Local talent shines at 10-state tourney

A Hardin Valley Academy rising sophomore pitcher stood out, keeping Atlanta Stars hitters off balance, in leading his 15-and-Under Diamond Simcox Blue to victory during a prestigious 10-state tournament Saturday afternoon, July 9.

Lefty Cullen Wilkes fired a one-hit, complete game shutout during World Wood Bat Simulator 14U-18U tournament on Farragut High School’s John Heatherly Field, as Diamond Blue won 3-0.

“He did pretty good keeping them off balance and throwing strikes when he needed to throw strikes,” Diamond Blue head coach Charles Torres said about Wilkes. “I guess they weren’t used to a lefty throwing that stuff he throws.”

The Stars were hardly offensive pushovers, coming off an 11-run offensive output in an 11-5 win versus Exposure Silver earlier that day before blanking Missouri Riverbats 15-0 Sunday, July 10.

With a few dozens teams in four age brackets rotating among several Knox area high school fields, Diamond Blue went on to beat the Riverbats 8-3 Saturday evening before defeating Colo-nels Baseball 12-4 Sunday,

July 10.

A pair of Farragut High School rising sophomores start for Diamond Blue. Catcher Ryan McCarthy “did a good job today behind home plate,” Torres said after beating the Stars.

Left fielder Zane Jesse “is a big hitter,” Torres added. Jesse made a diving catch to help out Wilkes Saturday.

“We’ve also got kids from CAK and [Knoxville] Catholic,” Torres said.

A pair of former KCHS Irish baseball players, Austin Kearney and Hunter Hayes, are Diamond Blue assistant coaches. “They’re doing a great job,” Torres said.

Of the “20-some games” Diamond Blue has played in a handful of tournaments this season according to Torres, the team has captured one tourney title. “That was our first tournament, here in Knox county, it was a Net Elite Tournament.

About eight teams from East Tennessee,” Torres said.

Upcoming tournaments will take Diamond Blue north and south of the Tennessee border. “[This] weekend we’re going to Kentucky, and the weekend after that we’re going to Perfect Game [tournament] in Atlanta,” Torres said.