BY CHIP CIRILLO
Chris McElvain put an exclamation point on Summit’s extra-inning win Monday night.
The Vanderbilt signee’s three-run double off the wall in left-center field with two outs capped a four-run rally in the eighth, sealing the Spartans’ 6-2 win at Brentwood.
“Well, it was all my teammates,” McElvain said. “My teammates got on base and they gave me a huge opportunity. I’ve been hot this season and I thank the Lord for that. They loaded the bases and it was my job to put the score up.”
It was a job well done, but the Spartans (7-3, 3-1 District 11-AAA) have come to expect that over the years from the 6-foot-1 senior.
Blake Money’s sacrifice fly gave Summit a 1-0 lead in the first, but Brentwood (4-5, 2-2) rallied to take a 2-1 advantage with two runs in the fifth.
Summit’s Cole Thomason drew a bases-loaded walk from reliever Max Robertson with two outs in the seventh to tie the game at 2.
Cole Hendrix, the No. 9 hitter in the Spartans’ batting order, got hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth to bring in the winning run.
McElvain did the rest.
“We had to fight through some things tonight,” Spartans coach Chad Kirby said. “I didn’t like our character early, but I think we came together finally at the end. We tried to do more than just play the game tonight. We tried to be umpire and coach and everything else and we finally just settled down and played.”
Money and reliever Bricen Russell combined to strike out 17 Bruins, including 12 in the first four innings.
Money, a 6-7, 235-pound LSU commit whose fastball has been clocked in the 94-mph range, struck out nine and allowed one hit in the first three innings.
But he was ejected in the fourth after disputing a called third strike while leaving the batter’s box. The junior will be suspended for Summit’s next two games due to a TSSAA rule.
Russell, a 6-2 Chattanooga State signee whose fastball is in the upper 80s/lower 90s range, struck out eight and allowed two runs in five innings of relief against the defending Class AAA runner-up.
“Both of them – they’re big, power arms and they’ve got good off-speed and they’re in the zone,” Kirby said. “They’re going to strike a lot of people out and it’s not just Brentwood. We like our arms, that’s for sure.”
Summit has the luxury of two Southeastern Conference pitchers in Money and McIlvain.
“If we can’t do something with that, then we have problems,” McElvain said. “It’s a team sport and the team that we have behind Blake and I is amazing, so we have to do something with it.”
McElvain was the catcher for Money and Russell, and he said they both threw breaking balls well on tough counts, so it was more than just overpowering fastballs.
McElvain showcased his arm strength from behind the plate while still in a crouch when he threw out Brentwood’s Will Laughlin when he strayed off second base in the eighth.
“Baseball is a crazy game and it was definitely a crazy night,” Brentwood coach Bill Moore said. “I thought our kids did a super job of competing and giving us tremendous effort. When you’re playing Summit, it’s tough sledding and I thought our guys really emptied the bucket, doing everything they could.”
Brentwood starter Connor Smith allowed only two runs in 6-2/3 innings.
Bruins third baseman Cade Granzow, an Auburn commit, delivered an RBI single up the middle in the fifth.
Brentwood and Summit split their two-game series, including the Bruins’ 4-3 win on March 13.
“Our team kept fighting and that’s a good sign, but I feel like we should have handled that game better,” Granzow said. “Don’t forget about it because we want them back. We’ve got Franklin, so now we’re moving on to them, but we’re still going to remember this. Use it for fuel.”
Spring Hill at Summit
Brentwood at Franklin