Lions upset Tigers, end their perfect season | High School

SEYMOUR — The bats took off for both Pigeon Forge and The King’s Academy in the opener of the Smoky Mountain Invitational on Wednesday afternoon.

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Each team smacked two home runs and totaled 20 combined hits, but it was the Lions that got the last long ball and the win, 10-9, over the previously unbeaten Tigers.

Pigeon Forge led, 9-8, entering the bottom of the sixth frame before The King’ Academy’s Jean-Marc Van Der Linden blasted a ball over the centerfield wall off Tiger ace Dylan Loy to give the Lions a 10-9 lead.

“(Dylan) did a good job. A guy ran into a fastball and that is what happens. That is just part of baseball..,” Pigeon Forge head coach Mike Guinn said. “Whether we were up 10 or down 10, Dylan was going to get a bullpen. It just so happened to be a critical time. We didn’t pitch well early, but that game was more on how we played.”

Pigeon Forge didn’t let up putting two runners immediately in scoring position in the seventh, but two pop-ups and another out by Van Der Linden ended the contest.

Number one ranked Class AA Pigeon Forge dropped to 12-1 on the year, while The King’s Academy snapped a six-game losing streak and improved to 8-7.

“I couldn’t be prouder of our guys. They were running out a really good arm to try and shut us down,” The King’s Academy head coach Mitchell Turner said. “We had been hitting the ball well all day, and being crosstown rivals kinda with the history, the guys have to realize that they are capable of doing this every night. To be able to do this against Pigeon Forge and that type of pitcher gives us a lot of confidence. My challenge to them was that we have to learn how to win. Nobody is going to hand you anything, and you have to go take it.”

Ridley Edington for the Lions and Caleb Hughes for Pigeon Forge smashed three run home runs in the first inning and second inning respectively to tie the score at three before each team played a single run tying the game at four entering the fifth.

The King’s Academy ripped off several hits in a row by Nazhir Bergen, Jake Tipton and Ryder Storm scoring three, and then an error by Pigeon Forge made the score 8-4.

Pigeon Forge answered though in the next half inning plating five runs capped off by a Riley Franklin two-run home run that gave them the lead.

“It is huge (to come back). We were on a six-game losing streak and had been beat up by Webb the past few nights,” Turner said. “Webb is a great ball club, but this is why we play everyday and we don’t play the games on paper. You never know what you are going to get out of high schoolers. Today, we got a group of guys that played for each other and were ready to fight.”

Edington went the first five innings on the mound for The King’s Academy striking out five and giving up only five hits. He did allow six runs with five earned, and then Van Der Linden finished off the last two innings giving up no earned runs.

“When Ridley comes off of shortstop, there is a huge hole there. The guys who filled in did a good job. Ridley is a guy who we roll out there in tournaments, because we know he can go deeper into games and save us some arms… ,” Turner said. “For him to be able to be able to go five plus innings, and then Jean-Marc for the final two was key for us.”

Edington, Van Der Linden, Juan Valle Marquina and Ethan Ridderstap all finished with two hits for the Lions, while Edington had three RBI.

“It builds confidence, because we have been dry (at the plate) the last week or so. We haven’t been playing well at the plate,” Turner said. “To see the guys do that was fun to watch. It gave them confidence that they could do it again later.”

For Pigeon Forge, Guinn knew they hadn’t been playing well the last couple games, and they were due to finally drop a game.

Hughes led the way with four RBI, while he and Carson Catlett each had two hits.

“Truthfully, for about the last week, we haven’t been playing well,” Guinn said. “We put ourself in situations where we have been in tie games in the fourth, fifth or ninth innings. (TKA) played very well tonight, and they took advantage of the opportunities that we gave them.”

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