Kingsport Times-News: Tennessee High shuts out Science Hill for Region 1-AAA baseball crown
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Tennessee High shuts out Science Hill for Region 1-AAA baseball crown

Jeff Birchfield • May 16, 2019 at 12:24 AM

JOHNSON CITY — For the first time in nearly four decades, Tennessee High is the Region 1-AAA baseball champion.

Cole Presson and Davis Hall combined on a five-hit shutout as the Vikings defeated Science Hill 3-0 in Wednesday’s championship game at TVA Credit Union Ballpark. It was the first Region 1-AAA title for Tennessee High since 1980.

Presson gave up four hits and four walks over five solid innings.

“Cole Presson, a sophomore out there in that moment, I told him I wanted him to give us three or four good innings,” Vikings coach Preston Roberts said. “We wanted him to hold a lead and get to Dave to close it out. He went out there and went a lot deeper than we expected.

“The composure in that moment against a team like Science Hill, that was really impressive.”

It was the third shutout loss for Science Hill (26-12), but its first since April 1.

The Hilltoppers will travel to Hardin Valley, which upset Farragut 5-2 in the Region 2-AAA championship in Friday’s sectional round. Tennessee High (27-11) will host the Admirals, who suffered just their third loss of the season.

In what was an evenly matched Big 7 Conference this season, Dobyns-Bennett won the league title, Science Hill won the district title on Tennessee High’s home field and the Vikings won the region on the Hilltoppers’ field.

“The league was so even. We had the 10-inning game with Boone to start the district tournament and if they win that game, who knows how it all turns out? This conference has been a dogfight,” Science Hill coach Ryan Edwards said. “I could see us both faring well on Friday. I know we’ve got a tall order with Farragut and Hardin Valley, but I think we both can compete.”

NOT THAT OFFENSIVE

Presson went 2-for-3 and had an RBI single in the third inning to aid his cause. The game’s other runs came off Jarrett Powell’s two-run double in the fifth inning. Ryan Gibson scored two of the Vikings’ three runs.

Science Hill’s most serious scoring threat came in the fourth inning when Matthew Levi reached third base. Caleb Marmo had a hit and two walks in the lead-off spot, while Conner Hyatt, Ben Edwards and Jack Torbett had the other hits.

However, Presson and Hall didn’t allow any extra-base hits.

“Cole Presson pitched a great game and Davis Hall came in and did a good job of pitching under pressure,” Edwards said. “They held us in check. We hit some balls hard, right at some guys when we had some runners in scoring position.

“Landon (Slemp) hit a ball that was just foul and Alex Elmore hit one that just didn’t fall for us. If any of those fall, who knows what happens? Credit them, they made the pitches when they had to.”

Science Hill got a solid effort on the mound, going five deep in the bullpen.

Starter Dustin Eatmon went 3 2/3 innings, giving up two hits and one run in a loss. Garrett Gleason threw the next inning before Andrew Miller came in. Miller faced a bases-loaded situation, but worked out of the jam with a fly ball to center field.

Cole Torbett threw the next 1 1/3 innings before Drew Honeycutt threw a strikeout to keep the Hilltoppers within striking distance. Ben Edwards led off the seventh with a single, but pinch runner Jaxon Diamond wasn’t able to advance from first base.

SPECIAL ADDITION

For the Vikings, it was perhaps the most meaningful victory in Roberts’ six-year tenure as head coach.

“It’s really special. When I was looking at it, I think we’re the smallest triple-A school left in this,” Roberts said. “It means a lot to the city of Bristol. There’s a lot of rich history in athletics at Tennessee High. To put our mark on the history book at Tennessee High, it’s something we will never forget.”

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