The Motlow Bucks saw the 2013 baseball season draw to a close as Volunteer State came to the Driver Complex and swept the Bucks 11-9, 5-3 on April 26. The final game of the scheduled three-game series was rained out and will not be rescheduled.
Motlow (27-23, 9-17) did not qualify for the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) tournament, scheduled for this past weekend at Volunteer State in Gallatin. Only the top four teams in the final conference standings qualified for the tournament.
The Bucks jumped out of the gate this season with a 9-3 record before heading into conference play, but five losses in the first six conference contests put them behind the curve and they were never able to make up enough ground to earn a tournament berth.
On March 28, after a 10-2 win over Chattanooga State, Motlow was 20-13 overall and 5-8 in the conference. However, six consecutive conference losses ended any chance to battle their way back into contention.
The opener against Volunteer State saw the Bucks jump out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second as Ryan Shelton slammed a two-out, three-run homer. The Pioneers came right back with five runs in the third off Bucks starting pitcher Brandon Reynolds (5-6), who allowed eight earned runs in 3.2 innings.
Motlow retook the lead in the bottom of the inning with four runs. Cole Veazey led off with a double and scored one out later when Ben Holland doubled him home. Chevis Hoover then stepped to the plate and hit a three-run homer, his third of the season, to give Motlow a 7-5 lead.
The Bucks couldn’t hold the lead though as the Pioneers scored three more in the fourth and then three more in the six. Zack Westberry relieved Reynolds in the fourth and pitched the final 3.1 innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits.
The visiting Pioneers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in game two, scoring one in the first inning and two more in the third off Motlow starter Josh Hopkins (4-5). The Bucks battled back though, scoring once in the fourth and twice in the sixth to tie the score 3-3. The fourth inning run came on a walk, two Volunteer errors and a sacrifice bunt.
In the sixth the Bucks started the inning with three consecutive singles from Holland, Clayton Palicki and Hoover, with the last one driving home Holland. The second run of the inning scored after a Pioneer error and a Cody Jernigan RBI groundout.
The winning runs for the visitors came in the top of the seventh as they took advantage of a passed ball, an interference call, an error and a single to score the final two runs of the contest.
Sophomore relief pitcher Owen Blackwelder set a new all-time school record for both a single season and for a career with seven saves, breaking the previous mark of six set by Mike Danley in 1993-94.
—By C. SCOTT SHASTEEN, Motlow College Sports Information