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Silverdale Baptist Academy accomplished its first goal of the 2018 high school baseball season Tuesday. It’s not even mid-April, but the Seahawks already know they’ll be top-seeded when the Division II-A East District tournament comes around at the end of the season.
Chase Cook’s fifth RBI came on a full-count walk with two out in the bottom of the seventh inning and lifted Silverdale past Chattanooga Christian 6-5 at Silverdale.
With at least a three-game lead over all other teams in the district, SBA (13-0, 8-0) has secured the regular-season championship. It now will look to repeat as a district champion, albeit last year’s title was in District 5-A before the TSSAA reclassified this school year and expanded Division II to include more private schools.
“We lost a lot of seniors last year,” Silverdale coach Gray Ange said. “We lost one through six in our lineup. I don’t think a lot of people had high expectations for us coming into this year.”
Caleb Stafford grounded a single up the middle to start the Seahawks’ seventh off CCS ace reliever John Rhodes (0-1). Back-to-back plays with throwing errors left the bases loaded with none out.
Rhodes held Stafford in check at third with a lineout to center and a strikeout. But Cook, who had singled in a run in a two-run first and added a three-run homer in the third, worked the right-hander for the winning walk.
“We were fortunate to win today,” Ange said. “CCS has a great team. They have a lot of talented players. I was telling the guys after the game, ‘It’s hard to win when you make four errors.’ I haven’t been on the winning side a lot in those games where you make four errors, in my 13 years coaching. This team has been a special team to this point. They find ways to win.”
SBA had four errors, but the Chargers had five. None of the runs allowed by starter Nathanael Kapp, who hit a solo home run in the fourth, nor Rhodes were earned.
Winning pitcher Dylan Bryant (5-0) went the distance, allowing seven hits and two earned runs with no walks and six strikeouts. He was aided by having two runners thrown out at the plate, another tagged out in a rundown between third and home and one doubled off second, and he picked another off first.
“One thing is we kind of pride ourselves in being aggressive,” CCS coach Ben Wharton said. “But there’s a difference between making an aggressive mistake and making a mistake on the bases. We just got a couple of misreads, ultimately.”
Sawyer Jenkins went 3-for-4 for SBA. He drove in one run and scored one.
Chase McBryar was 2-for-4 with an RBI for the Chargers, who scored 14 runs the last two days against the champs.
“They’re not giving up a whole lot of runs per game,” Wharton said. “We’ve proven we can hit their pitching. We played with them. But baseball is a game where you can’t give a good team extra outs. They capitalized on every single mistake we made.
“It really made me proud the way the guys played the game. We believe that’s going to pay off for us somewhere down the road.”
Contact Kelley Smiddie at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6653. Follow him on Twitter @KelleySmiddie.
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