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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6311. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/gh3sports.