MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — It was more a football move or even something out of the WWE than what you'd expect to see on a baseball field.
Seconds after striking out the final batter he faced, Friendship Christian pitcher Brennan Swindoll tossed his glove into the air, then ran toward his catcher Gunner Osborne, who was charging toward him. Swindoll lowered his shoulder into Osborne's midsection, wrapped both arms around him and form-tackled his teammate to the ground to start a celebratory dog-pile after the Commanders' 4-0 victory over Silverdale Baptist Academy for the Class A state championship.
"It was just such a great feeling, to win it all as a senior," said Swindoll, who played defensive back for the Commanders football team that won state titles in 2011 and '12. "There's no better time to win it all than your senior year. It's something me and everyone on the team will always remember."
Swindoll, a Chattanooga State signee, went the distance, striking out nine and scattering seven hits. He worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning, striking out the final two batters, in preserving the shutout and earning his second win of the state tournament.
"I just tried to relax and hit my spots in that situation," Swindoll said. "I wasn't nervous. I felt confident in several pitches and I knew the defense had my back, so I just tried to make good pitches.
"Getting a couple of runs early was really big for us. That got the nerves out of the way, and we were able to just go play."
Friendship Christian was making its sixth straight state tournament appearance, but the championship is the program's first since 2007. The Commanders were runners-up in 2011.
They scored two runs in the second inning when Austin Godwin and Tanner Martin rapped back-to-back doubles and Osborne followed with an RBI single. They added two runs in the top of the sixth, scoring on an error and a wild pitch.
The Seahawks stranded nine runners on base. Josiah Green and Jordan Delashmitt each went 2-3.
"Swindoll is a great pitcher," Seahawks coach John Adcock said. "He did a great job of handcuffing us a few times, and we couldn't get a big hit when we had chances. He would bear down and make some really good pitches.
"It's been a fantastic year, and I can't say enough about these young men. We had never even won a district championship before this season and they won that, plus a region and state sectional and got us further than any team in school history. I know the guys are upset now, but I can't be anything but proud."
Contact Stephen Hargis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6293.
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 23 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including nine in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers in the nation at the Associated ...