Jackets obliterate SMC opponents
The varsity baseball season is heating up and the Hayesville Yellow Jackets find themselves in the middle of a battle for first place in the conference. After dropping games to Rosman and Murphy earlier in the season, Hayesville needed to win to take down every Smoky Mountain Conference opponent they faced. A week that included a 14-2 win over Cherokee, an 18-2 win over Robbinsville and an 11-1 win against Swain kept the Jackets’ title hopes alive.
First up for Hayesville was a make-up game at Cherokee. The Jackets wasted no time in swarming the Braves by putting up two runs in the first inning. Hayesville added five more runs over the next two innings to lead 7-1.
Cherokee managed to keep the Jackets from scoring again until the seventh and final inning. Hayesville made their last time to the plate count and added seven more runs to their total. Cherokee couldn’t put a dent into the Jackets’ lead and Hayesville got the 14-2 win.
Out of the 13 Yellow Jacket hits, the only extra base hit came from the bat of Kyle Rhinehardt when he roped a pitch for a double. Tyler Leek topped the hit column with three in five plate appearances. The senior also had one RBI and scored a run. Rhinehardt and Tyler McClure switched out on the mound and combined for nine strikeouts and only 1 earned run. The win improved the Jackets’ record to 5-2 and kept them in the mix for a SMC title.
Next on Hayesville’s hit list were the Black Knights of Robbinsville. It was all Yellow Jackets in this game from the first inning and Hayesville led 7-0 after the first three outs of the game. The bats kept producing hits and the team kept producing runs. Brian Voight started off the season strong at the plate but has recently cooled off. The sophomore brought his batting average back up in this game after going 4-4 with two doubles, three RBI’s and scoring twice. McClure also had a solid performance in the batter’s box with three hits, an RBI and two runs scored. McClure again spent time on the mound, this time sharing pitching duties with Nathan Barolet. The dynamic duo combined for 9 hits over five innings and allowed only three hits.
The 18-2 win improved Hayesville’s winning streak to three games and kept them a half game behind Murphy for second place in the conference.
The winning streak continued when Hayesville hosted Swain. The Yellow Jackets scored early and often and the game was never in doubt. Barolet came in to finish off the game on the mound and his younger brother Lucas contributed to Hayesville’s total with a stand-up triple.
Senior Tyler Leek showed off his speed when he stole second base late in the game. With the win, Hayesville kept pace with Murphy and Rosman, the two teams they are chasing for the conference title.
Although HHS will be having spring break next week, the baseball team will be in action on Tuesday, April 12 when they will travel to Copper Basin.