County schools will battle for sectional title

Winner of Greenwood Christian Academy-Edinburgh matchup moves on to baseball regional

MORRISTOWN

This morning’s Class A Morristown baseball sectional final will be an all-Johnson County affair, as defending champion Greenwood Christian and Edinburgh both won semifinal games Saturday afternoon.

Greenwood Christian needed to rally with three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning for a 3-2 win over Southwestern (Shelbyville), while Edinburgh had a much easier time of it, needing just five innings to complete a 14-0 rout of the host Yellow Jackets.

The two local squads face off for the championship at 10 a.m. today. GCA is going for its fourth straight sectional crown.

It almost didn’t turn out that way — but the Cougars rallied as they have numerous times this spring.

“That’s been this team all year long,” said Greenwood Christian coach Doug Hagist. “We start out slow, we manage to hang around and then we score like we did on Monday, when we scored five times in the seventh to beat Muncie Burris.

“It gives me a heart attack.”

At first, it didn’t appear the Cougars would have to resort to late-inning heroics when starting pitcher Colton Crick led off the first with a bloop double to right field.

Crick was left stranded, though, and that turned out to be Greenwood Christian’s only hit until the sixth inning.

In the interim, the sophomore Crick was engaged in a pitching duel with Southwestern freshman Tony Atwood.

Southwestern didn’t get its first hit until the fourth inning, a single by Cam Carroll. An error and two walks later, Carroll scored and the Spartans had the lead.

Another GCA error in the fifth inning, along with two singles, put the Spartans up 2-0, and with the way the Cougars were swinging the bat, it appeared their run of title game tilts would end.

But then came the sixth.

Payton Modlin reached first on a fielder’s choice with two out and later scored on a throwing error. Two batters later, with runners on first and second, sophomore Joe Jessup smashed a double to deep center to give the Cougars the lead.

Hagist then put senior Nolan Check on the mound, and he put the Spartans away.

“We did a great job,” Hagist said. “We scouted them and knew where they were going to hit it and who would run.”

In the second game of the day, Edinburgh (11-11) scored four runs in each of the first three innings, then added two more in the fourth. The Lancers rapped out a dozen hits — and while they didn’t really need the help, they took advantage of six Morristown errors.

“Our goal was to attack the ball early with the bat and to play aggressively on the bases and not make mistakes,” Edinburgh coach Jason Burton said. “(Morristown) is a young, but good, team and we wanted to go after them.”

Four Lancers had at least two hits apiece, including junior Gabe Wilson, who had four singles and three RBIs.

Teammates Kyle Armel, Parker Bryant and Tavian Cosby each had two hits, with Cosby getting the only extra-base hit of the game, a two-run double. Cosby also had three RBIs.

Armel also had a big day on the mound. The senior fired a two-hitter and struck out nine Yellow Jackets, allowing just one Morristown runner to reach second base.

“Greenwood Christian is a solid team and they are the defending champions, so they are the favorites,” Burton said. “But we’re happy to have the chance to play them and we hope to have a game like we did (Saturday).”

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Ken Severson is a sports correspondent for the Daily Journal.