WSBB: No. 2 Senators sweep King JV, reach 30-win plateau for 21st straight year
MORRISTOWN, Tenn. — Walters State's winning tradition on the baseball field is evident from looking at the championship banners on the outfield wall at Ken Campbell Field, boasting the accomplishments of so many teams over the past two decades.
One winning tradition was extended Wednesday afternoon in a doubleheader sweep of King University's junior varsity team, as opening 8-0 win and the come-from-behind 8-6 victory in the nightcap gave the Senators 30 wins for the 21st straight season.
During that time, interim coach Adam Cross led Walters State to a 30-plus win season in 1999, and Ken Campbell notched at least 38 wins in each season of his 14 years as head coach, including a dozen straight with 40 or more victories. Coach Dave Shelton ran his total to six straight seasons with at least 30 wins with the sweep, and he did so with more than a month left in the regular season this year.
Wednesday's sweep gives the Senators a 30-5 record on the year, as the nation's second-ranked team now has an 11-1 record on the field that bears Campbell's name.
It wasn't an easy coast to a pair of victories in the doubleheader however, despite winning the opener in relative ease behind a shutout. The nightcap saw the Senators fall behind 3-0 after one inning and 6-2 later in the game before a four-run sixth inning pushed WSCC on top for the first time in the contest to get the win.
In the opener, Bubba Hubbard (4-0) and Jack Collins combined to toss a three-hit shutout while recording 16 strikeouts in the seven-inning contest. Hubbard went four innings to get the win, allowing one hit and fanning 10 batters, while Collins notched his second save by working the final three frames and giving up two hits while striking out six and walking two.
Jake Jennings had a monster game at the dish, recording a double and his second home run of the year while driving in five runs in the victory. Michael Robinson and Seth Gardner both added two hits, with Gardner driving in two runs and Robinson plating the other run in the contest. Jerry Hammons and Brayden Combs both singled in the win.
Andre Palacios, Houston Peacock and Chase Hilliard each had a single in the loss. Bodhi Baker took the defeat after allowing seven earned runs on six hits in two innings.
Jennings drove in the first two runs of the game with a bases loaded double in the first inning before Robinson knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly and Gardner added an RBI single for a quick 4-0 lead.
Jennings hammered a three-run homer in the second inning, and Gardner plated the final run with an RBI single in the fifth to make the final 8-0.
In the finale, the Tornado scored three runs in the top of the first before WSCC scored single runs in the first two innings to trim the deficit to a run. King made it a 6-2 lead in the third before the Senators cut the margin in half in the fifth and scored four in the sixth to pull ahead and get the win.
Blake Petty (2-0) grabbed the win in relief, tossing three scoreless innings and giving up one hit while striking out seven batters. Drew Vaden allowed five runs (three earned) on three hits in two-plus innings, while Zach Joyce surrendered an unearned run on two hits in two innings of relief.
Drew Haynie had two hits with a double to pace the Senators, while Combs added a double in the win. Hammons plated three runs, while Combs and Bryce Hodge both knocked in a pair and Max Reimer had an RBI in the victory.
Hodge drove in a run with a grounder in the first inning before Reimer added an RBI single in the second to make it a 3-2 King lead before the Tornado scored three more in the third to increase the lead to 6-2.
WSCC cut the lead to 6-4 in the fifth on a sacrifice fly from Hammons and a bases loaded walk from Combs. Hammons pulled the Senators even in the sixth on a two-run single, and Hodge drove in the eventual game-winning run with a sacrifice fly. Combs added an RBI double to make the final 8-6 after Petty struck out the side in the seventh to close the game.
Hilliard took the loss in relief after giving up four earned runs on three hits in the sixth inning. Hilliard had two hits with a double at the plate in the defeat, with Banks Presson adding a two-bagger in the contest.
Walters State heads to Roane State in Harriman this weekend for a three-game series in Tennessee Community College Athletic Association play on Friday (single game at 2 p.m.) and Saturday (doubleheader at noon). The Senators are tied with Motlow State for first place in the league standings at 9-1 in league play, while the Raiders are in eight place at 3-7. Roane State is coached by former Senator pitcher Zach Sterner.