nine were fly balls or popups.
“(Timbes) did a good job locating his fastball up and down in the zone, but we took some great swings and barreled up a couple balls,” Bundy said. “That tells us we can hit a guy like that for sure. It was just his night tonight. Tip your cap.”
Dobyns-Bennett, which improves to 9-6, chased Greeneville starter Nick Iezzi (1-1) in the first inning.
Timbes, batting second, belted a solo homer over the wall in left field for a 1-0 lead. Sam Ritz and Tanner Kilgore followed with back-to-back doubles to make it 2-0. Kilgore then took third on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-0.
Junior right-hander AJ Smith and sophomore lefty Parker Shipley were bright spots in relief for Greeneville (11-4).
Smith took over for Iezzi with two out in the first and allowed just one run over 3 2/3 innings. He gave up four hits, walked none and struck out one.
Dobyns-Bennett’s fourth run came in the fifth via a lead-off triple by Ritz and a one-out nubber by Peyton Grimm that found the hole between first and second.
“I was just thinking I had to hit my spots and I had to help the team,” Smith said about his approach after being summoned from the bullpen earlier than expected. “I was just trying to do what I could to help is get out of that first inning and hold them down so we could try to come back.”
Shipley held the Indians hitless and scoreless over the final 1 2/3 innings. He walked one, hit a batter and struck out three.
It isn’t the first time Smith and Shipley have impressed this season.
Against a tough Seymour lineup on Friday, Smith pitched three shutout innings of relief, gave up one hit, walked one and struck out four.
“In these two games, I’ve pitched as well as I can,” Smith said. “I’ve really worked hard this year. I’m just giving it my all.”
In three relief appearances, Shipley has pitched seven innings, given up three hits, one run, walked one and struck out 11.
“It’s always good to have extra arms like AJ and Parker,” Bundy said. “I think everybody had an idea about what they might could do coming into the season and I think they’ve gone out there and proven themselves.
“They’ve built our confidence in them. Knowing we have more arms who can help us get to where we want to go is a good feeling.”
The game was well played defensively by both teams. Greeneville’s only miscue came in the sixth on a throw back to the mound from first base that was lost in the setting sun and got away, allowing a runner to move from first to second. And Dobyns-Bennett was error free.
“When pitchers are throwing strikes like AJ and Parker were tonight, it keeps everybody on their toes,” said Bundy, who made a couple plays at third base and has cleanly handled all 16 chances he’s had there this season. “It makes everybody ready for the next pitch even more than we would be if a pitcher isn’t around the strike zone. It keeps the flow of the game going and makes it more fun.”
Greeneville plays Science Hill at Cardinal Park in Johnson City at 6 p.m. Thursday. It will be a rematch of the Greene Devils’ 5-2 win on March 30 at Dale Alexander Field in Greeneville.