STORY BY MITCHELL STEPHENSON | PHOTOS BY CARL EDMONDSON, JR.
A night of Franklin city baseball tilted in favor to the flagship school.
The Franklin Rebels bested the Battle Ground Academy Wildcats at home Friday night, 4-1.
Both pitchers were dominant in the 1st inning. Caleb Flemings for Battle Ground Academy, and Mike Caleb for Franklin. They both forced multiple ground outs.
However, in the second inning, the Franklin Rebels bats got hot. Dalton Pyzer hit a double for the Rebels, putting him in prime scoring position. Then Carson Garner hit a single and Pyzer advanced to third base. With runners on first and third with one out, the Rebels looked to capitalize.
And they did, as Trey Costello RBI singled in Pyzer giving Franklin a 1-0 lead as Garner advanced to second. With runners now on second and first, Luke Wilkes was walked loading the bases for the Rebels with still one out. Garner then scored on after an error at the plate allowed him to come home. Then Tucker Smith hit a double RBI bringing in two runners to make it 4-0 Franklin Rebels.
Flemings then held tough for BGA and was able to close out the inning without any other scores allowed, but it was 4-0 Franklin after 2 innings.
In the third, Wyatt Wilson got on base with a single, followed by Whitt McDaniel. Placing runners on second and first. Then Mitch Petzelt hit a ball a little to hard for third baseman Luke Giles to handle allowing all runners to advance loading the bases for BGA.
With hopes of scoring Teddy Holloway stepped up to bat for BGA with two outs. He battled Franklin pitcher Caleb Miller to a 3-2 count before grounding out. BGA stranded three runners. Their bats got hot but couldn’t capitalize. BGA made a pitching change, and replaced Fleming with Jaylen Frierson. Fleming ended his evening by throwing 35 pitches, and recording 22 strikes in tw0 innings of work.
At this point in the game Franklin has four runs from four hits assisted by one error, and BGA has three hits but zero runs. Franklin leads 4-0 after three innings.
In the 4th BGA made another pitching change bringing in Jack Joyce. Frierson threw 25 pitches, and recorded 15 strikes. He only gave up one hit and had a strikeout. With runners on first and second, Joyce was able to close out the inning stranding runners for Franklin.
To start the fifth inning, Franklin also changed pitchers, as Will Wiggons took the mound. Caleb ended his evening with 65 pitches thrown, and recorded 44 strikes. He gave up three hits, and had three strikeouts. Wiggons closed out the inning without any score. Franklin still leads 4-0.
In the sixth inning BGA made another pitching change, bringing in Blake Rowe. Joyce ended his night throwing 19 pitches, and recording six strikes. He also forced a ground a out, and a fly out. Rowe got out all three batters he faced, showing his efficiency on the mound. After six innings it’s 4-0 Franklin.
BGA led off their last at bat with Rowe hitting a double, then stealing third base. Next Aiden McLay grounded out but scored the RBI as Rowe came home. 4-1 Franklin with one out. Fleming then hit a pop fly out. With two outs Zach McCullough was struck out by Wiggons, closing the game with a 4-1 Franklin victory.
After the game, BGA head coach Jonathan Hackett said, “It was a good opportunity for us to come out and show a lot of arms. Franklin’s a good team, and we hit it well. I thought our pitchers did a good job keeping them at bay a little bit. We had one inning where they were able to string a few hits together and score a few runs.
“Offensively we’ve been struggling to string them together lately. They did a great job. Tip your hat to both of their pitchers. They kept us off balance all night.We had a few hits total. And those hit’s didn’t come in timely situations. They didn’t walk a ton of people to give us opportunities to score runs. I thought from our standpoint we’ve just got to be able to hit it more aggressively.”
Franklin’s head coach Jon Whipple spoke on the contest, “Out defense and pitching played a big part tonight. They did a good job of throwing strikes, and defense played good behind them. Offensively, we had the big inning where we put up four runs. We’d like to see more runs scored, but we’ll take the win.”
BGA’s next game is April 8 at Middle TN Christian. Franklin plays Page on the road April 8 as well.