JONESBOROUGH — Tennessee High avoided elimination on Saturday at the District 1-AAA baseball tournament with a 5-4 win over David Crockett.
Unfortunately for the Vikings, star center fielder Zak Kitzmiller did not.
After Tennessee High took a 5-4 lead against the Pioneers in the top of the seventh inning, Kitzmiller tried to provide an insurance run by stealing home for the second time in the game. This time, however, the pitch was handled cleanly by Crockett catcher Dakota Allen, who was waiting to tag out Kitzmiller.
As Kitzmiller approached the plate, he went airborne in an unsuccessful attempt to dodge the tag. Although he was clearly looking to avoid making contact with Allen, Kitzmiller was ejected from the game for breaking a rule put into place by the TSSAA that makes sliding into home plate mandatory in order to protect catchers from collisions.
Ejections are accompanied by a mandatory two-game suspension, so Kitzmiller should miss Tennessee High's game against top-seeded Dobyns-Bennett on Sunday.
"I'm going to try to get ahold of the TSSAA and see what's going on," said Tennessee High coach Preston Roberts said of Kitzmiller's status. "How terrible is that call? It takes the backbone of your defense, the backbone of your lineup, a four-year starter at the varsity level, the catalyst that makes things click. And for that to happen — it's unreal. I'm just shocked."
Kitzmiller had an RBI double in the first inning before stealing third base and home plate to stake the Vikings to a 2-0 lead. He finished with three hits. Freshman Zach Hall picked up the win for Tennessee High and Peyton Henley came on in the seventh to record his third save of the season.
Chase Miller took the loss for Crockett.
In other action, Science Hill and Daniel Boone both cruised to easy wins earlier in the day before scooting off to their respective proms. The Hilltoppers opened the day with a dominant 11-0 victory over Volunteer, allowing just one hit in at five-inning game that took a little more than an hour.
The Trailblazers followed with an equally impressive 8-0 win over Sullivan Central. Lefty Daniel Cox struck out nine batters and Cameron Clabough blasted a three-run homer to lead the Trailblazers, who will face Science Hill following D-B's game against Tennessee High, which will start at 2:05 p.m.
For an expanded version of this story, see Sunday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.comments powered by Disqus