BIG STONE GAP - The Shupe Show is still playing, only at a different address.
Little did anybody think that legendary coach Mack Shupe could transfer his winning ways from J.J. Kelly to J.I. Burton, hardly a baseball-minded school. Well, maybe nobody but Shupe himself.
The Raiders shocked Powell Valley 13-0 in five innings Friday night with a thunderous 13-hit attack on four pitchers.
Powell Valley had beaten Burton in an early-season game 14-6.
Shupe, in his fifth season at the Raiders' helm, has a 10-2, 6-2 record this season. The school is only a game behind Lonesome Pine District leader J.J. Kelly.
Before his arrival, Burton had not enjoyed a winning season in about 30 years. It didn't happen overnight. Shupe landed one in his third season.
Norton is beginning to look more like a baseball landscape every time the Raiders take to the field.
Burton has been getting hits and scoring runs in volume.
"We can hit with anybody,'' Shupe said. "Against Clintwood, we knocked out window lights. I thought we were going to kill somebody.
"We have good athletes who are learning how to play the game.''
Ethan Stewart blasted a 365-foot home run and Doug Jacobs had a three-run homer to lead the charge against Powell Valley.
Stewart - who is hitting .670 - hasn't struck out all season, his coach said.
"We're going to score runs,'' Shupe said. "It's just a matter of making the routine plays. We've gotten better defensively. That's been the key.''
Burton had a team batting average of .425 after 11 games.
Of the 13 runs scored by Burton against the Vikings, 10 came in the top three positions of the batting order.
Pat Begley, a 6-foot-2, 175-pound junior right-hander, tossed a three-hitter to pick up his sixth win. Moving his pitches around and changing speeds, Begley kept Powell Valley's batters off balance throughout.
"In 28 innings Begley has given up just one earned run,'' Shupe said. "He didn't have his best game today. When Begley's on, he's tough. He's the type of pitcher who could give people over in Northeast Tennessee trouble.''
Begley also swung the bat with authority. His 4-for-4 performance led Burton's hit parade. Collecting two hits each were Stewart, Martinez Miles and Jacobs.
"Having good mechanics and the discipline to stay off bad pitches,'' Shupe said, "is what it takes to develop quality hitting.''
Burton, if not this season, may be a team of the future. The Raiders have just two seniors in the starting lineup.
It'll be interesting to see how high Shupe can actually elevate the program. At J.J. Kelly, his teams brought home eight state championships and in one stretch won 72 consecutive LPD games.
Powell Valley coach Jim Kelly also has a youth movement under way. His lineup includes three freshmen and two sophomores.
"We're very young,'' said Kelly, whose team dropped to 6-4, 4-4. "We've got a lot of kids who haven't played very much.
"After having a pretty good start, we've lost confidence in ourselves," he added. "We've got to go back to work.''