Sharp pitches Overton past Brentwood in regional tournament semifinal

Monday, May 14, 2012 at 11:32pm

Grant Sharp has been just that — sharp — during the course of the baseball season. Over the last month, though, he has been virtually unhittable.

Monday, the 5-foot-6 senior righthander allowed three hits and struck out 12 — with two walks — as host Overton defeated Brentwood 3-1 in a Region 6-AAA semifinal contest. Sharp (9-0) outpitched Bruins pitcher Cody Shelton, who allowed just five hits himself.

"It was a big game, and I've been nervous all weekend, thinking about it,'' Sharp said. "I was ready. It's crunch time, it's the playoffs, I'm a senior and I need to step up.''

He now has allowed just two runs in his last four starts,

"Grant was great [Monday] night," sophomore catcher Chris Wilson said. "His changeup set up his fastball and really had them off-balance.

"This was a big win, and it sets us up for a trip to state if we keep playing well.''

Added Brentwood coach Brian Popovich: "[Sharp] was awesome, incredible. He executed his pitches exactly the way he wanted to. We had very few good at bats.''

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the sixth when shortstop Nelson Schneider led off and reached on an error. Wilson was hit by a pitch, then second baseman Will Long bounced a single into right field, scoring the first run.

"I was looking for a first pitch fastball,'' Long said. "I just wanted to get my bat on it, get it in play, and I wound up getting a big hit. It was a big win, we just need to stay focused.''

But Overton wasn't finished. Derek Watkins and Juan Tellez then added RBI singles that made it  3-0.

Brentwood (23-14) fought back as Aaron Maher walked and Shelton reached on an error in the top of the seventh. After Maher scored on a wild pitch, Sharp struck out the side.

Until the sixth, only two Bruins got as far as third base.

"[Sharp] is a bulldog,'' Overton coach Mike Morrison said. "His curve and changeup was really outstanding. It's funny, we started the season thinking we would use him in relief. But as the season went along and we saw how he was pitching, we said, 'no way,' this guy needs to be a starter.''

The Bobcats (22-10) will host the Region finals 7 p.m. Wednesday against the winner of the Franklin-Hunters Lane game.

"We have to get back down to earth in a hurry,'' Morrison said. "We have a big week coming up.''