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Whitehead homer in 10th lifts Tribe over 'Blazers

Jeff Birchfield • May 8, 2018 at 1:29 AM

KINGSPORT — After Daniel Boone rallied from six runs down in the seventh inning, Isaac Whitehead hit a solo home run in the top of the 10th to lift Dobyns-Bennett to an 8-7 win over the Trailblazers in the District 1-AAA baseball losers’ bracket semifinals Monday at J. Fred Johnson Stadium.

The Indians had a 5-1 lead entering the seventh when they tacked on two insurance runs. They turned out to be needed when the ’Blazers rallied for their second improbable comeback in three days.

Whitehead finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.

“That felt amazing, the grace of God right there,” Whitehead said of his game-winning home run. “We had them down, they came back and we had to battle back. None of us were ready to give up. We had to give it everything we had.”

Tanner Doran pitched six innings for the Indians, giving up just one run on five hits and striking out eight. After Jackson McDavid struggled, Jeremiah Ball came in and shut down Boone (19-12) in the extra innings for the win.

D-B (23-13) will play Tennessee High tonight in the losers’ bracket final.

“We had a five-run lead on them two weeks ago here and they came back and went ahead before we scratched enough runs to beat them,” D-B coach Ryan Wagner said. “I watched them come back from six runs down against Tennessee High and I never felt comfortable. I was glad we were ahead, but they’re tough.

“But our kids hung in there when they were put in situations at the end. Jeremiah Ball, he’s a warrior, and he came through for us tonight. Isaac, he dropped a ball earlier and he was down. I told him to get over it and he came up with the big hit for us.”

Max Everett blasted a two-run home run over left to highlight the second inning when the Indians raced out to a 5-0 lead. Will Gladson earlier hit a sacrifice fly and Cannon Ferrell had a two-run single.

Up 5-1 entering the seventh, D-B got two more runs when Brogan Beckner and Cade Maupin scored before Boone rallied in the bottom of the inning. John Deason, also had a triple and an RBI.

Zach Taylor had the game-tying, two-run single for Boone. He ended 2-for-4 with three RBIs including an RBI single for the first run in the sixth. Matt Cox, the starting pitcher, had a two-run double during the seventh inning rally. Eric Rigsby, who suffered the loss despite four stout innings, had an RBI single and Brody Goodman also had two hits.

Two days ago, Rob Hoover’s Trailblazers had rallied from six runs down to force Tennessee High to extra innings.

“What a great team to be able to coach,” Hoover said. “Their intangibles that you can’t coach like the will to win with this group far surpassed some of the past teams. It’s just a thrill for me to coach.”

SCIENCE HILL 12, TENNESSEE HIGH 4

Brandon Feathers struck out 10, leadoff batter Ben Grable reached base four times with four stolen bases and four runs scored, and Chance Hall and Matthew Levi each had three hits for the top-seeded Hilltoppers (31-6), who romped over the Vikings (28-9).

Hall went 3-for-4 with four RBIs, including a two-run home run. Levi was also 3-for-4 with two RBIs, including a solo home run.

David Bryant added a 2-for-4 effort with three RBIs and Cade McCoy was 2-for-4 with two RBIs.

Three of the four runs given up by Feathers came on a three-run home run to the Vikings’ Jacob Vanhoy.

Science Hill advanced to Wednesday’s championship game and secured a berth in the Region 1-AAA tournament coming up next week.

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