A district-games starting pitcher a year ago, Jackson Etter was called upon to make his first start of 2016 on Tuesday.
Despite a brisk breeze and plummeting temperatures, he was ready.
The junior right-hander turned in a high school career best, allowing just four hits while striking out 12 as Signal Mountain needed just five innings to blow by visiting Bledsoe County 16-1.
"Happy? I'm very happy," he said after ending the District 7-AA game with three strikeouts in the fifth. "I'm happy to start instead of relieving, although I realize (pitching in relief) is what's best for the team."
Etter pitched two innings of Monday's game at Bledsoe, an 8-0 Signal win, and likely would have pitched in relief again Tuesday. He was most willing to take the ball, though, after Seth Wicker, who was to have started, developed some tightness in his shoulder.
"We've been using him as more of a closer, trying to keep his innings down, but he was available and ready," Eagles coach Josh Gandy said. "He likes starting but he also loves the (relief) role because he gets to take the ball more days in the week, and he loves that."
Regardless, Etter is going to get his playing time, even if it's at third base, because Gandy and the Signal staff love his work with a bat.
Etter had two hits in four appearances, scoring three runs and knocking in two. It was, though, a teamwide hit parade compared to Monday's performance.
"The only good thing to come out of yesterday was the win," Gandy said. "We had a poor (offensive) approach. Today the kids were ready to play as soon as school was over."
Signal had 12 hits with Drew Lowry and Lee Nagle also contributing multihit games. Nagle had three RBIs and Lowry and Grant Galbraith two apiece.
Signal, thanks to some walks and hit batsmen, scored eight first-inning runs, very much setting the evening tempo early.
It was one of those insufferable outings for Bledsoe, which was missing one of its two regular district-game starting pitchers.
"The guy we chose has a unique delivery, and we thought it might keep them off balance. Obviously that didn't work and we didn't do a good job of responding," Warriors coach Dustin Smith said. "Signal came out hitting, and I don't know who we could've started the way they were hitting."
Contact Ward Gossett at email@example.com or 423-886-4765. Follow him at Twitter.com/wardgossett.