Home Sweet Home: Lions Beat Grundy Co.

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Nathan McGuire provided the Lions with a sterling pitching performance Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of Huff & Puff Trucking)

There really is no place like home.

After seven straight road games to open the season, Cannon County’s baseball team was greeted by a throng of supporters when it played its home opener against Grundy County at the Cannon County Youth Baseball Complex Tuesday (March 20).

The Lions (2-6) scored four in the bottom of the fourth and received sterling starting pitcher from starter Nathan McGuire and reliever Justin Tobin to secure a 6-4 win against the Region 4-AA opponent.

“This was a good win for our team against a quality opponent,” Cannon County coach Tony Stinnett said. “On behalf of my players I want to thank all of the fans who showed up and supported the team. That was a great atmosphere and our fans really made a difference. I know it meant a great deal to our players to have that type of support.”

Pitching and defense keyed the win for the Lions.

McGuire, a sophomore, pitched 4-2/3 innings before giving way to Tobin. Both were masterful. McGuire earned his first varsity win and Tobin, a three-sport athlete playing high school baseball for the first time, came on in the fifth and pitched 2-1/3 innings to notch his first career save.

“Both pitchers were dynamic and they were supported by outstanding defense, especially in the infield,” Stinnett said. “Nathan has good stuff and he has impressed in the preseason. I’m proud of him because each outing has been better and he’s showing signs of maturing. He was in control today. Tobin was absolutely lights out in his two-plus innings. It was good to see him come in with the game on the line and runners in scoring position and get out of it. He has work to do but this was great for his confidence and our team.”

Dustin Mears led the Lions with a 2-for-3 performance that included one RBI and a run scored. Nick Vasser, Brock Francis and Brent Duggin also had hits for the Lions. Dalton Bell, Austin Brown, and Chase Gunter also reached base and scored in the win.

The Lions went on top 1-0 in the bottom of the first. Austin Brown was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on Duggin’s clutch two-out RBI single. Cannon County increased its lead to 2-0 in the second when Gunter reached on a bunt and later scored.

Grundy County (2-3-1) scored three in the third to go up 3-2, but the Lions came back with four in the bottom of the fourth to take a 6-3 lead they would not relinquish. Mears, Vasser, Bell and Brown all reached during the four-run uprising and Cody Phillips’ brought home the final run of the inning with a suicide squeeze.

Grundy added one in the fifth and had the tying runs in scoring position with two out when Tobin came in and got a ground out. He finished the sixth and seventh to notch the save.

Sterling defensive play by Brown, Vasser, Francis and Lorance in the infield was key, and Mears was outstanding behind the plate. Duggin also turned in a highlight-reel  type play in right field.

The Lions return to action at Community Thursday. Dalton Bell will get the start. First pitch is 5 p.m.

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