published Friday, May 17th, 2013

McCallie, Baylor baseball teams seek upsets

McCallie's Mitch Dolinger arrives late to second base as Baylor's Hunter Holland looks to throw to first.
McCallie's Mitch Dolinger arrives late to second base as Baylor's Hunter Holland looks to throw to first.
Photo by Tim Barber.

TSSAA BASEBALL SCHEDULE TODAY

Class A Sectionals

Trousdale County (18-15) at Silverdale Baptist (25-2-1), 5

Marion County (20-13) at Friendship Christian (28-6), 7:30

Class AA Sectional

East Hamilton (26-13) at Upperman (24-10), 11:30 a.m.

Class AAA Sectional

Ooltewah (23-12) at Riverdale (26-11), 7:30

Division II-AA Quarterfinals

Baylor (16-12) at Pope John Paul II (21-9), DH, 6

McCallie (18-10) at Memphis Univ. School (15-11), DH, 6

While Tennessee's Division I high school baseball teams spent Monday and Wednesday getting to within a win of the state tournament, Division II members Baylor and McCallie remain two wins from the same goal.

The two will play road doubleheaders today -- Baylor at Pope John Paul II and McCallie at Memphis University School -- and may need third games Saturday to get to Murfreesboro next week.

There is only one baseball game in the Chattanooga area today. Silverdale Baptist Academy will host Trousdale County at 5 p.m. in a Class A sectional.

Also in Class A, Marion County will be at Friendship Christian. East Hamilton, the lone area Class AA school still alive, is teeing it up at 11:30 this morning at Upperman because of graduation conflicts for the two schools. Ooltewah plays tonight at Riverdale in a Class AAA sectional.

It could be considered an upset or at least a major accomplishment for McCallie or Baylor to advance.

"Considering that we went in [to the season] knowing our No. 1 [pitcher] wasn't going to throw a pitch and our No. 2 was questionable after tearing an ACL in football, I was thinking that anything .500 or better would be an accomplishment," first-year McCallie coach Greg Payne said.

Spencer Morgan, who had six wins as a sophomore, is still recovering from a torn labrum, and Mitch Dolinger has one win and one inning as he continues to test his repaired knee.

"We started five sophomores, and four of those hadn't played much varsity ball at all," Payne said.

The Blue Tornado exceeded expectations and boarded the bus for Memphis with an 18-10 record.

"There were a number of games where the kids were down and continued to compete," Payne said. "We were behind, even late in some games, and they continued to scrap and fight."

McCallie has a tall order. MUS has five players who have signed with or committed to NCAA Division I programs.

"They have four SEC signees. We don't even have four seniors that play," Payne said.

Baylor didn't lose a game outside of Division II play but struggled at times, suffering a six-game losing streak at one point.

"We're fortunate that we're still alive with a shot to do better," Red Raiders coach Gene Etter said.

They entered the season with questions about pitching, but the pitching and defense matched the perennial good hitting early. The Raiders also lost center fielder and pitcher Taylor Maxey for a rather lengthy span to mononucleosis. However, they rebounded to upset Briarcrest, the No. 3 seed from the West Region, last week.

"I felt we had a good shot and it worked out," Etter said.

But his team is an underdog to the Nashville school.

"A big underdog," the coach said. "They swept us [in a three-game series] and they finished second in our division while we were seventh."

The Raiders' mindset, though, is the same at it was when they went to Briarcrest.

Contact Ward Gossett at wgossett@timesfreepress.com or 423-886-4765.

about Ward Gossett...

Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...

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