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High School Baseball

Baseball: GCA stays hungry despite region title win

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Baseball – Goodpasture at Grace Christian Academy, DII-A Middle Region Championship

Jordan Carter 

FRANKLIN – Another fast start and more big bats led to a Division II-A Middle Region baseball championship for Grace Christian Academy, but the Lions didn’t celebrate Tuesday. 

Even after scoring eight runs in the first inning and clinching the region title with a 9-4 win over visiting Goodpasture at Clyde Pewitt Field near Leiper's Fork, the GCA boys stayed calm. They weren't very animated after winning the regular season district title or district tournament title either. 

“This is another big win for our program and it’s our first region title in a while, but we don’t want to let up,” said GCA’s Jordan Carter, who went 2-for-4 with a home run in the first inning and two RBI Tuesday. 

“We want to keep pushing the gas,” added Cade Fuller, who also homered in the first against Goodpasture. “We all have that goal of winning the state championship.” 

That kind of focus is what veteran GCA coach Brad Myers has preached all season. He said his team, which improved to 34-5 overall, simply remains ready for the next game, as they have all season. 

“This is a unique team,” Myers said. “They are in a spot where they aren’t satisfied. 

“When we won the district regular season title, they were like, ‘OK.’ When they won the district tournament, it was all right and now we win the region and they still aren’t celebrating. They are just ready for the next one.” 

GCA racked up eight hits in the first inning with Fuller, Dean Bechman and Carter all smashing homers. Carter went 2-for-2 in the frame, leading off with a single and closing the frame with a two-out, two-run bomb. 

“We all just try to stay focused,” Carter said. “We did put up scoreless innings as you can see tonight, though.” 

The Lions plated eight out of the gate and tacked on another run in the second, but stranded six runners the rest of the way. Goodpasture scored twice in the fourth and fifth, including a two-run homer by Trace Anderson to pull the visitors within 9-4. 

Parker Wyatt entered in relief and allowed just one hit the rest of the way on the mound to silence the visitors. Hudson Miller earned the win, going 4 1/3 innings with four earned off four hits with three strikeouts. Wyatt, who paced GCA at the plate going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, finished with four Ks to post the save. 

The Lions out-hit Goodpasture 12-4 and produced multiple home runs for the fifth time in seven outings. 

“We have been fortunate to put together some pretty big innings the last couple weeks and it’s not just one or two guys leading the way, it’s everybody contributing,” Myers said. “Once they get rolling, it just kind of snowballs and the guys get fired up.

“This is a fun team and they do a lot of things well. They play for each other first and foremost, and as a coach, that’s all you want.” 

The Lions earned a bye in the next round of the DII-A postseason. They will host a best-of-3 series next beginning on Wednesday, May 18, trying to secure a Final Four berth. GCA reached the Final Four for the first time in 2019. They fell in the quarterfinals last season. 

“Last year we had the potential to go further, so this year we are staying focused and disciplined,” Carter said. 

“We will just keep pressing on,” Fuller added. 

Grace Christian Academy 9, Goodpasture 4, Division II-A Middle Region Championship 

GDPS 000 220 0 – 4 5 1 

GCA 810 000 X – 9 12 2

WP – Hudson Miller (4 1/3 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 3 K, 5 BB). LP – John Henry Knotts (1/3 IP, 7 H, 7 ER, 0 K, 0 BB). SV – Parker Wyatt (2 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 4 K, 1 BB). 

GDPS – Jaron Elkins 1-3, Logan Harrell 0-2, Carson Rucker 0-2, Trace Anderson 2-4, Tanner Lane 0-2, Tyler Jones 0-3, Jonah Smithson 0-3, Tanner Jones 1-3, Hutson Miles 1-3. 

GCA – Jordan Carter 2-4, Parker Wyatt 3-4, Trace Phillips 2-4, Jackson Sleeper 0-3, Cade Fuller 1-3, Gunner Haskins 1-2, Dean Bechman 2-3, Dawson Bechman 1-3, Owen Brewer 0-2. 

2B – Ta. Jones; De. Bechman, Wyatt 2. HR – Anderson; De. Bechman, Carter, Fuller. RBI – Miles 2, Anderson 2; De. Bechman 2, Carter 2, Fuller 2, Phillips 2, Sleeper. SB – Bishop Quarles, Harrell.

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