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Baseball Rebels Battle Through State Tournament

By Jim Potts
jpotts@mckenziebanner.com
Posted 5/31/22

McKenzie/University School-Johnson City

ROCKVALE (MAY 24) — The Rebel Baseball team got underway in their first game of the tournament Tuesday at 6:30 at Rockvale High School with a threat of rain in the forecast. Runs came early as University School-JC hit a solo homer in the bottom of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. University School scored another solo run in the bottom of the second making it a 2-0 lead.

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Baseball Rebels Battle Through State Tournament

Posted
McKenzie/University School-Johnson City
ROCKVALE (MAY 24) — The Rebel Baseball team got underway in their first game of the tournament Tuesday at 6:30 at Rockvale High School with a threat of rain in the forecast. Runs came early as University School-JC hit a solo homer in the bottom of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. University School scored another solo run in the bottom of the second making it a 2-0 lead.
 
McKenzie got their first runs on the board in the top of the third inning after Braden Birmingham hit a double. Collin McLearen nailed a double to right field putting Birmingham on third. Hayden Hixson drew a walk which loaded the bases. Jake McDaniel drilled a deep fly ball to center field for a grand slam homer driving in four runs and RBIs giving McKenzie a 4-2 lead.
 
The fourth inning went scoreless along with the top of the fifth but University School JC got a single run in the bottom of the fifth inning to pull the score closer at 4-3 but it wouldn’t stay that way long as McKenzie exploded in the top of the sixth inning. Collin McLearen and Hayden Hixson got on base with hard hit balls and got extra bases on throwing errors. Jake McDaniel drew a walk loading the bases up for the Rebels. McLearen scored on a passed ball while Hixson advanced to third and McDaniel moved to second base. Ty Anderson hit a fly ball scoring Hixson to make it 6-2 for McKenzie. Jackson Cassidy drew a walk. After University School-Johnson City made a couple of lineup changes, Tate Surber drew a walk and McDaniel scores making it 7-2 for the Rebels. Reserve Runner Colt Norden scored a run followed by Zayden McCaslin and Tate Surber to make it a 10-2 lead for the Rebels.
 
The seventh inning was delayed due to rain and later called the game advancing the Rebels in the winner’s bracket.
 
Jake McDaniel got the win on the mound pitching four innings giving up four hits and two runs while walking one and striking out six. Ty Anderson came in and finished the last 1.2 innings giving up one hit, one walk, and struck out one.
 
McKenzie/Peabody
RIVERDALE (May 27) — Rain disrupted the schedule part of Wednesday and all of Thursday and forced a field location change from Rockvale to Riverdale High School which featured a turf field. The Rebels spent their free time bowling and getting some practice in before playing the next game.
 
McKenzie finally returned to the field Friday afternoon, May 27 with a winner’s bracket game against Trenton Peabody. A tight game from beginning to end but the Rebels lost to the Tide 2-1. Trenton scored first in the top of the first inning for a 1-0 lead over the Rebels. The second and third innings went scoreless but Trenton scored their second run in the top of the fourth inning. McKenzie finally got a score in the bottom of the fifth with Tate Surber driving in Jackson Cassidy for the score. The remainder of the game went scoreless sending McKenzie into the loser’s bracket.
 
Jackson Cassidy went the distance on the mound giving up six hits, two runs, issued two walks, and struck out seven in the contest.
 
McKenzie/Gordonsville
 RIVERDALE (May 27) — The Rebels had to work their way out the loser’s bracket by facing Gordonsville almost immediately after losing to Trenton Peabody on Friday May 27. While runs and hits were scarce in the previous game it wasn’t the case against Gordonsville. The Rebels got on the board early with a run in the bottom of the first when Ty Anderson hit a sacrifice fly that scored Collin McLearen for a 1-0 lead. After holding Gordonsville scoreless in the top of the second, McKenzie put four runs on the board for a 5-0 lead. Tate Surber started it off with a line drive and got to base on a throwing error. Braden Birmingham hit a double that advanced runners into scoring position. Collin McLearen hit a line drive to center scoring Surber. Jake McDaniel stepped up to the plate and drove a fly ball over the left field fence for a three-run homer to finish the scoring for the inning.
 
After a scoreless third inning for both teams, Gordonsville scored a solo run in the top of the fourth to make it 5-1 but the Rebels had more bats waiting in the bottom of the inning. Collin McLearen ripped a double into the outfield followed shortly by Hayden Hixson with another double. McDaniel was intentionally walked loading the bases. Ty Anderson hits into a fielder’s choice driving McLearen in for a score. After a pitching change for Gordonsville, Zayden McCaslin singled on a fly ball driving Hixson in for a score extending their lead to 7-1. Tate Surber and Nolan Renfro hit back to back singles scoring McDaniel and Anderson for a 9-1 lead.
 
After Gordonsville failed to score in the top of the fifth inning, the Rebels went right back to work with Hayden Hixson getting a leadoff double and advancing to third on a passed ball. Hixson scored on a sacrifice fly by Jake McDaniel giving the Rebels a 10-1 lead. The rest of the game went scoreless with McKenzie eliminating Gordonsville from the tournament and advancing on
 
Ty Anderson went the distance on the mound for the Rebels giving up six hits, one run, no walks, two strikeouts and gave up a home run.
 
McKenzie/Peabody (Game 1)
RIVERDALE ­— By Saturday, May 28, The Rebels could still see the Championship game in their sight but they would have to beat Trenton Peabody not once but twice in the same day. Losing was not an option at this point. Trenton fans, especially online, had ideas that this was open and shut. Not so fast my friends.
 
This game was wild and wooly from start to finish getting underway at 10 a.m. It didn’t take long for runs to come across home plate as Trenton scored a single run on a sacrifice fly in the top of the first inning. McKenzie answered with four runs in the bottom of the first. Hayden Hixson got on base first on a line drive to center field. Jake McDaniel and Ty Anderson both drew walks loading the bases with one out. Two batters later Zayden McCaslin singles on a line drive scoring Hixson. Tate Surber doubled on a line drive that scored McDaniel, Anderson, and McCaslin for a 4-1 McKenzie lead.
 
After a scoreless second inning, Trenton struck in the top of the third inning on a solo home run making it a 4-2 game. Trenton changed pitchers and held the Rebels scoreless in the bottom of the third inning. The Tide struck again with a solo run in the top of the fourth inning scoring on a sacrifice fly to make it a 4-3 game.
 
In the fifth inning, Trenton went three-up three-down putting the Rebels at bat in the bottom of the fifth. Hayden Hixson led off with a line drive single to left field. Two batters later, Ty Anderson draws a walk. Hixson and Anderson advanced to second and third on a wild pitch. Jackson Cassidy homers to left field driving in three runs opening the Rebel lead to 7-3. Trenton changed pitchers after Cassidy’s homer and picked up two outs to end the inning.
 
There was no score for either team in the sixth inning so the game went into the seventh inning with McKenzie leading 7-3. The top of the inning got off to a rough start having to change pitchers from Hayden Hixson to Zayden McCaslin. The Tide proceeded to score four runs to tie the game 7-7 heading into the bottom of the inning.
 
Jake McDaniel drew a walk to lead off the inning. Ty Anderson reached base on a fielder’s choice while McDaniel was thrown out at second base. Anderson took advantage of a catcher error to get from first to third base. McCaslin singled to the outfield scoring Anderson for the win.
 
Hayden Hixson nearly pitched a complete game going 6.1 innings giving up seven hits, four runs, issued two walks, and struck out five batters. Zayden McCaslin came in and finished the job on the mound giving up three hits and three runs while issuing a walk and striking out one. The game ended with McKenzie 8 and Peabody 7. 
 
McKenzie/Peabody
(Game 2)
RIVERDALE — Approximately 30 minutes after the Rebels stunned Trenton 8-7, the two teams were at it again - for the third time in the double-elimination tournament to decide who advances to the State Championship game against Eagleville.
 
This game started out quite with both teams trying to figure each other out. Neither teams scored in the first two innings. McKenzie got on the scoreboard first with a pair of runs in the top of the third inning. Braden Birmingham singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Two batters later, Hayden Hixson drew a walk putting runners on first and second. Jake McDaniel singled on a hard grounder that scored Birmingham. After Hixson advanced to third base on a fielding error, Ty Anderson brought him home on a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead for the Rebels. McDaniel continued to keep Trenton guessing in the bottom of the third inning holding them to no runs.
 
The Rebels went three-up three-down in the top of the fourth while Trenton tied the game 2-2 with the first run coming on a fielding error and the other came on a sacrifice fly.
 
That tie did not last long as McKenzie exploded for five runs on six hits in the top of the fifth inning. Braden Birmingham got on base first on a ground ball single. Collin McLearen hit a line drive double putting runners on second and third bases. Hayden Hixson hit a hard ground ball to center field scoring Birmingham and McLearen making the score 4-2 for the Rebels. Jake McDaniel doubled on a line drive. Ty Anderson grounded out to first base scoring Hixson while Jackson Cassidy popped a line drive single scoring McDaniel. Tate Surber drove Cassidy in on a line drive single increasing the Rebel lead to 7-2 by the end of the inning.
 
McDaniel forced Trenton to go three up and three down on two ground outs and a fly out in the bottom of the fifth inning.
 
In the top of the sixth inning, Hayden Hixson sent a flyball over the wall for a solo homer giving the Rebels an 8-2 lead. Trenton went three up and three down again to end the sixth inning. 
 
McKenzie went three up and three down in the top of the seventh. McDaniel had two Trenton batters ground out and he struck out the last one to end the game eliminating the Tide 8-2 and moving on to the State Championship game on Sunday afternoon.
 
McDaniel went the distance on the mound for the Rebels giving up five hits and two runs while walking one and striking out two batters. 

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