SMYRNA — The pitching game plan went out the window after Pigeon Forge baseball’s first inning in its 8-5 win over Forrest on Wednesday in the second round of the Class 2A state tournament.
Commitment from Tennessee Dylan Loy started, but coach Mike Guinn intended to end his day after just one run to save him for future matches in the double-elimination tournament. Then sophomore pitcher Trevan Myers allowed two runs late in the second inning and had runners in second and third. Guinn decided to bring Loy back for the finale.
“We were taking our best pitcher and putting him against the strongest part of their lineup,” Guinn said. “And he denied them. It just didn’t really work out because I had to use it more than I wanted to.”
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Pigeon Forge (39-3) eventually switched pitchers eight times, moving Myers from pitcher to third base and Loy from pitcher to first base. Loy threw 77 pitches – two pitches over the threshold on two days off under TSSAA pitch counting rules. Because he has to rest three days, he will no longer pitch in the state tournament.
“I can’t (explain what was going on). It definitely wasn’t planned,” Loy laughed. “But I feel completely confident in our pitching team. Sometimes things happen, like Trevan the way he pitched, it wasn’t him, and we all know he’ll come back and he’ll show up. in the next game he throws.”
The Mr. Baseball runner-up was spectacular both on the mound and at home plate, going 3-for-5 with three RBIs and a run while throwing 10 strikeouts and allowing just one hit.
Guinn said he doesn’t regret using Loy more than he intended, as ultimately winning the match was more important.
“He plays this game with pure joy,” Guinn said. “He has a joy that I saw in the 70s and in the 80s, and some of the players over the years have lost that joy. He could play in any of those eras. It’s quite difficult to beat this guy and me’ I’ll just say he’s one of the best pitchers in the state.”
Pigeon Forge entered the winners’ bracket finals and will play for the state championship with a win on Thursday.
The longtime Tigers coach was frustrated with his side’s performance despite the win. During the post-game huddle, he emphasized accountability and improving attitudes.
“We want to take ownership as a team and individually of our work, because life is about it,” Guinn said. “You can’t let emotion get in the way, and I think we did a bit of that today. When you take the emotion out and play the game the right way, the better team wins. .”
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