In a pressure-packed situation, sophomore Chase Roberts answered with plenty of fire.
The young flame-throwing Lipscomb commitment for East Hamilton pitched with poise Tuesday night in a 7-2 road victory over rival Ooltewah to help the Hurricanes improve to 5-0 in District 5-AAA play.
Called on to escape a fourth-inning jam with the bases loaded with just one out and up a run, Roberts registered back-to-back punchouts for two of his seven strikeouts through 3 2/3 innings of work.
"I was pumped to come in and get the job done and help Isaac (Moulds) out," Roberts said of his teammate who will play for Bryan College next season. "We both like to push each other and see one another do well. We are pretty close friends and want to help this team win."
The Hurricanes (10-2) benefited from seven fielding miscues by the Owls (6-6, 3-2), while junior Conner Thornburg provided a spark at the plate with three of his team's six hits.
The left-handed leadoff hitter and second baseman helped open a 3-0 lead. Thornburg's double down the right-field line resulted in him scoring on a two-out error in the third inning. An inning later he took a pitch the other way, and his single to shallow left plated two more.
"Conner is a table setter for us and showed he can be a run producer as well," East Hamilton coach Steve Garland said. "He has dedicated a lot of additional time, effort and energy to the game this season, and the results at the plate are showing."
Ooltewah southpaw Chris Bayne was on the unlucky side of things, as he often made the pitches to get the routine outs but errors plagued his team.
Bayne allowed five hits through 5 2/3 innings and struck out five batters. After not allowing a single run in his first two district starts, his scoreless-innings streak to begin the season came to an end at 16 2/3.
After escaping a fourth-inning jam, the Hurricanes answered a two-spot put up by the Owls.
Noah Pridmore smacked a deep opposite-field double down the right-field line that bounced off the wall to score Bradley Garland from first base with one out for a 4-2 lead.
East Hamilton senior catcher Will Campbell drove in a run along with Garland. Catcher Campbell guided the pitchers who fanned 11 batters, and he threw out a runner at third after stopping a ball in the dirt.
"Will has done a great job controlling this staff," Coach Garland said. "Isaac is going to continue and do great things for us this year, and it's nice to see Chase pitch with so much confidence. The key for our guys is to stay loose and have fun."
Ooltewah three-hole hitter Jacob Robinson went 2-for-4 with a double.
The two rivals will square off again Wednesday at East Hamilton with a 4:30 p.m. first pitch.
Contact Patrick MacCoon at firstname.lastname@example.org.