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South's Archer pitches South past Gate City

BILL LANE • Apr 13, 2007 at 9:03 AM

KINGSPORT - Coaches tend to search for new sources of pitching help in invitational baseball tournaments.

Sullivan South's Anthony Richardson did just that Thursday night in the Coca-Cola Classic and liked what he saw.

Sophomore righthander Tristan Archer fired a two-hitter and struck out 13 batters in a 5-0 victory over Gate City.

"This is the best pitching performance we've had this year," Richardson said. "If Tristan hadn't pitched well, it might have been a different game."

The only hits off Archer were singles by Luke Kirk and Joe Riner. He walked two batters.

Archer delivered his curve to various points of the strike zone and consistently stayed ahead in the count.

"He threw the curve over tonight," Richardson said. "A lot of times Tristan has tried to baby it and thrown the ball into the dirt. If he continues to pitch like that, he can compete in this league."

South, a Big 9 Conference school, had difficulty scoring against Gate City pitcher John Pope, who was spinning a shutout until the Rebels rounded the bases three times in the fourth inning.

South parlayed a walk, a sacrifice and three errors into a 3-0 lead. The Rebels got hits in that inning from Kaleb Kitzmiller and Taylor Sewell, but both came after all three runs had scored.

South added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth when Ben Daniels got a bases-loaded, ground-rule double.

Gate City coach Shannon Carter said it was a matter of execution.

"South executed and we didn't," he said, noting the Rebels "do the little things well and this wins games. Their pitcher threw a great game. Pope also was outstanding. We had South on the ropes until the fourth."

Richardson will reach into his bag of tricks again tonight. He's bringing Josh Campbell, another sophomore, up from the junior varsity to face the dangerous bats of Morristown West.

"It should be interesting," Richardson said.

West unloaded 12 hits and pitchers Logan Wild and Austin Bridgewater combined for a six-hitter in a 10-2 win over Unicoi County. The Blue Devils' Keaton Corn was 3-for-4.

North coach Steve Dixon also hit the jackpot with a sophomore pitcher. Brandon Black tossed a one-hitter as the Golden Raiders beat David Crockett 2-0. Black fanned eight batters.

His counterpart, freshman Clint Freeman, struck out 11 in a six-inning stint.

"Brandon pitched well against Crockett," Dixon said. "It was a great pitching duel between two underclassmen. Both could be pitching some big games in the future."

North scored both its runs in the sixth. Clay Colley struck out but reached first base when the ball got away from the catcher. He advanced on a passed ball and scored on Brandon Morelock's single. Morelock crossed the plate on an infield error.

Dixon will keep the youth movement going tonight by pitching sophomore Andrew Glover against Greeneville.

Greeneville defeated Sullivan East 15-8 in a hail of home runs.

The Greene Devils' Josh Hall had a grand slam and teammates T.J. Knight and Justin Merkle followed up with solo shots.

East's Myles Key hit a pair of solo homers.

"It seemed like both teams were a little flat," Greeneville coach Randy Richards said. "We hadn't played in a week - since coming back from a tournament at Charleston, S.C."

Knight pitched the win, striking out six batters.

The classic is being played at four sites - Dobyns-Bennett, South, North and Daniel Boone. Doubleheaders are scheduled on each field at 5 and 7:30 tonight.

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