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Early outburst catapults Blue Devils past ’Pack

Kevin Mays • Apr 15, 2019 at 11:21 PM

KINGSPORT — A big inning set the tone early for Gate City.

The Blue Devils used four hits and took advantage of three Ridgeview errors to score five runs in the first inning Monday on the way to a 12-2 Mountain 7 District baseball win at Hunter Wright Stadium.

The game was called after six innings because of the 10-run rule.

“We came out in the first inning putting the bat on the ball much better than we have been doing,” said Gate City coach Jonathon Salyer. “And you know in high school baseball if you can put pressure on people, good things will happen.

“We did that in the first inning and the second inning, too. Then after that we were seeing the fence too much. I think we got that big lead and we just kind of sat on it.”

Gate City (6-5, 3-3) added three runs in the bottom of the second and another in the third to build a 9-0 advantage. Ridgeview (2-8, 0-5) scored twice in the top of the fourth and held Gate City scoreless for two innings until the Blue Devils plated three runs in the bottom of the sixth to end the game.

BIG BATS, STRONG MOUND GAME

Gate City finished with 15 hits, which included a 4-for-5, three-RBI performance from senior Tyler Gardner.

“We’ve been working really hard in practice on trying to get line drives, trying to get good hits and hitting in the gap,” Gardner said.

“We came in with our heads high and ready to get back at it,” he added, “and hopefully we’ll keep it going.”

Fellow senior Jon Compton went 2-for-3 — a triple and an RBI double — and Carter Babb finished 3-for-5 with two RBIs. Jake Taylor also had a good day at the plate, going 2-for-3 with an RBI. Isaac Vincent finished 2-for-4.

The offensive power was more than enough for Gate City pitcher Mason Barnette (1-0), who picked up a complete-game win.

“I was just trying to be consistent with strikes,” Barnette said after giving up two runs on two hits with eight strikeouts and three walks.

Two of the walks and one of the hits Barnette gave up came in the fourth, when Ridgeview took advantage by scoring two runs.

HEAD GAME

It was a rough outing for the Wolfpack and coach Brad Counts, who watched his team commit five costly errors — three in the opening frame alone.

“We just put ourselves in the hole,” Counts said. “You’ve got to field the ball and make good throws. We didn’t and we just put in ourselves in a hole and we just couldn’t get out.

“It’s a mental breakdown and once that happens, it just changes your attitude,” he added. “And it’s hard to dig yourself out against a team that hit like they can hit.”

UP NEXT

Ridgeview is back in action Tuesday with another Mountain 7 road game at Lee High.

Gate City is at Hunter Wright again on Wednesday against Eastside. First pitch is set for 5 p.m.

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