published Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Mustangs outlast Cookeville

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Walker Valley baseball coach Joe Shamblin didn’t worry when Cookeville had two runs and five hits off starter Michael Houch in the first inning of their Region 3-AAA semifinal Monday night.

Why? Because he has plenty of arms.

Houston Spencer and Brandon Zajac combined to allow two hits in six innings of relief, and the Mustangs survived a wild seventh inning and advanced to Wednesday’s final with a 10-6 victory over the visiting Cavaliers.

The Mustangs (22-12-1) will host Soddy-Daisy, which won 10-1 at Coffee County. Both teams in Wednesday’s game will play in sectionals Friday.

“All of our pitchers did their job tonight,” Shamblin said. “We have to learn to finish. It got a little wild there at the end.”

Darien Tubbs led off the seventh with a single off Zajac and later scored on a wild pitch, cutting the lead to 10-5. Will Campbell scored on a Jared Davis sacrifice fly, but a flyout ended the Cavaliers’ hopes.

The Mustangs got two home runs in the first inning — a three-run shot by Cody Suttles and a two-run blast by Colton Ward — in taking a 5-2 lead. They erupted for five more runs in the fifth, on a double by Chris Caffney and singles by Ward and Jared Bloome.

“The guys are swinging with confidence,” Shamblin said. “We were able to hit a pair of home runs, both in situations in which there were two strikes and two outs.

“To get big hits in that manner was huge.”


• Soddy-Daisy 10, Coffee County 1: At Manchester, Nick Xoinis drove in four runs, Jake Leffew homered and doubled and James Fowlkes, Dalton Rogers and Hadyn Bailey had three hits apiece while Bailey improved his pitching record to 8-0 in the Trojans’ romp.

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/gh3sports.

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