MURFREESBORO — Dobyns-Bennett's Sammy Stewart continued his slamming ways in Tuesday's TSSAA Class AAA opening-round baseball game at Oakland High School.
Unfortunately for the Tribe, Germantown's Houston had its own slugger lurking in the bottom of the order.
The Mustangs got a two-run homer from catcher Alex Sala in the fourth inning to tie the game at 3. He was again a factor when Houston scratched out runs in the seventh and eighth innings to beat the Indians 5-4.
"It's disappointing for everybody, but especially for our kids. Last year we came down and didn't play good in the first game. Today we played good," said D-B skipper Ryan Wagner, whose team beat the Mustangs 3-1 in the Warrior Classic at Mount Juliet earlier this season.
"It's not like we got our hearts caught up in our mouths. We played really good, we just didn't finish the game," he said.
Stewart, who went 3-for-3 with four RBIs batting out of the 9 spot, gave the Indians a 3-0 advantage with his three-run blast to left-center in the second inning.
Stewart, who at one point in the season rode a 3-for-37 slump, has been the Tribe's most reliably heroic hitter in the postseason.
"He had a big double at Sevier County and a big hit to win the game the other day," Wagner said. "Today was another big day for him."
The Indians had a good day at the plate collectively, outhitting Houston 12-8. Payton Marshall doubled and designated hitter Aaron Lawson had three hits, including a leadoff single in the bottom of the eighth.
The game-tying opportunity Lawson generated in the eighth slipped away when Kurt Mattioda bunted pinch-runner Quinton Polinski into a forceout at second. Stewart got on board a fourth and final time with a base on balls from Mustangs stopper Connor Haymon. Leadoff batter Sammy Salyers hit into a double play, and it was over.
D-B left nine men on base. Houston, an aggressive team on the basepaths, stranded four. The Mustangs came up with five diving catches, four of which occurred with Tribe runners in scoring position.
Both teams played error-free ball.
Sala went 2-for-3, also stroking a game-tying RBI double in the seventh inning that sent it to extra innings. Jake Greer, who struck out in three prior plate appearances, drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth.
The D-B defense disallowed an insurance run, gunning down pinch-runner Nikko Warmus at the plate for the second out.
Christian Bailey (4-3), who took over in the eighth for starter Logan Gentry, absorbed the loss.
Gentry, who remained unbeaten with 10 decisions, struck out seven and walked one over his seven inning shift.
"For this to be his second start on three days' rest ... Gentry pitched his butt off," Wagner said. "He threw 90 pitches on Friday night and he threw 100 pitches before we took him out tonight."
It's not over until it's over. On Wednesday the Indians (33-5-1) embark on a battle to ascend from the losers' bracket when they face Brentwood at Oakland at 11 a.m.
Houston (35-9) plays Dyer County on Wednesday afternoon at Oakland.comments powered by Disqus