WHITWELL, Tenn. -- A team already brimming with confidence and big-game experience doesn't need help, but South Pittsburg's baseball team got plenty of assistance Monday evening from Whitwell's Tigers.
The Tigers' seven errors helped the Pirates cruise to a 15-1, five-inning win and wrapped up the District 6-A regular-season title and the top seed for next week's district tournament.
"They definitely helped us out a lot," Pirates coach Wesley Stone said. "We put it in play, and when you do that you never know what can happen. They booted it around and we took advantage.
"We started out pretty slow with the bats this year, and pitching has been our strength. But in the last couple of weeks we've started hitting the ball a lot better. We're a much better team than we were just a month ago."
The win was the 100th for the Pirates' six seniors who have played since their freshman year. Going into today's home game against Whitwell, the final district game of the regular season, South Pittsburg hasn't lost to a 6-A opponent in more than two years.
The Pirates (20-7, 11-0), who scored just three earned runs, took full advantage of every extra at-bat to score 10 runs in the first two innings and put the game out of reach. It was more than enough support for senior left-hander Matt Allen, who gave up just one hit and struck out nine.
"It gives me a tremendous amount of confidence to have that much insurance to work with," said Allen, who also went 3-for-4 with three runs scored as the Pirates' leadoff batter. "You can throw it around the zone a little bit and not worry about having the pressure to make every pitch perfect.
"I'm real proud of the 100 wins because it says a lot about what we've been able to do to turn the program back around."
The Pirates had 11 hits, highlighted by Blaze Moats' two-run home run to center field. Michael Allen went 3-for-3 with four RBIs and scored two runs, and Cam Moss drove in two runs.
"We feel real good about our chances with Matt on the mound," Stone said. "Any time we can get him three or four runs, we feel real good, so for him to have that kind of support early on was big.
"This year's seniors are the ones I came in with, and they are largely responsible for the turnaround. It's a good milestone to say you won 100 games in a career. It's as good a four-year stretch as our program has had."
Contact Stephen Hargis at email@example.com or 423-757-6293.
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...