The anxiety Lookout Valley's baseball team dealt with during last year's district championship game — when it needed a run in each of its last two at-bats to snap an eight-year title drought — lasted less than an inning this time around.
The Yellow Jackets pushed across three runs in the first inning and scored multiple times in each of their four at-bats Wednesday evening to win the District 4-A title with an impressive 12-1 five-inning victory over visiting Tellico Plains.
"This one was a lot less stressful for sure," Jackets coach Lance Rorex said. "We came out and put a punch on them early and just kept putting up crooked numbers. We've got five seniors who contribute and give us great leadership and a lot of experienced guys from last year who want to take that next step and get us to the state tournament."
Avery Hamrick lined a 3-2 pitch for a two-run double in the first to help kick-start the Jackets' offense. He finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs, and Truston Everett went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.
That was more than enough support for sophomore right-hander Jarrett Adams, who threw a one-hitter, striking out four.
"It gave me a lot more confidence after we had that big first inning," said Adams, who also hit a three-run homer in the fourth. "That helped settle my nerves, and early on my curve, fastball and changeup all felt pretty good."
Lookout Valley (28-7) pounded out 11 hits and will host Harriman in a Region 2-A semifinal Monday.
"Jarrett did a great job of staying in the zone and making good pitches," Rorex said. "We came out and do what we've done all year, find a way to get some runs, and then we just kept making solid contact. Hopefully we can keep swinging the bats like that for the next few games and see what happens."