Team Tennessee improved to 12-1 in the annual Tennessee-Georgia baseball Classic, besting Georgia 4-0 Wednesday in the annual Stump on Sports contest.
The shutout marked Tennessee's fifth win in the last six games.
"We hit the ball, we pitched well and we defended," said Tennessee coach Steve Garland of East Hamilton.
The Volunteer state banged out 13 hits led by John Simmons' 2-for-2 showing and Nathan Murrell's 2-for-3 effort. East Hamilton's Hunter Parker's two-run single in the second gave Tennessee all the runs it would need but Tyner's Chae Butler and Coffee County's Peyton Meeker added insurance RBIs in the fourth. Simmons played for Walker Valley and Murrell for Boyd-Buchanan.
Parker, who was obviously enjoying himself from the start of events in the home run derby, was named the game's MVP. The left-fielder nailed a runner at second base and then moved to center and made a rally-killing catch almost at the wall.
"I didn't steal a base, and I didn't pitch," the Chattanooga State signee said. "But, yeah, I was having fun."
Parker was running Gatorade to good friend John Hennen of McCallie during the home run derby. Hennen, who didn't hit a single homer during his four-year career with the Blue Tornado, reached the championship round and hit two in the finals.
"I got him there and then he choked," snickered Parker, who had given Hennen a ride to the game. "This game, though, is all about fun, getting from the area and other teams and just playing and having a good time with no pressure."
Hennen and Dalton's Grant Sane finished in a second-place tie for the derby title behind Blake Foster. The Southeast Whitfield slugger blasted high and deep shots in the spacious McCallie ballfield on two of his first three final-round at-bats.
Tennessee turned a pair of double plays but also got a huge defensive play from East Hamilton's Hunter Owen, who nailed a runner going from first to third with an on-the-fly strike.
"I hate to single out those plays from the outfielders. Yes, those were big outs, but we pretty much played solid defense across the field," Garland said.
They also pitched pretty well from starter Elliott Dockery to ninth-inning pitcher Christian Amos.
"We debated on which of those two to start and decided to go with Dockery, thinking about his home-field knowledge and the fact that he was the winning pitcher in McCallie's state championship game," Garland said.
Dockery and Soddy-Daisy's Amos, who pitched the ninth, sandwiched the combined shutout effort aided by Tyner's Butler, East Hamilton's Matt Hinshaw, Soddy-Daisy's Ryan Mahaffey, Ooltewah's Logan Fugate, McCallie's Cole Songer and Walker Valley's Simmons.
Georgia MVP was Heritage pitcher Ryan Parker, who struck out the side in one of his innings.
Contact Ward Gossett at email@example.com or 423-886-4765. Follow him at Twitter.com/wardgossett.
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 ...