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Staff photo by Robin Rudd / Baylor's Addie Yates makes contact during a TSSAA Division II-AA state tournament game against GPS on Wednesday in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

It's shaping up for Thursday to be a red letter day at the Spring Fling.

The Baylor baseball and softball teams both moved into the championship series unbeaten so far through their respective tournaments. In fact, both teams have been so dominant this week that the biggest news would be if either didn't wrap up state titles by the end of the day.

The Lady Red Raiders will await the winner of the GPS versus St. Benedict game — to be played at 12:30 p.m. Eastern — with a shot to earn their sixth consecutive Division II-AA championship. Baylor clobbered GPS 12-1 Wednesday, and if it's the Bruisers who advance into the title series, it would mark the ninth time in 10 seasons those two rivals will face off for the championship.

Baylor's baseball team also took care of its rival to move into the title series, beating McCallie 4-1 Wednesday afternoon. The Blue Tornado then had its season ended later in the day by Briarcrest 11-1, setting up Baylor against Briarcrest at 2 p.m. Thursday.

Over the past three seasons, Baylor's baseball team is 8-0 at the state tournament, winning each of those games by at least three runs.

For the second straight day, Baylor (25-3) got a lights-out pitching performance from its starter as junior Patrick Johnson followed Jay Dill's three-hit performance from the previous day with one of his own. Johnson struck out six batters and gave up one hit in each of the final three innings, including Carter Hewitt's solo homer in the seventh.

Cooper Kinney, who on Tuesday was named the state's Mr. Baseball for D-II, went 2-for-2 with a pair of RBIs and Daniel Corona had an RBI triple.

"Too many times that sense of urgency for high school kids comes too late, but these guys know how to lock in when it matters," said Baylor coach Greg Elie, whose team owns four wins in as many meetings with the Blue Tornado this season.

3 takeaways from Wednesday:

McCallie makes history

After eight runner-up finishes, McCallie veteran track coach Mike Wood's program finally won the Division II championship Wednesday.

The Blue Tornado had gotten off to a solid start with three of the top four finishers in last week's decathlon, then pulled away for the program's first state title since the TIAA crown in 1929, which pre-dated the TSSAA.

Senior Michael May won the decathlon and 110-meter hurdles, and classmate Eric Rivers, who's also an all-star in football and basketball, won the triple jump and was a part of the 4x100 relay team that finished first to medal in five total events. Freshman Kavan Reynolds won the 400, and the Blue Tornado had several other athletes finish second in individual events.

 

Emotional win

Arts & Sciences girls' tennis coach Earl Finnell was overcome by emotion after his team won the program's first state tile Wednesday with a 4-3 decision over Summertown in Division I Small Class. Adding to the emotion of the championship was that Finnell's daughter Sunshine played a pivotal role with a straight-sets win in her No. 1 singles match.

McCallie was the only other local team to win a tennis title Wednesday, with its second straight moving it into third place in TSSAA history with its 10th overall championship.

 

Hanging on

After dropping its Class A state tournament opener, South Pittsburg's baseball team has rallied to stay alive. The Pirates gutted out two wins Wednesday and will face Moore County — which beat them in the opener — at 3 p.m. Thursday. A win in that game would earn another matchup with Moore County immediately after.

Facing elimination, South Pittsburg first beat South Fulton 6-5 as Austin Jakson pitched all seven innings and Reece Genter went 3-for-4 with the go-ahead RBI in the sixth. The Pirates followed that with a 5-1 win over North Greene as Conner Rowell allowed just one through five innings and Jackson came on to close out the final two innings. Javen Talley went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, Hunter Powers was 2-for-3 with an RBI and Brayden Sanders and Jared Stone each drove in a run.

 

Wednesday's Spring Fling scores

BASEBALL

Division II-AA

Baylor 4, McCallie 1

Briarcrest 11, McCallie 1

Class A

South Pittsburg 6, South Fulton 5

South Pittsburg 5, North Greene 1

Class AA

Ripley 12, Signal Mountain 7

Class AAA

Clarksville 11, McMinn County 2

SOCCER

Division II-AA

Father Ryan 3, Baylor 2

Christian Brothers 2, McCallie 1

Division II-A

Franklin Grace 3, Boyd Buchanan 2

Class A

Gatlinburg-Pittman 2, Signal Mountain 1

SOFTBALL

Division II-AA

Baylor 5, Chattanooga Christian 0

GPS 8, St. Benedict 6

St. Benedict 4, Chattanooga Christian 3

Baylor 12, GPS 1

Division II-A

Silverdale Baptist 8, Jackson Christian 5

Class A

Huntland 11, Sale Creek 1

Class AA

Sequatchie County 10, Union County 0

Lexington 6, Red Bank 1

BOYS' TENNIS

Division I Small Class

Merrol Hyde 4, Signal Mountain 0

Division II-AA

McCallie 4, MBA 0

GIRLS' TENNIS

Division I Small Class

Arts & Sciences 4, Summertown 3

Division II-AA

Knoxville Catholic 4, Baylor 2

 

Thursday's Spring Fling schedule

All times Eastern

BASEBALL

Division II-AA

Baylor vs. Briarcrest at Wilson Central, 2 p.m.

Class A

South Pittsburg vs. Moore County at Stewarts Creek, 3 p.m.

SOFTBALL

Division II-AA

GPS vs. St. Benedict at Starplex No. 3, 12:30 p.m.

GPS/St. Benedict winner vs. Baylor at Starplex No. 3, 6:30 p.m.

Division II-A

Silverdale Baptist vs. Tipton-Rosemark at Starplex No. 3, 11 a.m.

Class A

Sale Creek vs. North Greene at Starplex No. 4, 11 a.m.

Class AA

Red Bank vs. Greenbrier at Starplex No. 2, 11 a.m.

Sequatchie County vs. Gibbs at Starplex No. 2, 12:30 p.m.

BOYS' TENNIS

Individual tournament

Division I Small Class

Gabe Rhyne (Signal Mountain) vs. Eli England (Claiborne), 10 a.m.

Division I Large Class

Jacob Johnson (Walker Valley) vs. Ranjay Arul (Collierville), 1 p.m.

Division II-A

Joby Nash (Collegedale) vs. Danny Hamze (Lausanne), 10 a.m.

Kai Lam (Silverdale Baptist) vs. Nicolas Roth (CPA), 10 a.m.

Division II-AA

Andreas Sillaste (McCallie) vs. Gabe Ungab (MUS), 11:30 a.m.

Colin Tuttle (McCallie) vs. Hank Trondson (Ensworth), 11:30 a.m.

Doubles tournament

Division I Small Class

Ryan Griggs/Austin Hensley (Signal Mountain) vs. Ian Fryer/Jackson Thomas (Watertown), 10 a.m.

Division I Large Class

Bryce Elliott/Brayden Conn (Cleveland) vs. Om Patel/Daniel Haddadin (Science Hill), 1 p.m.

Division II-A

Brad Stern/Tyler Griffin (Collegedale) vs. Leo Menzie/Aiden Menzie (CPA), 10 a.m.

Division II-AA

Gabe Getz/Will Leathers (McCallie) vs. Mac Owen/Andrew Kuhlo (MUS), 11:30 a.m.

Manuel Achurra/Nichola Cooper (Baylor) vs. Martin Grier/Andrew Ditto (MBA), 11:30 a.m.

GIRLS' TENNIS

Singles tournament

Division I Small Class

Sunshine Finnell (Arts & Sciences) vs. Ellison Reynoldson (Camden), 10 a.m.

Division I Large Class

Elena Kurowski (McMinn County) vs. Marisa Wirtz (Station Camp), 1:30 p.m.

Doubles tournament

Division I Small Class

Bindi Patel/Grace Williams (Signal Mountain) vs. Ella Konig/Gracie Kelly (Summertown), 10 a.m.

Division II-A

Jenna Black/Emma Greer (St. Andrews-Sewanee) vs. Gabby Siew/Meera Boyapati (USN), 12:30 p.m.

Division II-AA

Helen Guerry/Ensley Collins (Baylor) vs. Zoe Pelts/Olivia Evans (Hutchins), noon

Carolina Clark/Mary Kate Johnson (GPS) vs. Anna Brock/Avery Smith (Ensworth), noon

TRACK & FIELD

Division I Large Class field events, 9:30 a.m.

Division I Large Class running events, 5 p.m.

Contact Stephen Hargis at shargis@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6293. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis.

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