Fans were treated to double header action Thursday night in Knoxville, Tennessee as the Eagles came to Knox Catholic high school to take on the Copperheads. The Eagles came in having lost their last two games while the Copperheads were hot and looking to keep the streak alive. The Eagles elected to send out Jacob Hanson while the Copperheads countered with Jordan Davis. Fans were treated to some good baseball Thursday afternoon as both offenses exploded for twenty-five runs. Although he did have struggles he gave his Eagles a great chance to win by limiting runners in scoring position and staying ahead in the game.
Jordan Davis began the game hot by striking out the side with ease, but that was not the case from start to finish. The Eagles offense came alive with a leadoff double from Malik Kyle. Kyle would advance on a passed ball and the Eagles took advantage of every freebie given to them in the inning. Jacob Rogers and Palmer Taylor walked, Micah Genter singled, and Bennett walked to score one and load the bases and then Andrew took it from there. Andrew unloaded the bases with a grand slam in the second and the Copperheads found themselves down six fast. Although Rogers and Mendenhall would single later in the game the Eagles would only be able to score one more time against the Copperhead bullpen.
Jacob Hanson was effective early on with help from his catcher Ethan Goforth who caught one runner sleeping at second and kept runners from stealing all game. Hanson gave one two many freebies with three walks and he hit one batter. His inability to find the strike zone and get ahead of runners was the problem as the righty only lasted 3 innings in the outing before handing it over to the bullpen to finish off the game.
The Copperhead offense in game one did their best to come back from a rough six run deficit early with help from the back of their lineup. Done Leo would hit a solo shot in the second and graham would follow with a single. Cameron Payne and Richey would hit back to back base hits pushing a couple more runs across making the score 6-4 after the second. They wouldn’t be able to score again until Richey singles to leadoff the fourth however there wasn’t any way of coming back. They did their best with a Gilbert and Cameron Payne singles but both would be stranded to drop game one 7-5.
Game two was a different story for both teams Andrew and Doughtry singles early and scored on a few passed balls and an error. The Eagles jumped out to an early 2-0 lead but that would be where the day ended for them. The Copperhead pitching staff would go on to strike them out fifteen times in the span of four innings. The offense fell completely silent in a dominant performance by the Copperhead pitchers.
On the offensive side the Copperheads took advantage of walks and hit by pitches. The Snakes were walked a total of five times while getting hit four more. Cade Gilbert was twice but found his way around both times to give his guys a chance to tie early on. Although they were given free passes the majority of the times Cameron Payne, Dom Leo, and Richey had base hits that would unload the bases in the second inning that made the game virtually impossible for an Eagle comeback.
The highlight of the game was easily the Copperhead pitching staff. Greg Valentine gave his guys a good start although he did give up two early runs, but he settled in during the second inning and gave Bubba Hubbard the ball and that’s when the strikeouts came in a hurry. Bubba pitched two innings while striking out all six batters he faced. He pitched front to back and stayed ahead of batters all day long and ultimately made it look easy. Cameron Bloebaum would come in to close out the game and follow his teammates by striking out the side as well. The crazy stat of the day was the Copperhead pitchers tallied every out of game two by striking out all the Eagles hitters giving them their fifteen outs. It was a masterful game by the pitching staff by only allowing three hits, no walks, two runs, and obviously fifteen strikeouts. The Copperheads went on to win the game 11-2 while riding their hot start and lights out pitching staff.
Catch these two teams back in action Tuesday night and get all the Smokey Mountain league news on our website netelitebaseball.com. Find the articles and much more under the collegiate league tab.