CALHOUN, Ga. -- If there were any questions concerning Conard Broom's ability to pitch at the next level, the Gordon Lee High School pitcher provided plenty of answers Monday night.
The junior right-hander pitched all 10 innings in a 1-0 win over Class AA power Calhoun, allowing only three hits and striking out 13 in front of a big crowd that included some college scouts. Class A Gordon Lee (15-6) scored the lone run on Sean Coakley's single to right field with one out in the 10th.
Broom (7-1) needed just over 100 pitches in a combination of inside fastballs and sweeping left-to-right curves to silence a Calhoun team that entered with a .360 batting average and an average of six runs per game.
"He's the real deal," Gordon Lee coach Mike Dunfee said of his ace. "My thing with him is that it's not like he just goes out there and throws. He knows the game. His baseball knowledge helps him big-time, and he's as hard a worker as you will ever see. It was a lot of fun watching him, and once again he proved he's legitimate.
"And, I tell you, their pitcher did a great job, too."
Calhoun sophomore Easton Gallman matched Broom inning for inning, though he had to work around a few more baserunners. The Trojans put six leadoff men on against Gallman, who went nine innings and allowed six hits.
Each team had a scoring chance in the sixth ruined by errant baserunning. Gordon Lee had the bases loaded with one out in the top half when Logan Peterson hit what would have been a sacrifice fly, but the runner at first, thinking the ball was going to fall for a hit, was well around second at the catch and easily was doubled off. Calhoun had a runner on first with two out in the bottom half when Brett Peek singled to left, but the runner was caught rounding too far at second and was nailed for the third out.
Neither team threatened again until the 10th, when Zack Cobb worked a one-out walk for the Trojans and Tucker Bradley followed with a walk against Calhoun reliever Avery Johnson. Coakley then followed with his RBI single just past a diving Spencer Cross at first.
Calhoun made Broom earn the win with a walk and a hit batter in the bottom half, but Broom struck out Chaz Moss to end the game.
"The big thing tonight was I tried my best to throw first-pitch strikes and my curve was working good," said Broom, who earlier this season pitched a nine-inning complete game in a win over Whitefield Academy. "I also didn't lose much velocity, and I couldn't have done it without my defense. They made several nice plays for me. This was definitely an important game for us."
The win should provide extra benefits for the Trojans, whose playoff seeding in Class A may come down to the team's power ranking.
"I'm not sure our kids even understand how big a win it is for us point-wise," said Dunfee, whose team will earn five bonus points for the win against the higher-classification Yellow Jackets (15-4) and one point for each of Calhoun's wins during the regular season. "Any time you can beat a quality team like Calhoun, it's great."
Contact Lindsey Young at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 423-757-6296.
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...