With just one out and the bases loaded, Soddy-Daisy sophomore pitcher Landon Maynor showed no frustration as he handed the baseball to his coach.
Despite the tying run standing at second base, the winning run on first and the heart of Ooltewah's lineup coming to bat, Maynor was confident with Zane Guess coming on to close.
Indeed, Guess's mid-80s pitches induced a pair of swing-and-misses for the final two outs in a 2-0 District 5-AAA road victory Monday night.
"I have 100 percent trust in Zane," said Maynor, who struck out a career-high nine batters. "He is a senior who goes and gets it. Closing is what he likes to do, and I give it to him every time. He has gotten the job done all season."
Spoiling a superb mound outing from left-hander Chris Bayne, Ooltewah (12-14, 4-7) left 10 runners on base and made four of its five errors to begin innings.
Bayne was able to mix speeds and break his curveball seemingly wherever he wanted to place it. The junior continued a trend his coach has seen all season, as he has allowed only four earned runs in 38 2/3 innings of district play.
"Chris continues to show us exactly what you want to see from a leader on the mound," Ooltewah coach Brian Hitchcox said. "He hasn't let the surroundings affect him and did his job at the plate, too. He's done an awesome job. Our problem all year, though, has been making the routine plays, and we better find a way to do it soon."
Soddy-Daisy (17-11, 7-4) clinched the three seed for the district tournament, which will be at its home field.
Jacob Jennings drove in a run with a single through the right side of the pulled-in infield in the top of the third inning. Aaron Couch started damage in the sixth with a leadoff double, and Noah Howard's bloop single down the right-field line provided the second score.
In the first inning Ooltewah received a leadoff single to right from Payton Keiser and then a perfectly placed bunt single from Connor Beach, but the struggles with runners in scoring position began and continued the rest of the night.
Maynor located his fastball well and had flawless defensive support in his 106-pitch gem.
"Landon really impressed us in preseason bullpens," Soddy-Daisy coach Jim Higgins said. "His work ethic is tremendous, and he has solid control. Every time he goes out there I see constant improvements."
With lefty Seth Coffelt also a strong arm in the rotation, the Trojans hope to make lots of noise in May. With wins over strong teams such as Bradley Central, Hixson and Signal Mountain this season, there is a feeling they could be a surprise team in the championship hunt.
"We can beat anybody, I feel like," Maynor said. "I feel like we are starting to come on strong at the end of the season. If we can be consistent with our bats, I think we have the pitching staff to get the job done and shock a lot of people."
Contact Patrick MacCoon at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PMacCoon.