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D-B rallies past Crockett, further muddies water of conference race

Bill Lane • Apr 13, 2010 at 12:00 AM

JONESBOROUGH — The Big 8 Conference baseball wheel of fortune is still spinning. After one month of competition, there’s still no clear-cut favorite in the championship race.

Dobyns-Bennett defeated David Crockett 13-9 on Tuesday night with a thunderous rally to overcome a 5-1 deficit.

Science Hill, D-B, Crockett, Sullivan South, Daniel Boone and Tennessee High all have an eye on the prize.

“It’s a logjam,’’ D-B coach Mike Ritz said. “Three losses will win it outright. Four would probably mean a tie.’’

The umpires arrived at Crockett 35 minutes late, putting both teams on edge. After 31 hits, seven errors, five walks and 22 runs, D-B (15-4, 5-3) had knocked the Pioneers (10-5, 5-3) back a notch in the chase for a prime District 1-AAA seeding.

D-B chased left-hander Clint Freeman, an East Tennessee State University signee, by pushing home six runs in the sixth inning.

Freeman appeared to be in position to win after Crockett scored two runs in the first inning and three in the third.

However, D-B’s bats came alive in the late innings. Elijah Sutherland singled in each the fifth, sixth and seven innings. Nick Loughry singled twice and tripled in his last three plate appearances. Chris Cook drove in four runs with two hits and a forceout in his last three at-bats. Conner Gunn singled, doubled twice and drew a run-scoring walk for three RBIs. Garrett Clark got a two-run single to cap the Tribe’s biggest inning.

“We just started hitting the ball,’’ Ritz said. “We’d been seeing so many left-handers, we figured sooner or later we’d get to one of them. We saw a kid from McCreary, Ky., Daniel Boone’s Kevin Connell and Science Hill’s Daniel Norris. Freeman is a great pitcher as well.

“We were hanging on for dear life at the end but got it done. Crockett has a strong-hitting ballclub.’’

D-B divided its pitching between Peyton Taylor and Kyle Brandon. “One more batter in the seventh and we’d have gone to a third pitcher, even tough Kyle is our ace,’’ Ritz said.

Loughry, a second baseman, made the defensive play of the game in the fifth. He dived to knock down what might have been a hit and tossed the ball to the shortstop, forcing a runner by inches.

Reliever Joe Ganger got three hits for the Pioneers, as did Jacob Berry. Ganger drove in three runs.

D-B scored 12 runs in the final three innings.

“(The Indians) hit some balls hard,’’ Crockett coach Scott Hagy said, “but had several hits just fall into the right places. We didn’t have an answer to stop them. There’s a reason they’ve won 15 games.

“Clint has had some tough luck. When you score nine runs, you feel like you should win. We were thinking that we controlled our own destiny. Now, we’ve got to have help.’’

D-B will host Letcher, Ky., at 6 p.m. Friday. Crockett will play in Knoxville on Friday, going against Farragut at 3:30 p.m. and then facing Ross View after that game.

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