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Dobyns-Bennett to face off with Science Hill after defeating Trojans

BILL LANE • May 15, 2007 at 12:33 PM

MORRISTOWN - State baseball powers Dobyns-Bennett (33-6) and Science Hill (32-5) will be tangling for the sixth time Wednesday night in Johnson City.

D-B defeated Morristown West 5-1 Monday night in the Region 1-AAA playoffs to qualify for the TSSAA sectionals, scheduled for Friday.

At stake when the Indians meet the Hilltoppers at 7 p.m. at Cardinal Park is home-field advantage for the sectionals. The winner gets to host a Knoxville-area team while the loser must travel there.

D-B, in a come-from-behind win, banged out 10 hits and played exceptional defense.

Fireballing right-hander Bo Burton pitched a four-hitter and also hit a home run to lead the Indians. Throwing 65 of 109 pitches for strikes, he struck out six batters and walked three.

The only run off Burton came in the third inning. Brandon Boyd hit a ground-rule double and scored when Logan Welch tripled into the right-field corner.

Wesley Jones collected three of D-B's hits and Easton Ring and Wesley Lane got two apiece.

It took D-B awhile to conquer hard-throwing Trojans right-hander Austin Bridgewater but it eventually happened.

Burton and Bridgewater were locked in a 1-1 pitching duel until the fifth inning.

"That ball was running and jamming us,'' D-B coach Mike Ritz said of Bridgewater's fastball. "He was moving his pitches in and out and had a sharp-breaking curve. He's a good pitcher and Morristown West had a strong team - one that split a pair of one-run games with South-Doyle.''

Burton did not strike out a batter until the third inning. Once he got command of his curveball and changeup, the Trojans had difficulty at the plate.

"My curve was the best it's been all year,'' Burton said.

"I wasn't sharp at first but my teammates did a good job of keeping me up. They played great defense.''

After D-B took a 4-1 lead with three runs in the fifth, Burton helped his own cause with a 350-foot, seventh-inning homer.

"I was looking for a fastball and was able to get the barrel of the bat on it in front of the plate,'' he said.

It was Burton's first homer of the season.

Seemingly stronger in the late innings than at the start, Burton struck out five of the last nine batters he faced.

"Bo got better as the game went along,'' pitching coach Josh Warner said. "Once he settled in, he was very effective. Bo has conditioned on his own to build endurance.''

D-B got its first run in the fourth. Jordan Adams and Ring singled. Darin Trent moved them with a sacrifice bunt. Burton's slow grounder was misplayed, scoring Adams.

The Indians scored three times in the fifth. Lane opened with a walk. Derek Trent singled him to third and took second on the throw-in. Adams lofted a sacrifice fly and Ring and Jones each got a run-scoring hit.

"D-B has a very solid team,'' M-West coach Chuck Stansberry said. "Burton pitched a good game.

"With a break here and there, the game could have been a little different. But that's baseball. It's a game of inches. D-B swung the bats in clutch situations.''

Stansberry had his Trojans walk Derek Trent twice intentionally. The word is out pretty much everywhere that he's belted 18 homers.

M-West, the Inter-Mountain Conference and District 2 champion, finished with a 24-10 record. Bridgewater closed out at 7-2.

Science Hill, also a sectional qualifier, won the other Region 1 game 8-0 over Cocke County.

D-B won the Big 9 Conference title only to see Science Hill rise up and take District 1 laurels.

Ritz declined to announce a starting pitcher for the Science Hill game. After beating the Hilltoppers three times, the Tribe lost to them twice to them in the District 1 tournament.

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