Diamond 9 in contention
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Courier Sports Report

After notching just one District 8-AA win in 2012, Cannon County’s baseball team is tied for the most league wins at the halfway point of the 2013 race.

The Lions (6-10, 4-2) split with visiting York Institute last Monday (April 1) and ended the first half of the 8-AA race with a 4-2 mark - tied with Upperman (4-0) and DeKalb County (4-2) for the most league wins.

“There is still a lot of baseball left to be played but this team has put itself in position to contend for a district championship and that says a great deal about how far they have come in a short time,” Lions coach Tony Stinnett said. “I’m proud of them, and I’m glad they get to experience the feeling of being in a pennant race.”

The Lions, who face Murfreesboro Central Magnet in two key league games this week, blanked York 9-0 after falling to the Dragons, 2-0, in the first game of a doubleheader last week.

Brian Duggin led the Lions with a 3-for-4 performance that included two RBI and two runs scored. Nathan McGuire, Graden Strang, and Dalton Bell also had run-producing hits for the Lions in the 9-0 win. Chase Gunter reached and scored twice.

The big story in the nightcap was the stellar pitching of Bell, a senior righty who has been solid in all of his starts.

Bell (2-1) flirted with a no-hitter before settling with a one-hit shutout. He struck out eight and walked one.

Bell took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before the leadoff hitter sliced a single back up the middle.

Bell posted his second straight complete game and has not allowed a run in 12 consecutive innings.

“I felt good and had command of most of my pitches,” Bell said. “I believe the biggest thing this year is I have been more confident. (Pitching coach Adam) Sauer has worked with me and I’m glad I have been able to contribute on the mound this season.”

The Lions jumped out to a 2-0 lead and added five in the second to break the game open.

Nick Vassar allowed just four hits in the opener but the Lions offered no offensive support in a 2-0 setback. Gunter was 2-for-3 to lead the Lions.

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