In the week beginning March 29, Science Hill’s baseball team went 0-5.
Yes, the competition was stiff but 0-5 is still 0-5.
Since then, Science Hill has been on a roll and reestablished its place as Northeast Tennessee’s top team.
The Hilltoppers locked it down defensively last week, posting four shutouts and a one-run game among their five wins. Look closer and it’s more impressive because the opponents included a pair of games with tough Daniel Boone and a strong Division II team, Knoxville Catholic.
In those five games, Hilltoppers pitchers combined for this impressive line: 40 innings, 19 hits, four runs, 12 walks and 40 strikeouts. That’s an ERA of 0.70 while allowing less than one walk-plus-hits per inning.
The Catholic result was particularly impressive from a pitching standpoint as the Hilltoppers lost 11-5 to the Irish in a March 20 meeting at Seymour. In that loss, standout left-hander Cole Torbett was pushed around for seven hits and nine runs, five earned, in 3 2/3 innings. In the second meeting, Nate Conner threw five innings and allowed just two hits and one run while helping his team hold Catholic star Kaden Martin hitless.
Also tossing gems last week for the Hilltoppers were Evan King and Torbett against Boone, Dustin Eatmon against Sullivan East and Spencer Powell against South-Doyle.
After the opener of their important two-game series with Tennessee High, the Hilltoppers were 17-7 overall and 8-0 in the Big 7 Conference.
The Big 7’s top baseball teams can’t feel safe with Dobyns-Bennett starting to find its groove.
The fourth-place Indians went 5-1 last week — including three nonconference games — and reached double digits in runs in all of their victories. Since a loss to Farragut on March 26, D-B has won 11 of 14 games. And the three losses were to teams (Gibbs, Sevier County and Powell) with a combined record of 53-12.
D-B — 17-7 overall and 6-3 in the Big 7 after Monday’s 14-7 win over Volunteer — is still in the strong mix for second place. The Indians will face off against Science Hill on April 26-27.
AROUND THE STATE
Class AAA Farragut (22-2) is in the No. 1 spot in the April 19 Tennessee Baseball Report all-classification rankings. Seymour, Baylor, Collierville and Briarcrest round out the top five.
In the Class AAA rankings, Science Hill moved into the No. 10 spot. In Class AA, Pigeon Forge is No. 1, followed by Milan, Gibbs, Greeneville and Carter.
North Greene held on to the No. 1 spot in Class A. The Huskies are followed by Summertown, Tellico Plains, Coalfield and East Robertson.
Sullivan East will send three basketball players to the next level, and they will make it official Wednesday.
Ethan Bradford will join the program at Tusculum. Austin Davis will sign with Southwest Virginia Community College. And Mason Montgomery will cast his lot with King.
The signings begin at 2:45 in the East high school library.
GAMES OF THE WEEK
Tuesday — Science Hill at Tennessee High; David Crockett at Daniel Boone; Sullivan East at Elizabethton; University High at North Greene
Friday — Elizabethton at Tennessee High
Monday — Dobyns-Bennett at Science Hill; Daniel Boone at Tennessee High
The Cyclones can wrap up a share of the Three Rivers Conference title if they sweep the Patriots. Then they get a big nonconference test. …
University High and North Greene will settle the Watauga Valley Conference title unless they split. In that case, it will come down to UH’s games against Hampton on April 26-27.
Tuesday — Science Hill at David Crockett; Tennessee High at Dobyns-Bennett
Wednesday — Daniel Boone at Tennessee High
Thursday — Dobyns-Bennett at Science Hill
The Lady Indians have been on a roll, and they can continue their impressive turnaround this week. If they win both games, they would have a chance to make a run at second place in the league — even though they were in last place just one week ago.