Hardin Valley — Hardin Valley Academy did a lot of little things — and one big thing, the third prodigious blast off the bat of Ryder Green in a week — to defeat Maryville 9-4 last Wednesday evening.
After belting two out of Smokies Stadium in last week’s outing against Sevier County, sophomore Green capped the Hawks output driving in Trevor Lloyd and Ian Cox with a fifth-inning home run that was still rising as it flew past the left-field scoreboard and stopped only when it skipped into the HVA gymnasium wall.
“I was looking for a fastball after he missed on his first pitch,” the Kentucky commitment said. “I was just trying to put a good swing on it. It was more of a line drive than anything, there was not a lot of lift to it.”
The Hawks (8-2, 3-1 in District 4-AAA) did much more than one blast, and their efficiency was highlighted by a weak Red Rebel defense which had three charged errors and two misjudged flies dropping for extra HVA bases.
Kevin Marth took the win, yielding just three hits, walking none and striking out four in his six innings against the Red Rebels (3-7, 2-3).
“I just tried to stay down in the zone and hit my spots and let my defense do the work,” Marth said. “(Maryville) got a lot of ground balls on the first or second pitches, so I only pitched 76 pitches tonight.”
Seven Hawks combined for the team’s 11 hits, with cleanup Matt Martin leading the attack with three hits including an RBI single in the first, a single and run scored in the third and a perfectly executed hit-and-run which helped score Green one batter later on another Maryville error.
The bottom of the Hawks order was especially productive. Cox and Mason McCroskey both had two hits and with Lloyd, the final three slots of the order drove in four of the Hawk runs.
McCroskey said, “I think the whole team had a good approach tonight. Not a lot of fly-outs, not a lot of ground balls, and that’s what we want. Just attack early, attack the fast ball, hit something hard on a line and it really paid off for us tonight.”
The most productive inning for the Hawks was the third, aided in part by two more of those little things — successful bunts. After Martin and Tyler Thompson reached on singles and advanced on an outfield error, Cam Fisher was walked intentionally but the move proved futile as McCroskey drove a rope down the right field line, plating two. Maryville switched from starter and losing pitcher Will Orren to Luke Lindeman but a successful RBI sacrifice bunt by Lloyd followed by an even better bunt from Cox — a slow roller riding the edge of the third-base grass line for a single — scored two more.
HVA combined offense with a tight defense to back up Marth and Tanner Cameron, who gave up a final Red Rebel run throwing the final frame. Catcher Landen Beyer threw out three, two of them on back-to-back plays to ruin a Red Rebel rally in the third, leading the defensive work.
“I don’t like having people get to second base because that just puts the double play out of order,” Beyer said. “It really gets you going, it gets the team going too. It’s a big energy boost.”
Maryville scored one with hits by Matt Young and Brian Tillery in the second, added two in the sixth on a double by Young, and one more in the final frame on a hit batter, a single by Bryce Carnes and a sacrifice fly before Cameron induced an infield pop-up snared by Green.