The Model baseball team doesn’t have many losses this season, but each one has proven to be a motivating factor for the Blue Devils.
And after their latest loss — a 2-1 defeat against Region 7-AA foe Pepperell on Tuesday — Model came back with a vengeance Friday evening with a nine-run first inning on the way to a 14-4 win against the Dragons in Shannon.
The game was called mid-way through the fifth due to the run rule.
“After we lost the game Tuesday it was frustrating,” Model head coach Josh Mitchell said. “That was a game we could’ve won. It was just one of those games where you go out to play baseball and you get beat. They used that from Tuesday at practice on Wednesday and Thursday. The intensity level was up both days. I think they had something to prove. Just like all season, they’ve got something to prove.”
The Blue Devils (10-3, 4-2 7-AA) set the tone early, going up 9-1 through just one inning of Friday's matchup against Pepperell. Brody Pearson tripled to score Davis Chastain and later scored on a hit by Brody Pace to put the Blue Devils up 2-1.
In his second at-bat of the inning, Pace hit a three-run double to center field, scoring Pearson, Rett Edwards and Jake Ashley to make it 9-1. Ashley, Josh Land and Dawson Whitefield also knocked in runs during the opening-inning rally.
Pearson finished with two hits, a triple and four RBIs as he also knocked in two more runs in the bottom of the third to put Model up 11-1. Pace finished with three hits and five RBIs.
Ashley had two hits and an RBI, Land had two hits and two RBIs, and Chastain had two hits and two runs scored as the Blue Devils finished with 14 hits on the day.
Gaven Freeman got the win for the Blue Devils, throwing all five innings, striking out two and allowing one earned run.
Wesley Wade took the loss for the Dragons. Bruce Anderson and Hunter Henderson pitched in relief.
At the plate for Pepperell (7-7, 4-2), Dakota Corntassel and Jake Chandler each had two hits. Corntassel also had two RBIs.
Model, who won just two games last season, began Mitchell's tenure coaching his alma mater with a 7-0 run, but now, with a 10-3 record, he has seen his team able to bounce back from losses with an intensity that leads to more success.
Following back-to-back losses to Chattooga and Cedartown earlier this month, the Blue Devils came back to win games against Chattooga and Armuchee.
With only eight games left in the regular season, Mitchell thinks his team will be able to stay motivated and keep up the pace, putting to use what they’ve learned through both the wins and losses.
“You wonder how you’ll handle success,” Mitchell said. “You handle it well, and it keeps going, but then you wonder how you’re going to handle failure, because at some point you’re going to get beat. With all of our losses, we’ve come out the next day and we’ve been stronger. Our performance has been stronger each time. I think they respond well to any kind of adversity. The last thing they’re going to do is roll over.”
Model hosts Armuchee on Tuesday, while Pepperell hosts Trion today at noon in a non-region contest.