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Diamond Irish slip past Bearden

Close victories were hard to come by for Knoxville Catholic’s baseball team last season.

But this is a new season and the Irish reversed that trend Tuesday night, March 22, with a 4-2 victory over Bearden in the District 4-AAA opener for both schools at KCHS's Gaylor Field.

The Irish fell behind early when pitcher Zach Quayle surrendered a two-run homer to Bulldogs second baseman Trey York with nobody out in the top of the second inning. Bearden catcher Drew Pasillas singled and pinch-runner Tyler Hill scored.

Bearden got pair of hits in the top of the first as Dakota Stallings and Derek Lance got consecutive singles with one out in the frame.

Quayle, Catholic's senior left-handed hurler, escaped that inning without harm and went six giving up two runs, five hits, two walks and hitting a batter while striking out four.

“I've given up bombs like that all the time and they [the Bulldogs] are a good hitting team,” Quayle said. “They've had my number over the past couple of years, so this feels really great.

“I had the confidence that we were going to win this game.”

The Irish southpaw pitched out of a jam in the first and got two key strikeouts after Bearden loaded the bases and threatened to recapture the lead that Catholic wrestled away in the bottom of the fifth.

“We won this game because of our senior leadership and that starts on the mound,” Irish head coach Adam Sullivan said. “Zach gives up the two-run homer in the second and he doesn't get flustered.

“He never gets flustered and that carries to the whole team.”

Catholic trimmed Bearden's lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the third. Quayle got the Irish's first hit with one out and eventually scored on an error.

The Irish took the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Adam Reed led off with a bunt single. He took third on Harrison's double. Both runners scored on a single by sophomore designated hitter Ben Breazeale.

“That was a big moment in this game. I just went with the pitch and took one back up the middle,” Breazeale said. “This was great and it was a big win over Bearden.”


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