MURFREESBORO – The Brentwood Academy baseball team doesn’t seem to do things the easy way.
The two-time defending DII state champions were staring two elimination games right in the face over the weekend but answered the call both times.
In their best of three sectional series against BGA, the visiting Wildcats won the first game in the best-of-three series 7-4 on Friday.
“I was really nervous between games (Friday), knowing the situation,” veteran coach Buddy Alexander said. “We weren’t allowed to start the series early on Thursday (due to impending rain). Then after losing to BGA, we had no margin for error.”
But the Eagles bounced back to win the second game 5-2 and forced a deciding contest Saturday afternoon.
Senior Will Blalock went 4-for-5 with a home run, two doubles, a triple and seven RBIs, and senior Andy Lennington went 4-for-4 with four RBIs and four runs scored as the Eagles crushed BGA 16-6 and earned secured their spot at the state tournament.
“Our guys came out (Saturday) with a sense of purpose and no panic and really got the job done,” said Alexander whose team opens the double-elimination state tournament Tuesday night against Briarcrest at Wilson Central High.
An eight-run sixth broke the game open.
“Will and Andy were outstanding,” Alexander said. “Will missed going for the cycle by not hitting a single.”
Lennington and Jay Luna (4-3) each pitched in the decisive game and allowed nine hits combined.
Now, BA gets a chance at a three-peat. It will take three straight wins.
“That’s something (winning three straight) we don’t even talk about,” Alexander said, “because that’s our goal each year. Our expectations are high.”
As clutch as BA’s comeback was over the weekend, it can’t compare to what the Eagles did two years ago.
They lost to Baylor in the first game of the tournament, then bounced back, with wins over BGA and Christian Brothers. Then they beat Baylor twice on the final day, thanks to an amazing seventh-inning rally.
“We had to win four games in 48 hours to win state (at Lipscomb), and somehow we found a way,” Alexander said. “That’s something that might not ever happen again.”
Last year, BA won in a more conventional way, winning three games in three days, going through without a loss. It finished the season with a 30-6 record.
Alexander would far prefer the ’09 roadmap over the ’08 route.
“We haven’t played any of the other teams in the tournament (Briarcrest, MUS and Christian Brothers),” Alexander said. “I like that, in that everyone is new and off to a fresh start. There are only four teams left, and everyone is very good.”
• NCS slays the champs: Nashville Christian School (22-8) plays Friendship Christian in the Eagles’ Class A state tournament opener at Riverdale High after slaying the giant.
The Eagles captured one of the great baseball victories in school history last Friday with a 6-3 sectional road victory against defending champion Summertown.
NCS (22-8) used a three-run rally in the final inning, highlighted by a two-run double by Joe Whelen, along with a home run by Davis Fleming to clip the Eagles. Cody Hartley pitched a three-hitter for the win.
NCS, guided by first-year coach Ben Williams, is looking for the school’s first state baseball championship. There are eight teams in the Class A tournament.
Spring Fling schedule
Nashville area teams
At Riverdale High: 6:30 (appr) – NCS vs. Friendship Christian
At Blackman High: 6:30 (appr) – Lipscomb vs. DeKalb County
At Wilson Central: 6:30 (appr)– Brentwood Academy vs. Briarcrest
At LaVergne High: 6:30 (appr) – DCA vs. USJ
At Starplex Park
5 p.m.—Ravenwood vs. Jefferson County
5 p.m.—Pope JPII vs. GPS
5 p.m. – Ezell-Harding vs. Jackson Christian
7:30 p.m.—Davidson Academy vs. USJ.
At Siegel Soccer Complex
7 p.m.—Centennial vs. LaVergne
7 p.m.—CPA vs. CAK; 7:30—MLK vs. Kingsbury
5 p.m.—Pope JPII vs. CBHS
At Old Fort Park
Tuesday (Team semifinals)
Class AAA (girls)
1 p.m.—Ravenwood vs. Cleveland; White House vs. Oak Ridge/Science Hill winner
Class AAA (boys)
3 p.m.—Brentwood High vs. Science Hill-Maryville winner; McMinn Co. vs. Houston
Class A/AA (girls)
1 p.m.—CPA vs. Chatt. Christian; CAK vs. Greenfield/Trinity Chr. winner
Class A/AA (boys)
3 p.m.—Lipscomb vs. CAK; Notre Dame vs. Madison Academy
11 a.m.—MBA vs. MUS; McCallie vs. Baylor
9 a.m.—Harpeth Hall vs. GPS; Hutchison vs. Baylor
11 a.m.—Webb vs. FRA; USJ vs. USN.
All team finals
Individual singles/doubles matches
TRACK AND FIELD
Tuesday: 10 a.m.—Decathlon final five events.
Wednesday: 9 a.m.—Girls running prelims; 5 p.m.—Class AAA pole vault finals.
Thursday: 9 a.m.—Girls field event finals, boys running prelims. 6 p.m.—Girls running event finals.
Friday: 9 a.m.—3200 meter finals; 11 a.m.—Boys field event finals; 5 p.m.—Boys running event finals.