KINGSPORT — Resiliency is something coaches can’t teach. Dobyns-Bennett’s baseball team certainly had it Thursday at J. Fred Johnson Stadium.
The Indians (6-1) bounced back from a 9-1 deficit to defeat Gate City 11-9 and clinch a Coca-Cola Classic pool championship.
It took a nine-run rally in the fifth inning for D-B to overcome the Blue Devils’ big lead. Home runs by Nathan Millsap and Garrett Clark provided the thrust.
Until that uprising, Gate City southpaw Wes Hughes had the Tribe eating out of his hands.
“When pitchers are out of gas, they’re out of gas,’’ Gate City coach Darren Reed said. “What’s great about this tournament is, it introduces players to a lot of different situations.
“The one we faced today was like going to the dentist. You have to be able to stand it.’’
Gate City struck for a quick 5-0 lead and increased it to 9-1 with an impressive display of hitting and base running. The key hit was a two-run homer by Dusty Clark.
It all came tumbling down in the fifth.
“This wasn’t a particularly well-played game but it was exciting,’’ D-B coach Mike Ritz said. “We’ve not had a comeback quite like that in a while.’’
Millsap led D-B’s 10-hit attack with a homer, double and single.
Gate City also collected 10 hits. Dusty Clark, Trey Clark and Hughes each had two.
D-B returned to the field and beat Sullivan North 11-1 in a six-inning game.
Adam Mays pitched a four-hitter for the win.
“He kept us from standing around on defense by throwing strikes,’’ Ritz said. “We played a steady game.’’
Nick Loughry, Millsap and Clark each got a pair of hits to spearhead D-B’s 13-hit assault.
North coach Steve Dixon wasn’t disheartened by his team’s effort. Several outstanding defensive plays were made.
“We’re going to be all right,’’ he said. “We have a lot of boys back but they don’t have much experience. They just need playing time. We started three freshmen tonight.’’
Dylan Price got two of North’s four hits.
D-B and Sullivan South will be in Saturday’s semifinals.
The home-standing Rebels defeated Volunteer 13-3 in six innings to win their pool championship.
Making his first start of the year, winning pitcher Tanner Smith allowed six hits but bore down in the pinches.
South (4-2) has won four games in a row while scoring 48 runs and playing sound defense.
“We’ve been getting timely hits and quality pitching,’’ Rebels coach Anthony Richardson said. “If we continue to play good defense and the pitchers throw strikes, we’ll be in most ballgames.’’
Bailee Dick, Reid Mathews and Smith each doubled to lead the South charge.
“Baseball is the same game it was 100 years ago,’’ Volunteer coach Daris Green said. “We’re just trying to get a winning tradition going. You don’t beat a team like South by walking batters like we did today.’’