Hawks "played really well"

HARDIN VALLEY — If a baseball team can get either a strong pitching performance or solid hitting, it has a decent chance to win.

If it gets both, it’s gonna be a fun game.

On a warm, sunny afternoon Saturday, March 30, at home against Sevier County, Hardin Valley Academy saw its sophomore pitcher, Camden Huckaby, give up only three hits while striking out six. 

Offensively, the Hawks — state-ranked No. 3 in Division I Class 4A according to Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association — more than did their share. The result was a 12-0, four-inning run-ruled win that improved HVA’s record to 13-2 starting this week.

“We played really well,” Hawks skipper David Dillon said. “Today was the best day all year that we played a complete game. We didn’t make any errors, we hit the ball, we got great pitching.”

“I had one too many walks, but you just have to have that confidence on the mound,” Huckaby said. He issued three walks.

It was a rough day for Smoky Bears’ pitching. Three pitchers not only gave up nine hits, but issued eight walks, threw three wild pitches, hit two batters and had a balk. 

Virtually all the mistakes contributed to runs scoring. 

A four-run first inning gave HVA more runs than it  would need. Two walks and a single loaded the bases to start the inning. A single by Jax Sparks brought in the first run. After Mason Shelton scored on a wild pitch, Jacob Dillon hit a two-run double.

The Hawks blew the game wide open with six more in the second. After loading the bases again, Carter Goodwin drove in a pair of runs with a single to make it 6-0.

With the bases again loaded, Shelton’s single scored two more. 

A hit batsman and a walk loaded the bases yet again with one out. Boone Fields’ grounder to third could have ended the inning with a double play. But the ball was misplayed, allowing in two more runs.

In HVA’s fourth, a walk and three singles brought in two more runs and ended the game. 

The Hawks were 3-0 in District 4-4A entering this week, but Dillon knows the road ahead won’t be easy.

The first of two games against district rival and two-time defending Class 4A champion Farragut, top ranked by TBCA in 4A, is at FHS’s John Heatherly Field beginning at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 3.

“We have a good record, but we’re getting into the meat of our schedule right now,” coach Dillon said. “Our district is the toughest in the state. If you can compete in this district, you can compete in the state.”