STORY BY CHIP CIRILLO | PHOTOS BY CARL EDMONDSON, JR.
Brad Myers liked his hitters’ approaches at the beginning and the end, but not the middle.
It added up to a 10-6 win for Grace Christian Academy over Franklin Road Academy in Leiper’s Fork on Wednesday night.
“We’re getting better,” said Myers, whose team scored four runs in the first inning, four more in the fifth and two in the sixth.
The teams combined for six home runs: four by FRA (3-8) and two by GCA (5-9-1) on the Lions’ short fences.
“We’re really starting to click together as a team,” said GCA first baseman Brock Arender, who went 3 for 3, including a two-run homer in the fifth.
The Lions took a 4-0 lead in the first, forcing the Panthers to play catch-up most of the game.
“We’re very strong on the offensive side and I feel like we can keep getting better every day with the top half of our lineup and even the bottom half,” said GCA catcher Blake Barton, who went 2 for 2 and scored three runs.
Center fielder Dylan Gadsey homered twice and had three RBI for the Panthers. Cleanup hitter J Ross and right fielder Jake Templin also homered.
“A lot of balls got hit off the fence and left the park,” FRA coach Jon Wilson said. “I think a couple of those balls were hit far enough to get out of a lot of parks. We don’t seem to be able to put a complete game together right now.”
FRA narrowed the deficit to 4-2 with one run in the fourth and another in the fifth, but GCA expanded its lead to 8-2 with four in the bottom of the fifth.
GCA made it to a Class A sectional last season, but the Lions have undertaken a difficult schedule this year.
“It is as tough a schedule as any of my teams have ever played. Period,” said Myers, a 27-year veteran with over 500 career wins. “I think this team has got a chance to be pretty special and you’ve just got to push them.”
The Lions have faced two Vanderbilt-bound pitchers this season.
“We’re playing basically a division above what we are,” said Barton, who returned from a foot injury recently. “We’re playing basically an AA schedule and I think we’ll play it very well. It will help us a lot because it’ll just be strong pitching and I think that will help our offensive side and when we go down to A it will be great.”
GCA’s roster includes three college signees: center fielder Carson Ford (Western Carolina), designated hitter Baylor Jones (Tennessee-Martin) and left fielder Austin Kasick (UT-Martin).