MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Just as important as Reid Clements' strong pitching and timely hitting by the bottom of the lineup, short-term memory loss by Silverdale Baptist Academy's entire baseball team helped the Seahawks reach a state championship game for the first time in any sport for the school.
Showing impressive resiliency, the Seahawks came back after just a half-hour to recover from an 18-1 loss to Decatur County Riverside to claim a 6-2 victory over the three-time defending Class A state champions. The win advanced Silverdale into today's state championship game against Friendship Christian at noon EDT at Middle Tennessee State University.
"I told the guys we just had to forget that first game completely," Silverdale coach John Adcock said. "We had to look at it as we had a one-game playoff, so go back out there and play the way we're capable of and see what happens.
"I don't know what team that was out there in the first game, but it wasn't Silverdale Baptist. I mean, we were making errors all over the place and just didn't show up."
Decatur County Riverside scored eight runs in the second inning to end all doubt of the first game's outcome and force a deciding second game.
But Silverdale showed no ill effects, coming back to score two runs in the fourth inning, another two in the fifth and yet another pair in the top of the seventh.
That was more than enough for Clements. The senior right-hander went the distance, striking out 10, to earn his second win of the tournament.
"Even after that first game, our whole team was confident," Clements said. "I felt confident from the first pitch in the bullpen. Everything I was throwing was working, so I felt great.
"We never flinched. No one wanted to go home today."
All six runs came from the Seahawks' 7-9 hitters, as Chance Brown went 2-for-4 with three RBIs, Colton Rogers was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and Jordan Delashmitt 2-for-4 with an RBI.
"Senior leadership and coaching is what kept us focused," Rogers said. "We knew we had a second game to come back and play, so we just forgot about that first one.
"For Reid to come out and throw like he did on just two days rest was huge and our bats really picked up when we needed it. It's exciting to know that we're going to be the first time in school history to play for a state championship."
Contact Stephen Hargis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6293.