KINGSPORT - It took less than 22 hours for No. 2-ranked Dobyns-Bennett to recoil and strike again after being upset by No. 6 Science Hill in the District 1-AAA baseball tournament.
Flipped into the losers bracket Tuesday night with a 7-5 loss to Science Hill, the Indians were back on track Wednesday night. They defeated Sullivan South 12-2 in a six-inning elimination game.
D-B (32-5), emerging from the loser bracket, will take on Science Hill (30-5) at 5 p.m. today in the championship round. The Hilltoppers need a win to earn the district title. Should D-B win, a second game at 7:30 p.m. would be necessary to detemine the champion.
Both Science Hill and D-B, in their quest to reach the state tourney, have qualified for the Region 1 playoffs - scheduled Monday and Wednesday. The champion will get to host in the region, while the runner-up must travel. Their opponents will be Morristown West and Cocke County. The TSSAA sectional is set for the following Friday.
D-B unleashed a devastating 17-hit attack against two South pitchers. Leading the parade were Wesley Lane, Jordan Adams and Bo Burton with three hits apiece.
Substitute designated hitter Lane Taylor and Adams each drove in three runs.
Derek Trent, D-B's new "Sultan of Swat," hammered his 18th home run of the year and drew four walks. Each time he puts one over the fence, it extends the school record.
"I got it off the end of the bat a little,'' Trent said of his homer, "but the ball carried.''
Trent, whose weapon is a 33-inch bat, said he doesn't necessarily swing for homers. "I just look to get base hits.''
With another run batted in, Trent climbed to within one of Ben Cook's season RBI record and Brad Steele's career RBI standard at D-B.
Trent already has the school's career mark for doubles. Easton Ring is on the verge of breaking the season record for two-baggers.
D-B coach Mike Ritz said he wasn't a bit surprised that his team stormed back with a vengeance after losing to Science Hill. "They're a resilient bunch,'' he said.
With the 10-run rule in effect, the game ended with one out in the sixth inning when Ring singled home Trent to make the score 12-2.
Lane, who collected his fifth homer, pitched the win. He scattered seven hits.
"Wesley is a competitor,'' pitching coach Josh Warner said. "He hates to lose. He goes to the mound with that mentality.''
Lane led off the game with a homer - just as he had against Science Hill - but this time D-B made an early 3-0 lead stick.
The outcome was imminent after Trent sent his 375-foot homer sailing over the center field fence for a 5-1 lead.
Lane, who overcame a sore arm to return to D-B's pitching rotation, had a four-hitter entering the sixth. He needed only 84 pitches to dispatch the Rebels, who were led by Josh Bedingfield with two doubles.
"We had our backs to the wall,'' Lane said. "It was either win or be eliminated.''
Lane's 350-foot homer to left got the Indians' thunderous attack going. "(Tyler Ball) threw me a fast ball on a 3-2 count,'' he said.
D-B needed and got a complete game from Lane.
Ritz must focus not only on today's round but next week's regional phase as well. He doesn't plan to pitch either of his aces, Burton and Tyler Joyce, against Science Hill. He's expected to start Lucas Henderson. In relief will be Gabe Overcast, Ryan Hammond, Wesley Jones and David Atchley.
"We're going to try to win,'' Ritz said. "We'll use the five pitchers we have left, if necessary.''
Science Hill will counter with pitcher Benjamin McKinney.
South, a young team, closed out with a 20-16 record. "We probably made it a little further than most people thought we would,'' coach Anthony Richardson said.
The tourney is being played on South's field.