JASPER, Tenn. — When Marion County coach Steven Roberts revived the Sequatchie Valley Classic four years ago, it was with the idea that he and others could sharpen their skills for the postseason.
Never mindwinning championships, he said. This tournament was about using your Monday and Tuesday pitchers who normally are relegated to the bench or other positions because of district games. It was to take your best and fine tune, hopefully, against the best from others.
Marion County brought its best and even with ace Lucas Lloyd unable to consistently hit his spots, the Warriors won their first SVC championship by outslugging Franklin County 13-9.
Sunday’s schedule was pared by a game due to a miscommunication among host coaches. Upperman, which won the pool at Sequatchie County, had made it clear to Roberts that a Sunday appearance was out of the question. It left Knox Halls and Sequatchie as the contenders. Halls won but apparently didn’t know about Upperman’s departure leaving a Sunday slot open.
“I guess it makes us look bad, which I hate because we have tried to build this into a classy and competitive tournament,” Roberts said.
The team that was left without a semifinal opponent was Cleveland, which had bussed down I-75 and up I-24.
“Coach (Ted) Carson was really classy about the situation. He understood. I hate it, though, because they had to pay for a bus to come over,” Roberts said. “I offered to play them first and then play Franklin County.”
The end result was Marion, which had lost two previous championship games to Baylor, and Franklin playing for the title.
Marion was up to the challenge, coupling 12 hits with five Rebels errors for 13 runs to answering some questions Robert had.
The Warriors won four games to get to the finals. They defeated South Pittsburg 12-3, Grace Academy 14-1, Tullahoma 10-2 and Greenbrier 10-0.
“This has been one of our better weekends,” he said. “We did the things we needed to get done, and we got some good innings from our young guys. We’re coming together.”
It was veterans, though, leading the way Sunday afternoon. Joe Muir stroked a three-run homer and Zephan Guyer a two-run double in an eight-run second against Franklin County. Muir and Guyer each had two hits, while Caden Shadrick picked up four RBIs with a 2-for-5 effort.
The Warriors, who are scheduled to play Lookout Valley on Tuesday, will begin the District 6-AA tournament later this week.
MARION COUNTY 13, FRANKLIN COUNTY 9
Franklin County 102 204 0 — 9 13 5
Marion County 081 400 x — 13 12 2
WP: Lucas Lloyd (8-0). LP: Cody Jernigan. HR: Ben Moss, Matt Arnold (FC); Joe Muir (MC). 3B: Caden Shadrick (MC). 2B: Jernigan, Arnold (FC); Muir, Zephan Guyear, Cody Thacker. Highlights: Moss 2-5, 3 RBIs; Arnold 4-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs; Kyle Henshaw 3-4 (FC); Shadrick 2-5, 4 RBIs; Muir, 2-4, 3 RBIs; Guyear, 2-4, 2 RBIs; Jake Morgan 2-4 (MC). Record: Marion County 26-4.
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...