Warriors dump Friendship Christian, stay alive in Division II-A state

KNOXVILLE — Zane Keener knew Christian Academy of Knoxville’s baseball team would play its final home game this season Saturday, May 12, hosting Friendship Christian School in a Division II-A state round of 16 showdown.

He wanted to make the best of it – and he did.

Keener and the rest of the Warriors took out some frustration in a 14-3 six-inning victory.

“We really struggled (in the Division II-A East Region championship game early last week in a 5-2 home loss) against Webb,” said Keener, a junior center fielder who went 4-for-5 with two doubles, three runs scored and four runs batted in — including a three-run homer that was the final blow of the game.

“We knew that this was our last time at home this season and we wanted to make the most of it,” he added.

With the victory, CAK (28-11) advances to the Division II-A state quarterfinals. The Warriors will take on Harding Academy in Memphis in a best-of-3 series later this week. Game times were not set at press time.

The winner of the series advances to the Spring Fling in Murfreesboro next week.

“We came out ready to play,” Warriors head coach Tommy Pharr said. “We swung the bats well and Jacob (Tate, starting pitcher) was solid on the mound. He did what he always does for us.”

CAK jumped on the Commanders, who finish the 2018 campaign with a 24-14 record, early. The Warriors scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning.

Keener doubled, went to third on Garrett Breeden’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Tate’s sacrifice fly. With two outs, Cole Campbell drove in a run with a single and Connor Jurek had a two-run double.

CAK would add three more in the second. Breeden had an RBI single and Tate added an RBI fielder’s choice. CAK picked up another run when Hunter Loyd reached on an error.

The Warriors took a 10-0 lead in the third as Breeden had a two-run double while Keener added an RBI single.

A sacrifice fly by Cooper Jackson plated Jurek, who singled to open the inning and advanced to third when Austin Jaslove singled. It was 11-2 CAK.

The Warriors ended things in the sixth. Jaslove walked to lead off and went to third when Jackson doubled. Both would score on Kenner’s game-ending three-run homer.