By CHIP CIRILLO
Summit freshman Chris McElvain improved to 8-0 after outdueling Hunter Dupree in Sunday’s win over visiting Independence in a District 11-AAA winners’ bracket semifinal.
It’s hard to believe Chris McElvain is a freshman by the way he’s pitching this season.
The Vanderbilt commitment improved to 8-0 after outdueling Hunter Dupree in Summit’s 1-0 win over visiting Independence in a District 11-AAA winners’ bracket semifinal on Sunday.
He fired a two-hitter with nine strikeouts and one walk in seven innings. His earned run average is under 1.00.
“He mixed well today,” Spartans coach Chad Kirby said. “His curveball was good, he located, one walk. He was on today. It was one of the better outings I’ve seen.”
Summit (28-4) extended its win streak to 11, earning a berth in the winners’ bracket final against Ravenwood at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Fifth-seeded Independence (15-17) faces Brentwood in an elimination game at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The Bruins eliminated Dickson County with a 10-0 win.
McElvain, the district pitcher of the year, knew he’d have to be good because Dupree was the last pitcher to beat the Spartans back on April 13.
“Hunter beat us earlier this year, so we knew that it was going to be important for me to come out and throw strikes and beat them,” McElvain said. “That was more of a motivator than anything considering that he’s beat us this year. I knew that it was time to come out and shut them all down.”
He used his fastball and curveball to keep the Eagles off-balance. The 6-footer’s fastball has been clocked at 92 mph.
|Summit freshman Chris McElvain improved to 8-0 with a win over Independence.|
Independence managed only two singles off him and got just one runner to third base.
Reed Johnson’s two-out single drove in leadoff hitter Will Dalton with the game’s only run in the first.
Dalton, the district player of the year, is 33-of-36 on stolen bases. The senior has signed with San Jacinto College, Texas.
“It was a curveball and I knew it was coming,” Johnson said. “I just waited on it and swung.”
Dupree was nearly as dominant as McElvain as he fired a three-hitter with three strikeouts and one walk in six innings.
Summit almost scored another run in the second, but right fielder Tommy Morren threw out Levi Hood at the plate when he tried to score from second base on Dalton’s single in the second.
Morren, a Memphis signee as a pitcher, won a pitchers’ duel of his own with Centennial’s Hooper Mills in Saturday’s first round.
Dupree finished strong, retiring 12 of the last 13 batters during the final four innings.
“Hunter pitches not with stuff, but he pitches with his heart and his head,” Eagles coach Michael McLaury said. “I don’t know what it is, but he’s thrown two good games against Summit. He was able to throw the breaking ball in fastball counts and then he was able to keep the ball down and come up when he had to.”
The Border Battle rivalry may have brought out the best in Dupree. The schools are just 5.7 miles apart with Summit in Spring Hill and Independence in Thompson’s Station.
Some neighborhoods include students going to each school.
“It’s a really good rivalry and I’ve known a lot of those kids on that team for a pretty long time,” Dupree said. “It’s pretty heated sometimes, especially football season and then coming here there’s always a lot of talk, and it’s always a good game.”
Dupree’s two-seam fastball was effective on left-handed hitters and he went outside on righties
“At the end I started jamming them a little bit,” said Dupree, a middle linebacker on Independence’s Class 5A champion football team.
Summit, the regular-season champion, is seeking its first district tournament title. The Spartans earned a Region 6-AAA berth with the regular-season championship.
The tournament champion also qualifies for the regional. If Summit wins the tournament the runner-up earns a spot in the regional.