Stone baseball rolls over CCHS

Mar. 30—The Stone Memorial Panthers played one of their most complete games Monday night when they jumped on top of things early and never took their feet off the gas. SMHS was solid at the plate and in the field on its way to picking up a big District 7 home baseball victory over Cumberland County, 26-2.

"As always, we try to prepare as if this is not a rivalry game," said Stone coach Trent Stokes. "It is another district game that we want to win, so we want to make sure we're prepared for it.

"The guys did a really good job. We came out on Sunday and fixed some things on our swings. We had a good game plan as to how we wanted to attack them at the plate. We kept our emotions at bay. It is just another team in the dugout."

The win improves the Panthers to 4-6 on the season and 1-2 in district play. Cumberland County falls to 2-5 overall and 0-3 in league action.

The Jets drew first blood with a solo run off Stone starter Nick Osmun. Eli Ostrander led the game off with a walk. He moved to second on a passed ball, and then advanced to third on another pitch that got past the catcher.

Ostrander came home on a single by Kellen Burnett to make it 1-0. Ryder Myers then flew out and Braden Mathes then hit into a double play to end the inning.

Just three days earlier Stone Memorial struggled in a loss to Rhea County. Stokes didn't think his team did well at the plate in the loss, so the Panthers spent most of the weekend working on their mechanics at the plate.

"As a coach, you kind of know when your team is ready to roll," Stokes said. "From just how pregame went, how in-and-outs went, how their mojo was, I knew we were going to have a good game.

"Good at bats are something we've been working on all season. We've given up some leads to some teams, and we've lost some leads to teams. It was really important for us to come out tonight and finish that, and be able to put a team away. And that's what they did."

Stone Memorial came out with their bats swinging in the bottom of the inning. Talyn Burd led off with a single and he promptly stole second base. Osmun then doubled in Burd. Bryce Elmore was hit by a pitch, and Osmun came around to score on an error to make it 2-0.

Elmore advanced to second and Kam Melton was hit by a pitch. Drake Scarbrough lined out and Gage Eldridge followed that by reaching on an error, which allowed Elmore to score. Cade Wilson was hit by a pitch which loaded the bases. Melton later scored on a passed ball and Eldridge scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-1.

Tyler Bisbee then walked and stole second base. Kyle Hinch then singled, and Burd came back up and hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Wilson. Osmun then came up with another double, this time scoring Bisbee, and Elmore had a blast in the gap to score Hinch and Osmun to push the Panthers' lead to make it 9-1.

Elmore's hit chased Ostrander who was relieved by Rylan Burnett. Elmore eventually came around to score on a passed ball to make it 10-1, before the Jets got two more outs to close down the inning.

"Sometimes when you get a big lead like that, guys are going to want to get up there and do their own thing," Stokes said. "Sunday, we worked on swings and I think the guys wanted to get up there and show their swings were fixed."

The Panthers held Cumberland County scoreless in the top of the second inning, but created some more separation when they came up in the bottom of the frame. The first three batters of the inning reached base. Burd was then hit by a pitch to bring in Wilson and Osmun walked to force in Bisbee to make it 12-1.

Elmore was also hit by a pitch, bringing in Hinch. Burnett was replaced on the mound by Caleb Hawn for CCHS. Burd then came around to score on a wild pitch and Melton walked. Scarbrough was hit by a pitch to score Osmun to make it 15-1. After Eldridge struck out, Elmore scored on a wild pitch.

Wilson then walked and Bisbee was hit by a pitch, bringing in Melton to make it 17-1. Later, Hinch singled to bring in Scarbrough and Wilson to push the Stone Memorial advantage to 19-1. Osmun capped the inning with a three-run homer, scoring Hinch and Burd ahead of him to make it 22-1.

"I thought Nick did awesome tonight," Stokes said. "We gave up that run early, other than that he shut them down. At the plate, I think he was 3-for-4, with a home run. Nick's been having some back issues that have been slowing him down. But he's a real competitor."

Stone Memorial will be back on the field March 30 when the Panthers visit Cookeville. The first pitch is set for 5:30 p.m. Cumberland County will visit Warren County the same day, starting at 6 p.m.

"We're moving this lineup around almost daily," Stokes said. "So, when you do get in the game it is time to make sure you make a statement. Some guys did. I am proud of them for going in there and showing us maybe they need to be the ones playing on a day-to-day basis. It is always good when you can clear the bench."

CCHS coach Joey Burnett could not be reached for comment