One game after clinching the Big Seven Conference’s regular-season championship, the Hilltoppers earned the 1,500th victory in program history by beating Greeneville, 9-1, Thursday night at TVA Credit Union Ballpark.
“Honestly, we are all just humbled to be a part of that number,” Science Hill coach Ryan Edwards said. “We are just a small portion of that.”
Science Hill has added 22 victories to that total this season while losing just four times.
The game was part of the Tribe Classic, Dobyns-Bennett’s tournament being played at sites all over the Tri-Cities.
In Wednesday’s conference-clinching 9-4 win over Cherokee, the Hilltoppers scored all nine runs in one inning and used nine consecutive hits to do it.
On Thursday, it was quite the opposite. They scored in the first inning without the benefit of a hit. Ben Grable led off by getting hit by a pitch, stole second and third and scored on a wild pitch.
It gave Science Hill the lead for good.
Grable, Science Hill’s leadoff hitter, scored three runs, stole three bases and reached base three times.
“Really, Ben Grable getting on base was big,” Edwards said. “He’s starting to click and when he does that, our offense goes.”
David Bryant, who had homered in the last two games, broke open a close game with a two-run single in the fourth inning. He also contributed a fine defensive play when he ranged into the hole at shortstop before making a strong off-balance throw to get the runner at first.
Chance Hall drove in a pair of runs with a sacrifice fly and an RBI single. Ben Edwards reached base in all three of his plate appearances and drove in a run with a hit, while Cade McCoy scored twice.
Science Hill starter Garrett Stiltner went the distance, holding the Greene Devils to four hits. He struck out five and was in and around the strike zone all night. Greeneville’s only run came in the third inning on an RBI single by C.J. Henley.
ON A ROLL
The Hilltoppers have won 11 of their last 12 games.
“The thing I’m most excited about is I feel like we’re starting to hit,” Edwards said. “We’ve been pitching and playing good defense all year. I feel like right now we’re clicking at the right time as we head into May. We just have to play our best baseball in May. That’s the key.”
The Hilltoppers play twice on Friday, taking on Morristown East at 5 p.m. and Christiansburg, Virginia, at 7:30 p.m. Both games are part of the Tribe Classic and will be played at TVA Credit Union Ballpark.