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Staff photo by Patrick MacCoon / McCallie senior Carter Hewitt drives a ball in Wednesday's Division II-AA state tournament win over Knoxville Catholic.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Carter Hewitt helped catapult McCallie's baseball program into the TSSAA Division II-AA state championship round, with the senior's bat vital to Wednesday's 8-2 victory over Knoxville Catholic in the winners-bracket final.

Showcasing massive pop from the right side of the plate, Hewitt drove a two-run double to right-center field in the top of the third inning of what had been a scoreless game. The Blue Tornado slugger also launched his eighth home run of the season over the left-field fence during the game, despite hitting into a strong wind.

Designated hitter Hudson Calhoun also had a big day in McCallie's 14-hit parade, with his three including an opposite-field RBI single in the third and a mammoth blast after Hewitt's shot in a three-run seventh.

"Carter is a dog," said Calhoun, a junior who has committed to Ole Miss and has been playing through a UCL tear. "When you see him step off the bus or dig into the batter's box, you should be intimidated. We are his pack, and he is the alpha wolf. We are all following behind him."

Sophomore outfielder J. Michael Pierce came up clutch with two outs in the sixth inning again for the Blue Tornado (26-12-1). A day after hitting a tying double in McCallie's stunning 3-2 comeback victory over Baylor, Pierce roped a two-run single to center field to build a 5-2 lead.

Pierce went 3-for-3 in the victory and has reached base in five of his six at-bats during the Spring Fling.

"J. Michael has really stepped up," Hewitt said. "He didn't start at the beginning of the season, but he worked his way up in practice. He has been absolutely lights out. He has brought it and came ready to play with all of our guys, especially our pitching staff."

Photo Gallery

McCallie in TSSAA Division II-AA baseball state tournament on May 25, 2022

Junior right-hander Olin Johnson was terrific on the mound for the Blue Tornado. The Washington State-committed pitcher struck out 10 batters and allowed three hits in a complete game. Johnson ended a two-run fifth for the Fighting Irish (26-13) with a full-count strikeout on an inside fastball.

Now one win away from their first state championship since 2014, the Blue Tornado will face either Lipscomb Academy or Catholic after those two pick up their weather-suspended game at noon Eastern on Thursday. Catholic leads 3-2 in the top of the sixth with a runner on third and two outs.

"We came in here believing no one could beat us," Calhoun said. "Playing with my teammates and these seniors, nothing beats it. We want to win state more than anything."

Lipscomb Academy 3, Baylor 2: Henry Godbout had two hits and Tomas Valincius had an RBI double as the Red Raiders, who had won the past three DII-AA state titles, finished their season 22-9.

Northpoint Christian 8, Silverdale Baptist Academy 7 (8): Sebastian Hanks hit his 14th home run of the season and drove in three runs, but the Seahawks' season concluded at 32-7-1 with the extra-inning loss in a Division II-A elimination game. Silverdale's Bryson Cline also drove in a pair of runs.

Class A's Lookout Valley (14-18-1) had its season close with a 7-5 loss to Coalfield and a 7-1 loss to Bradford.

Contact Patrick MacCoon at pmaccoon@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @PMacCoon.

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