This Cougar combo is hard to beat.
In fact, when you put the record on paper since their freshman years, the Goodpasture senior pitcher/catcher battery of Adam Adkins and Bennett Smith has proven impossible to beat. Adkins is 20-0 the last three years, all with Smith behind the plate.
Adkins, a 6-2 left-hander, fired a four-hit shutout, his third of the season, lifting the host Cougars to a 7-0 victory over Donelson Christian Academy Monday afternoon and upping his record this season to 5-0.
The win avenged two regular season losses to the Wildcats last year.
More importantly, halfway through the District 8-AA race, it gave Goodpasture (13-3) a two-game cushion over DCA. The Cougars are 5-0, while DCA (7-5) fell to 3-2 in the league. The hot rivals conclude their two-game series tonight at 6:30 at DCA.
Goodpasture will pitch Turner Cripps (1-2), while DCA coach John Berti wasn’t certain who his starter would be. Alex Gray has been the usual Day Two starter.
“I hardly ever shake him and I didn’t today, he knows exactly what I want to throw,’’ said Adkins, who struck out 14 and walked one in a 105-pitch day. “After the fourth inning, I got my second wind and finished pretty strong.’’
Indeed he did. He struck out seven the last three innings, while allowing just one base-runner, a one-out walk to Dustin Weaver in the seventh.
“Adam was outstanding, he really mixed his pitches up and hit his spots,’’ said Goodpasture coach Richie Estep. “This gives us a good leg up in the district race.’’
Adkins, a UT signee, pitched out of jams in both the third and fourth innings. DCA’s Justin Johnston and Nacey Russell singled, and advanced on a long fly. But Adkins got the next three batters out in the third. The next inning, he struck out Johnston with men on second and third to end that threat.
“After that, I got my confidence up,’’ Adkins said. “It was good to pay them back a little after they beat us twice last year.’’
He got plenty of help from Smith, who ripped a towering homer to left on an 0-1 pitch in the second, followed by a sacrifice fly by designated hitter William Harris, scoring Chase Snyder. Tyler Lovell, Snyder, Cripps and William Potts also had RBIs as the Cougars put the game on ice with a four-run fifth.
“He (pitcher Craig Stem) left a curve ball up, and I was fortunate to get just enough on it to hit it out,’’ said the stocky 6-0, 210-pound Smith, who has signed with Lambuth.
“I’ve been catching Adam for six years, and we are completely on the same wavelength, and he did a great job today of working out of jams,’’ Smith said.
Snyder, a sophomore left-fielder, scored two runs and stole two bases.
“I’ll do whatever they want me to do to help us win,’’ said Snyder, who plays both left and right field. “It was good to get them (DCA) back after last year.’’
Stem (3-3), a lanky right-hander who allowed just five hits, deserved a better fate. DCA committed four errors behind him, with two dropped fly balls and a pop fly double.
“We came out flat,’’ said coach John Berti. “I was very disappointed that we didn’t show a little more heart and battle harder than we did, especially some of the seniors. I hope that changes (tonight), and we play with a little more fire.’’