HVA wins despite adversity

Hawks rip L-Citythough Michalski is suspended. The Hawks opened the 2017 season without head coach Joe Michalski, indefinitely suspended with pay earlier this month, along with assistant Zach Luther, by Knox County Schools pending completion of a Knox County Sheriff’s Office investigation of an allegedly harmful batting practice ritual

LENOIR CITY — Nathan Johnson says he loves to pitch in cool weather, and his season-opening performance against Lenoir City High School seemed to back that up.

Johnson, Hardin Valley Academy’s senior pitcher, picked up a complete-game six-inning victory in the Hawks’ 14-2 win over the Panthers in the season and District 4-AAA opener for both schools in Loudon County Thursday, March 16.

“I love the temperatures and I actually like to pitch in this weather,” said Johnson, who surrendered two runs [both unearned], four hits and one walk in four innings. “When you’re pitching, you’re always moving and you’re always staying warm. And they give me a big jacket to wear in the dugout when we’re hitting.”

“I told the guys that today was about playing baseball, picking each other up, being positive and having positive body language,” interim head coach Matt Pattillo said. “For the most part, we did that.”

Ryder Green, Hawks junior shortstop, finished the game with three hits [including a three-run homer in the fifth inning]. Dawson Byard and Cam Fisher each added two RBI.

The Hawks [2-2 starting the week] also got RBI singles from Austin Johnson, Brock Umberger and Jack Umberger. Drew Parks drew a bases-loaded walk.