Colton Morgan had his moments Thursday evening, but there were way more for the pitching ace and his Central teammates to forget than to remember.
Entering their own tournament with a 9-3 record, the Purple Pounders found themselves victimized by a hit parade, the likes of which haven't been seen on Highway 58 in decades.
"Those guys drove two and a half hours to hit, and hit they did," Central coach Glen Carter said after his team had absorbed a 23-4 beatdown at the hands of visiting Morristown West.
"They put their best pitcher out there, and we put ours. Their pitcher hit his spots and we did not, and they hit the ball and we did not," said Carter, whose old Carson-Newman teammate, Chuck Stansberry, coaches the Morristown team.
Morgan (2-1) struck out seven in his three innings of work. He was victimized by some spotty defensive plays and inconsistent pitch location.
"They hit the ball well, but we were too fat with some of our pitches," Pounders pitching coach Cliff Morgan assessed. "He hadn't thrown in a week and maybe we should've had a couple of bullpens in that time, but he's a hard-nosed kid and he knows what he did. He'll bounce back."
The senior gave up nine runs and eight hits before he could get nine outs.
"We got a little fat on some pitches, especially when we had two strikes," Carter said.
Morgan was getting the outside call when he struck out the side, but Morristown quickly adjusted. He got three more strikeouts in the third, but it was the in-between that did him in -- a single, a strikeout, four singles, a strikeout, a walk, a single and then nine-hole batter Tyler Britt's three-run homer.
"We've been swinging the bats pretty well," Stansberry said. "As a matter of fact, four of our last five have been double-digit wins."
Included in that stretch was an 18-0 win over Cocke County. This one, though, was the Trojans' largest run total and their biggest margin of victory.
It wasn't just starters, either. Stansberry was pulling them in the sixth, and reserves -- for the most part -- batted around and contributed a home run, a double and eight of the Trojans' 11 sixth-inning runs.
Contact Ward Gossett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-886-4765.