KINGSPORT - It's unusual for a former player whose record still stands to want it broken, but Anthony Richardson does.
Richardson, Sullivan South's baseball coach, would like to see Seth Pearson eclipse the single-season home run record he set as a Rebel hitter nearly two decades ago.
Pearson, a designated hitter, smashed his eighth homer of the season Tuesday night in an 8-5 victory over Sullivan Central.
"Sure, I'm all for it if Seth beats the record,'' Richardson said. "If he does, that means our team is being successful.''
Richardson's record of 11 has withstood a few challenges. Pearson appears to be making a serious charge at it.
Pearson, a .310 hitter, has always hit with power. This year, he's swinging differently.
"In the past, Seth did it with upper body strength because he was so much stronger than everybody else,'' Richardson said. "Finally, he's using his legs. He worked hard all winter to improve and has been more relaxed at the plate this spring.''
Pearson's 375-foot homer to straightaway center field snapped a 2-2 tie in the third inning.
But it took clutch hits by Ben Daniels, Justin Crawford and Josh Bedingfield late in the game to eventually decide the win and atone for an early-season loss to the Cougars.
Tristan Archer, a 6-foot-2 sophomore, rescued the Rebels from a bases-loaded jam in the fifth and pitched 2 2-3 innings of scoreless ball. Archer (4-2) allowed just one hit in picking up the win.
"His stock is going up,'' Richardson said of Archer. "We easily could have lost it.
"Tristan had looked good against Gate City, striking out 13 batters. I believe he gained confidence with that game.''
South (12-10, 6-5) and Central (13-11, 5-7) combined for 22 hits. Each team stranded nine runners.
"We left too many runners on base,'' Central coach Brandon Krantz said. "South got clutch hits, made plays and deserved to win.
"It was a combination of factors. We didn't do the little things we'd been doing all year.''
After South opened a 2-0 lead on two walks and hits by Taylor Sewell and Tyler Ball, Central caught up with a 355-foot homer by Carl Roberts.
Pearson's homer gave South the upper hand again but Central chipped away to go ahead 5-4.
Hits by Gary McMurray and Zach Nussman got one run in the fourth and the Cougars scored two more in the fifth as Will Leonard doubled and Peter Mociran, Jeremy McMurray and Gary McMurray each singled.
Central exploded for three in the fifth. Two walks, a sacrifice, Sewell's bunt single, an RBI fielder's choice by Ball and Daniels' hit put South in front 7-5.
The Rebels added insurance in the sixth when Bedingfield singled and scored on an error after Crawford singled.
Ball, who finished 3-for-4, led South's 12-hit attack.
A disputed double play by the Cougars took South out of a big inning in the fourth.