KNOXVILLE — Hardin Valley Academy’s baseball team began its stay at the Scott Dean Memorial Tournament with a thrilling comeback victory at Christian Academy of Knoxville on Thursday, April 14.
The Hawks (18-5) had to hold on and get out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh inning in a contest that ended when the Warriors (17-7) were called for interference between second and third.
“I’ve never seen a game end like that,” HVA coach Joe Michalski said. “That was crazy. They had the bases loaded and they had the winning run on first base when the game ended. They were putting a rally together.”
“That was a really great game and it gave us momentum for the rest of the tournament.”
Warriors coach Tommy Pharr also said that he’d never seen a game end and such bizarre fashion.
“It was just one of those things,” he said. “I’ve seen interference calls but I’ve never seen the game end like that. A guy gets hit running between second and third.”
CAK, which notched a 7-4 District 4-AA victory over rival Knoxville Catholic Monday night, took a 1-0 lead in the first against the Hawks.
After that, Hardin Valley starter Nathan Johnson didn’t give up a hit in the second, third or fourth inning.
“Nathan pitched well for us,” Michalski said. “He did a great job. He didn’t give up a hit in the second through the fourth.
“We had a couple of errors during that time but he pitched around those and he pitched nicely.”
The Hawks took the lead with two runs in the top of the fifth and Michalski said that his squad benefitted from a momentum swing when Trevor Lloyd executed a sacrifice bunt.
“We scored two runs in the fifth and we saw the momentum shift when Trevor Lloyd got the bunt down and Matt Martin scored.”
Hardin Valley added another run in the frame and took a 2-1 lead on an RBI single by Ian Cox.
The Hawks scored two more runs in the top of the fifth to take a 4-1 lead and set the stage for the bizarre ending that left both Pharr and Michalski a bit surprised.
Johnson went 6 2/3 innings. He surrendered four hits and two runs (one earned) and three walks. He struck out three. He yielded singles to Trey Hinton, Spencer Strider and Hudson Chastain.
Johnson gave way to reliever Drew Parks, who recorded the final out of the contest on the interference call.
Offensively for the Hawks, Lloyd went 1-for-2 with an RBI and sacrifice bunt. Cox was 1-for-3 with a run batted in.”
Hardin Valley went on to post tournament wins over Chattanooga McCallie (6-2) and Knoxville Christian (11-2). The Hawks ended the tournament with a 10-8 loss to Grace Christian Academy.
“We didn’t play great baseball against Grace Christian,” Michalski said. “But you have to give them credit. For it to be the last day of the tournament, they really stayed focused on a hot day.”
Pharr said that he hopes the Warriors earned some momentum from tournament wins against Maryville and South-Doyle. CAK routed the Red Rebels 10-0 and throttled the Cherokees 11-1 before outlasting the Irish Monday night.
“I thought we bounced back and played pretty well in the tournament,” Pharr said. “Trey Hinton pitched for us against Catholic and he kept us in the game.
“He gave us a chance to win the game and we were able to win another wild game against Catholic.”