Owens ties steals record as Hampton falls to North

Published 12:37 pm Saturday, May 5, 2018

By Larry N. Souders

Despite holding a 3-1 lead, the No. 4 Hampton Bulldogs fell to No. 5 Sullivan North, 6-3, during day one of the District 1-A tournament at David Crockett High School.

The loss brought the Bulldogs season to a close.

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In the bottom of the fifth with the score tied 1-1, Hampton’s Caleb Oaks and Hunter Davenport both doubled to start the inning. Gavin Hardin and Josh Owens both hit into RBI-producing fielder’s choices before Rouse ended the inning striking out. Hampton led 3-1 at the end of five.

That is when the wheels came off. The Golden Knight blew the game wide open in the top the of the sixth sending 11 hitters to the plate while scoring five runs. They first faced Dru Owens, who had moved in from short in relief of Rouse, who started the game, at the end of the fifth. He faced five batters, walked one, struck out one, but because of a passed ball didn’t get an out and surrendered a two-run single to North’s Peyton Robinson. Owens was replaced by Hardin who got a fielder’s choice but then walked the next four batters he faced. Rouse returned to the mound, he struck out Tyler DePriest and got JJ Fleenor to ground out to end the inning.

But not all was lost Friday night at David Crockett High School as Owens placed his name in the record books stealing his record-tying 38th base of the season in his first trip to the plate. Owens is now tied with Dobyns-Bennett’s Michael Farthing for most stolen bases in the season in Northeast Tennessee. Owens led off the bottom of the first with a line drive back up the middle for a single, and the table was set for history to happen.

“A leadoff hitters job is to get on base any way he can, whether it’s working one pitch or ten it’s his job to get on base and produce runs,” said Owens. “We’ve faced him ( North pitcher Brandon Wilhoit) twice this year, and I kind of know his move. I took one pitch and just trusted myself to go on the next pitch.”

Owens got a great jump, and easily swiped second, he paid North catcher Robinson a complement afterward saying he had a fantastic arm and it was all about his jump that let him get the steal.