King secures NCCAA World Series bid with region crown
King went to 26-23 after the games Friday. Covenant has a record of 27-16 after the game. An at-large bid for Covenant will have to be determined by the national office over the weekend. Friday's championship games pitted last year's champion, King, against the runner-up in the region a season ago, Covenant.
The Tornado will have to await the final bracket for the NCCAA Division I World Series which will be announced over the weekend.
In the title tilt Dustin Pannell (Aiken, S.C.) made his first start of the season and went 5 2/3 innings for the victory. He gave up the two runs on six hits. David Prichard (Hamilton, Ohio) got the final out of the sixth before Nick Melcher (Orlando, Fla.) worked around a hit in the final inning.
King got the lead with two runs in the top of the second of the contest. One came via a squeeze bunt by Josh Huffman (Lynchburg, Va.) and the other on a sacrifice fly from Shane Timberlake (Lynchburg, Va.).
Covenant tied the game in the next half inning before the Tornado got the lead for good with a RBI single from Cody Snyder (Bluff City, Tenn.).
King tacked on runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings for insurance.
C.J. Stabler (Kingsport, Tenn.), Steven Mueller (Mt. Washington, Ky.) and Doug Freeman (Lakeland, Fla.) all had two hits apiece for the Tornado as King pounded out 10 hits in all. Mueller and Freeman had doubles.
Covenant's Wes McDowell suffered the loss as he went 4 2/3 innings with five runs, four earned runs, on eight hits.
The Scots got two hits from Taylor Oldham out of the designated hitter position and Chris Rollins finished with a pair of hits as well.
In the first game of the day after an out started the fifth Bryant Walker (Knoxville, Tenn.) drew a walk and then scored on Heath Williams' (Bristol, Va.) double down the left field line. Timberlake was hit by a pitch. With Huffman, a pinch-hitter, at the plate Walker and Timberlake stole bases to put two into scoring position. Huffman eventually struck out before Tyler Gaby (Bristol, Tenn.) stepped up and walked to load the bases. However the threat was ended when Snyder grounded out to second.
Freeman got King within a run with a two-out solo home run in the sixth. For Freeman it was his first home run of the season.
Covenant scored first in game one with a RBI single by David Lockwood with two outs in the top of the first. The Scots added a home run from Jonathan Carter to start the second. Later in the inning Kurtis Wiles scores on a sacrifice fly from James Rollins with the bases full of Scots.
Sterling Witt left the game with the lead after he threw five innings and gave up one run on two hits. He struck out four with two walks and a hit batter in the outing. Witt gave way to Demarius Johnson.
Wesley Houser (Knoxville, Tenn.) gave up the three Covenant runs on four hits in the 1 2/3 innings that he lasted. Houser walked two and hit another Scot batter.
In all the teams combined for seven hits with no one putting together a multi-hit effort.