Dropping 2-1 at the top of the seventh inning, an enthralling comeback along with a full game performance from senior Jackson Sleeper helped fuel a 6-2 win for the Grace Christian Academy Lions (37-5) over the Northpoint Christian Trojans (27). -10) in the Division II-A state tournament Tuesday night at Middle Tennessee Christian School in Murfreesboro.
The victory puts GCA into the next round of the DII-AA winning bracket.
“This is a very good football club,” Lions coach Brad Meyers said. “He shut us down for a long time, and we’re just stuck with what we’re doing. We’ve had a big round all year. There’s no reason to stop now.”
Northpoint Christian got their first bottom spot with a two-way homer by Hudson Brown to take a 2-0 lead. The Trojans threatened back in the bottom four with a single leadoff, but Sleeper rallied with a strikeout, fly-out for center field, and pop-up for right field to keep the ball game 2-0.
GCA earned a place in the top six when senior Dean Bechman scored a runner-up from third in an infield error by Northpoint Christian to cut the Trojans lead to 2-1.
At the top of the seventh inning, the Lions came roaring in the frame, stacking on five runs to take the contest’s first lead, 6-2. Senior Parker Wyatt got thngs starting with an RBI-single, followed by a two-run homer by junior Trace Phillips, and an RBI-single from Bechman. The GCA also added a run on the wild field.
Sleeper closed the full game with two strikeouts and a flyout to center field to score the Lions a win.
“We hit the ball in the last inning and put some pressure on him,” Myers added. “We’re lucky to be able to win.” (Sleeper) came through great. He’s thrown the ball really well throughout the year. He competes and stays with it.
GCA will play Goodpasture at 12:30 on Wednesday.
Centennial is empty in the opening game of tournament 4A
The Centennial Cougars (20-15) couldn’t get anything going on Tuesday afternoon, falling 7-0 to the Stewarts Creek Red Hawks (29-7) in the opening round of the 4A state baseball tournament at Siegel High School in Murfreesboro.
“We played really well on defense,” Centennial head coach Rob Baughman said. “We just couldn’t put the ball down. Unfortunately, he had some big hits in the fifth and sixth innings and runs.
Stewarts Creek broke through in the bottom of the fourth inning in a solo home run by senior Reginald Cooper to take a 1-0 lead before the Red Hawks broke the game open in the bottom of the fifth.
Senior Kennan Saiyasak got a six-run frame going with one RBI, followed by an error at the Centennial, a three-run homer by Brett Vondohlen, and a wild pitch to stretch Stewarts Creek to a 7-0 lead.
Down into the final inning, Centennial went down 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh as Stewarts Creek sophomore reliever Aiden Schwartz forced two flyouts to the left of the field and a lineout for the first to give the Red Hawks a 7-0 win.
Centennial will play Powell High School (Knoxville) at 10:00 a.m. Thursday in a 4A double elimination game while Stewarts Creek will play Houston High School (Germantown) at 12:30 p.m. Friday.
Other Nashville area scores from the first day of Spring Fling baseball include:
Class AA: Pigeon Forge 8 The Legacy of the White House 6
Class 4A: Hendersonville 3 Faragut 2
Colliverville 6 Riverdale 4 (10 innings)
DII-A: Goodpasture 18 Silverdale 1
DII-AA: Knoxville Catholic 3 Lipscomb Academy 0