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Hamm goes the distance in Devils’ win over Spartans

KEVIN MAYS • Mar 14, 2019 at 10:56 PM

COEBURN — Gate City coach Jonathon Salyer has found some things his team still needs to work on as the season progresses.

Still, the first-year Blue Devils baseball coach has guided his team to two straight wins to open the season.

The Blue Devils (2-0) got a complete-game, seven-strikeout performance from Tyler Hamm Thursday on the way to a 5-2 nondistrict win over Eastside at Alumni Stadium.

The win follows Gate City’s 8-5 nondistrict win over Tazewell on Wednesday.

Salyer used two pitchers in Wednesday’s win and turned to Hamm get the job on Thursday.

“Hamm going that long is amazing,” said Salyer.

Thursday’s victory, coupled with the season-opening win over Tazewell, has been a confidence booster for the Blue Devils.

“Eastside is always one of the best Class 1 baseball teams in the area. It’s always good to play them because they’re going to make you execute. They’re going to make you make plays,” said Salyer. “I think this will help us get ready for two conference games next week. We’re just trying to get better with each game.”

STRIKING EARLY

While Hamm went the distance on the mound, Eastside pitched by committee, using three different hurlers. But the Spartans (0-1) struggled to find an answer to shut down the Blue Devils.

The visitors scored one run in each of four innings, taking advantage of 10 walks in the contest.

Carter Babb led the Gate City attack with one hit and two RBIs. He also scored a run.

Austin Rittenberry suffered the loss, giving up two runs on two hits with five walks and two strikeouts in two innings of work.

Eastside had eight hits from seven different batters with a new lineup that included only one returning starter in Peyton Pope.

“We had seven guys that got a hit. I’ll take that right now,” said Eastside coach Chris Clay. “We certainly don’t have the veteran squad that we’ve had, but we had guys that were contributing in ways that they can.”

BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE

Clay said his team has the regular season to get better with each game in preparing for making a run at the postseason.

“I don’t want to get used to losing,” said Clay. “We’re going to scrimmage 20 times and get ready for the playoffs. We’re going to grow. I think we are and to think we’re starting like we did at this point, that’s encouraging.”

UP NEXT

Both teams are back in action Tuesday with Gate City traveling to Lee High in its first Mountain 7 District game of the season.

Eastside is at home against county rival Wise Central.

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