HARROGATE, Tenn. — Cumberland Gap’s baseball team drew a tough assignment to open the season. The Panthers dropped both games of a home-and-home series against defending District 2-AA champion Greeneville on Monday and Tuesday.
The Devils took the opener at Greeneville by a score a 6-2. A five-run 5th inning keyed the win and Zach Finchum struck out 14 in a five-hitter to get the win.
Game two saw the Devils pull away late with eight runs over the final three innings for a 10-3 win.
Matt Barham struck out eleven over 6-1/3 while giving up just three runs, one earned, on five hits to get the victory.
“They’ve got two senior pitchers that are horses in Finchum and Barham and Greeneville is going to have a change to beat anybody with those two guys on the mound,” Cumberland Gap coach Nick Huckaby said. “We’re talking about a team that was one run away from a regional championship last year and we battled with them in both games. Unfortunately there’s not a moral victory column. We’ve got to get better and losing has got to hurt, whether it’s Greeneville or the Yankees.”
In game one, the Panthers got a two-run single from senior catcher Brandon Bailey. Bailey led the team with two hits. Senior second baseman Gavin Burns singled, stole a base and scored a run. Jonathan Lorens was hit by a pitch and scored the other Cumebrland Gap run in that one. The Panthers also got singles from Hunter Bayless and Chase Smith.
In the second game, Burns led the Panther offense with a single, a walk, an RBI ground out and a run scored. Smith singled, walked, was hit by a pitch, stole two bases and scored a run. Lorens walked, singled, stole a base and scored. Bayless and Bailey also had singles for Cumberland Gap. Joe Gidens and Gage Barnett both reached on errors while Devon Helton was hit by a pitch and drew a walk.
Lorens started and only gave up one run over three innings while scattering five hits. He struck out four without walking a batter.
“We’re a little young, but it all depends on where we are at the end of April. I like playing a good team like that to see where we are now,” Huckaby said. “We fought, scratched and balled. We can control our effort and that was there, so that’s a positive out of it.”
Cumeberland Gap (0-2) is scheduled to host Washburn on Thursday and visit Middlesboro on Friday.
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|W — Finchum. L — Helton.|
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|Barham, Newberry (7) and Patterson; Lorens, Bayless (4), Helton (5) and Bailey. W — Barham. L — Lorens.|