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Staff photo by Olivia Ross / Brayden Jasper slides safely into 2nd as Maddox Russak loses the ball on March 28, 2022. East Hamilton took on Hixson at home.

East Hamilton senior pitcher Gray Williams has been nearly unhittable to start his senior season.

With a running fastball that has reached 92 miles per hour this spring to go with a hard-breaking slider, Williams' electric stuff has made him one of the top pitching prospects in the Chattanooga area.

The right-handed ace threw a one-hit shutout with 12 strikeouts against Hixson in Monday's 3-0 District 6-AAA home win. His command was pivotal late as Williams locked in with senior catcher Ethan Evans to strike out the final three batters after walking the first two in the seventh inning.

"Gray is by far the best arm in the district," said East Hamilton coach and former Los Angeles Angels pitcher Matt Ramsey. "He just pounds the zone and fills it up with fastballs. He has a good arm and is just overpowering guys right now. It's really fun to watch. He does a great job staying within himself and not trying to press too hard. It helps that one of his best friends is behind the plate too."

Williams painted both corners of the plate with his high 80s heat. His final three strikeouts came on a called third strike fastball on the outside corner, a swing and miss on a low curve and a late swing on a high fastball to end the game.

Photo Gallery

East Hamilton vs. Hixson on March 28, 2022

The Hurricanes improved to 6-3 overall and a perfect 5-0 in district play. Williams has only allowed three hits over 21 innings this season in which he has allowed no earned runs and struck out 43.

"Consistency has been the biggest thing for me over the last two years," said Williams, who has not yet committed to a college program. "Controlling the break on my pitches has been really big along with having confidence on the mound. I have really worked on my mechanics and thrown a lot to gain arm strength. I am proud of the start, especially in the district."

Hixson's Kane Johnson matched Williams through the first four innings as both senior starters had no-hitters going into the fifth inning.

East Hamilton junior Brayden Jasper helped his team get on the board as he laced a hard single through the six-hole and soon after stole second base. Jasper reached base all three times and scored the first run in the bottom of the fifth on a throwing error.

Williams and Jase Phillips had back-to-back singles in the seventh while Trey Crawford laced an RBI single to right to provide a comfortable 3-run lead.

"Kane had three innings where he threw less than 10 pitches. Once we settled down in the box and had an approach we found a way to get some runs in," Ramsey said. "I am proud of this group. We are in the driver's seat and in a really good position right now."

> Silverdale Baptist 8, Boyd Buchanan 5: Brody Lamb hit a three-run home run as part of a six run second inning for the Seahawks (9-0). Cody and Brodie Johnston each homered for Boyd Buchanan, which also got two hits and a run scored from Haden Griffith. Silverdale's Corey Clift went 3-for-3 while Eric Boggess had two hits and Cameron Mullins scored twice and stole a base. Turner Junkins picked up the win, striking out 11 while allowing three earned runs in a complete effort.

 

SOFTBALL

> Maryville 12, Walker Valley 9: A four-run lead slipped away from the Lady Mustangs as the Lady Rebels scored six runs in the bottom of the fifth to provide the difference. Madilyn Kidd homered while Sierra Brown drove in four runs in a tough loss in which Walker Valley stole six bases, but had five errors.

> Meigs County 10, Roane County 0: Lainey Fitzgerald struck out nine over five innings of one-hit ball. Sierra Howard and Madilyn Johnson homered while Graci Kennedy and Toryn Lawson tripled in the Lady Tigers' home victory.

> Boyd Buchanan 9, Sale Creek 7: Brooke Watson hit for the cycle going 4-for-4 with four runs batted in while also landing the victory with eight strikeouts for the Lady Buccaneers. Kiley Elliott drove in a pair for Boyd Buchanan while Cailyn Butler and Gracie Wickman combined for five hits in six at-bats. Sale Creek's Madi Beene had three hits and three RBIs.

> Rhea County 8, McMinn County 5: The Lady Golden Eagles scored six runs in the top of the sixth which was highlighted by home runs by Emma Gentry and Michaela Taylor. McMinn County's Ama Grimmett led all with three RBIs and also homered.

> Sequatchie County 7, Whitwell 6: Addy Edgmon hit a grand slam as part of a four RBI day while Jadeyn Girdley had two doubles for the Lady Indians (10-3). Whitwell's Karleigh Dempsey had a grand slam.

Roundup reports compiled by Patrick MacCoon and Lindsey Young. Contact them at sports@timesfreepress.com.

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