Prep baseball roundup: Silverdale Baptist splits to start series; Baylor punches ticket to return to Spring Fling

At this late point of the prep baseball season, Lance Rorex didn’t care if he sounded greedy.

Before his team’s best-of-three series in the TSSAA Division II-A state quarterfinals began Wednesday, the Silverdale Baptist Academy coach had said he would be happy with a split.

But after the dramatic way the Seahawks beat visiting Trinity Christian in the first game, Rorex admitted he was disappointed after losing the second matchup.

“It would’ve been nice to wrap it up and not have to worry about playing a third game, but with the pitching they threw at us in those first two games, I guess we’ll take the split and come back ready to go again,” Rorex said. “We’ve been a pretty resilient bunch, so I think our guys know the sun will rise again tomorrow and we’ll have another chance to take care of business.”

The Seahawks and Trinity Christian will decide who advances to next week’s Spring Fling in Thursday’s 3 p.m. matchup.

Bryson Cline’s two-out hit in the seventh inning brought home Owen Phillips as the winning run in game one. That was one of Cline’s three RBIs in the 6-5 win, and Turner Junkins also plated three runs.

The Lions evened the series with a 14-3 victory in the nightcap to force a deciding game three.

Photo Gallery

Silverdale Baptist vs. Trinity Christian baseball on May 18, 2022

Meanwhile across town, three-time reigning Division II-AA state champion Baylor also needed a little late-inning drama for the 7-6 win in game one of its series with Christian Brothers, then cruised to a much easier 14-7 win in the second game to advance to next week’s state tournament.

On the four-year anniversary of Baylor punching its ticket to the Spring Fling with a dramatic walk-off home run, the Red Raiders repeated the feat to rally from a one-run deficit.

Teddy Lepcio’s 2018 homer to beat Briarcrest catapulted Baylor to the state tourney, where it earned the first of its three consecutive DII-AA championships. Late Wednesday afternoon, it was sophomore Amari Jefferson who provided the theatrics when he connected on a two-run homer that rallied Baylor for the walk-off win.

“I was just looking for something good to hit, hopefully find a hole for a base hit or at least move the runner over,” said Jefferson, who has committed to the University of Tennessee. “I knew as soon as I connected that it was gone. That was a great feeling to be able to do that for my team.”

Henry Ford had homers and three RBIs in both games, while Tomas Valincius, Hunter Herndon and Henry Godbout, who was named a Mr. Baseball finalist on Tuesday, all drove in two in the series clincher.

After building a 4-0 lead in the first game with back-to-back homers by Ford, who had a three-run blast, and Caleb Hampton, four Baylor errors opened the door for Christian Brothers to rally and take the lead in the seventh inning.

But Valincius’ fielder’s choice brought home the tying run in the bottom of the seventh, and after the visitors had taken a one-run lead in the eighth on Gabe Boyd’s homer, Baylor’s Jonathan Larrea led off the home half of that inning with a walk and Jefferson followed with the winner.

Sale Creek 10, Lookout Valley 7: The Panthers struck for three runs in the sixth inning to win the Region 3-1A championship. Jacob Crawley drove in three runs for Sale Creek, while Javan O’Kelley was 3-for-3 with two runs, Camden Penny was 2-for-3 with an RBI and scored twice and Drew Hillian was 2-for-3 with two runs scored.

Rylan Collins went 3-for-3 with two RBIs for the Yellow Jackets, Christian Chandler had two RBIs and two runs scored and Jaxon Quails was 2-for-4.

Loudon 6, Marion County 2: The Redskins scored four runs in the eighth inning to win the Region 2-2A championship and earn the right to host in Friday’s sectional round. Marion County will visit Pigeon Forge with a Spring Fling spot at stake.

Bradley Central 5, Walker Valley 3: The Bears scored four runs in the top of the sixth to fight back and win the Region 3-4A championship. Aiden McClary had two hits, doubled and scored twice in the victory, Landen Holmes was the winning pitcher, tossing three shutout innings with three strikeouts, and Alex Brew picked up a two-inning save.

Walker Valley’s Connor Crumley had three hits, while Ryan Lay had two hits and a double in the defeat.

Bradley Central will host Stewarts Creek and Walker Valley will visit Riverdale in sectionals.

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

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