Clarksville, TN – Trailing for the first time this season with its ace Donny Everett on the mound, May 12th in the opening round of the Region 5-AAA tournament, Clarksville High School’s baseball team rallied to defeat the Beech High School Buccaneers 5-3 to reach the regional finals.
The victory also earns the Wildcats (29-5) a berth into the May 16th Sectional Tournament, where a win puts them into the TSSAA State Tournament field.
But it didn’t look early on like it may be the Wildcats night, with the Buccaneers (18-18) putting up single runs in both the first and third innings off Everett (11-0) – both coming off doubles by Isaac Robertson, driving in Jared Knight in the first and Jesse McKay in the third.“Beech came out with a great approach (at the plate) and had some very good swings,” Clarksville High coach Brian Hetland said. “We knew they weren’t the same team we beat earlier in the year.
“They got hot in their district tournament and when you beat Mt. Juliet (High School) and knock them off the roost then you’re doing something right.”
But Clarksville High would rally for three runs to take the lead for good in the bottom of the third inning.
Keandre Sadler and Justin Miller opened the inning with back-to-back walks, followed by a swinging bunt single by Brady Cook to load the bases – with no outs against Beech’s pitching ace Sam McWilliams (6-2).
Cook led CHS with three hits.
That brought up CHS’ number-two hitter Landon Mosteller, who hit a little come-backer to McWilliams, who threw it home to cut down Sadler at the plate.
But Beech’s catcher Josh Jarratt’s throw to first base to try to double up Mosteller was wild and went into right field allowing both Miller and Cook to score to tie the game 2-2 and get Mosteller all the way around to third base.
Nolen Milton would drive in Mosteller with the third run of the inning on a slow chopper to the right side of the Beech infield, with the throw home not being caught cleanly by Jarratt.
“We forced some thing on these guys and put some pressure on them to make played defensively,” Hetland said. “That’s our team offensively. We’re not going to sit there and knock the ball over the wall, but we are going to put pressure on people and make them make plays.”
Clarksville High would extend it lead out to 5-2 with two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning by taking advantage of a little more wildness from McWilliams.
Gabe Bowling walked to start the inning, followed by Luke Chilcutt being hit by a pitch.
Courtesy runner Mitch Muhlada – running for Bowling – and Chilcutt advanced a base on a sacrifice bunt by Sadler and then scored on a single up the middle by Miller, just out of the reach of Beech shortstop Tyler Maskill.
Those runs would be more than enough for Everett, who finished the complete game by pitching 95 pitches – 63 for strikes – while allowing one final run to Beech in the fifth inning on a single by Jacob Grava. Everett struck out 10.
“We are a pitching, defense team,” Hetland said. “When you have a great pitcher, you have to have a great defense or the pitcher is going to get toughed up.
“Tonight we limited opportunities for them by minimizing some situations and when Donny (Everett) got his breaking ball and change-up going it was a masterful performance.”
The Wildcats will now host Rossview High School in the region finals on May 14th at 7:00p.m., after the Hawks defeated Wilson Central High School 2-1 in the other half of the region bracket.
“It’s a treat for our league, 10-AAA baseball, to show what’s been accomplished over the past couple of years and the work that has been put into these programs,” Hetland said. “I’m happy that Rossview won and I’m happy that we’re here and it’s going to be a fun night, a huge game and a huge crowd on hand.”