WV to travel to Murfreesboro for Sectional game

Mustangs hobbled by hot-hitting Owls

By PATRICK MacCOON patrick.maccoon@clevelandbanner.com
Posted 5/18/17

Walker Valley may have been driven out of Ooltewah by the screech of Owls, but its postseason lives still remain.

Ooltewah won its first Region 3-AAA championship since 2006 by the mercy rule as …

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WV to travel to Murfreesboro for Sectional game

Mustangs hobbled by hot-hitting Owls

Posted

Walker Valley may have been driven out of Ooltewah by the screech of Owls, but its postseason lives still remain.

Ooltewah won its first Region 3-AAA championship since 2006 by the mercy rule as its offense was at peak performance in a 14-3, five-inning victory Wednesday night.

Perhaps it was better the pain was short lived for Walker Valley, which will turn around and travel to Murfreesboro to face Blackman in a TSSAA Sectional showdown this Friday at 7 p.m.

With a win on the road in Cookeville already, a motivated Mustang group hopes there is some “Murfreesboro magic” in store.

“We are one of 16 teams still in contention for the ultimate prize,” WVHS head coach Joe Shamblin said. “There are lots of teams who would be glad to trade places with us. A trip to Murfreesboro to play for the big trophy is an amazing experience that I would love for my boys to take in.”

The 146-mile road trip to visit the Blaze (27-10), who shut out Stewarts Creek 6-0 in the Region 4-AAA championship, will come against a tough pitching staff that has held 21 opponents to two runs or less this season.

The last time David Price’s (Boston Red Sox pitcher) former high school faced a District 5-AAA team, Blackman beat East Hamilton 10-0 in a tournament last season.

Walker Valley (23-13) last beat a Murfreesboro opponent in 2010, a 4-3 win over Siegel, and went 2-2 in the state tournament in 2012.

Ooltewah (29-6), ranked first in the state by coachT.com, will play seventh-ranked Stewarts Creek (29-8) Friday. The Red Hawks went 2-3 against the Blaze this season and had their 15-game win streak snapped in the region title game.

Keying the Owls’ region title was Austin Spurgeon, who kept up his season-long hot streak against Bradley County teams. He went 3-for-4 for three of Ooltewah’s 11 singles, drove in a pair and scored three runs, along with teammate Bruce Matthews (2-for-2, RBI).

Center fielder Jake Sullivan led all with three RBIs and had two hits in the highest scoring outing against a District 5-AAA opponent for Brian Hitchcox’s team.

A gamble to start freshman transfer pitcher Ethan Hailey, who came in with a 15.8 strikeout per seven inning rate, did not go as planned.

Ooltewah chased the former McCallie lefty with a six-run second inning, a total it had amassed in three previous games against district opponents this season.

With close plays going against them and battling a tight strike zone, the Mustangs left simply glad to see another day.

Senior first baseman Brady Swafford accounted for most of the damage as he laced a deep single to left field to drive in his 31st and 32nd runs of the season. Swafford raised his season average to over .340, and his RBI knock brought WV’s deficit to a short-lived 6-3 deficit in the third inning.

Ooltewah tacked on eight runs over the last two innings and Sullivan’s two-run single up the middle created an 11-run lead.

Trevor Wiggs earned the complete game win as he gave up five hits and one earned run.

Walker Valley plated its first run after already being down 6-0, as Mason Oran led off the third inning with a double and scored off a throwing error by the Owls third baseman.

Hunter Shamblin also doubled in the third with a sharp line drive down the third base line.

Matthew Pigg, who tossed five no-hit innings from the third to the seventh against Cookeville on Monday, is in line to get the nod in Walker Valley’s must win Friday battle.

The Mustangs will look to zone back in as they hope to make for an extended stay in Murfreesboro.

GAME SUMMARY

Walker Valley 003 00 — 3 5 2

Ooltewah 063 5x — 14 11 2

WP: Trevor Wiggs. LP: Ethan Hailey. 2B: Mason Oran, Hunter Shamblin (WV); Highlights: Brady Swafford a hit, 2 RBIs, Shamblin 2B, Oran 2B, one hit for Logan Cross, Tucker Mendenhall, (WV); Austin Spurgeon 3-for-4 3R 2 RBIs, Jake Sullivan 2-for-4 3 RBIs, Bruce Matthews 2-for-2 3R RBI (O). Records: Walker Valley 23-13. Ooltewah 29-6.

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