Lions take district win

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Nick Vassar pitches two-hitter.

Courier Sports Report

Cannon County pitchers have been a bright spot in the first two weeks of the 2013 baseball season and they helped get the Lions (1-5, 1-1) off to a good start in District 8-AA play last week.

Sophomore Nick Vassar was outstanding his start against defending District 8-AA champion Smith County. Vassar (1-0) pitched a complete-game, two-hitter, and struck out five to lead the Lions to a 2-1 win in the first game of the two-game series.

Vassar pitched five innings of shutout baseball before allowing a single run in the sixth.

“Nick was outstanding,” Lions coach Tony Stinnett said. “He had command of all of his pitches and he located well. Nick dominated the game from a pitching standpoint, and he had to be good because he was matched against a top competitor in (Smith County ace Jordan) Craighead. Nick matched him inning for inning and we played good defense and found a way to get the win.

“It was a big district win for us, and it was a team win.”

Dalton Bell continued to lead the Lions at the plate. Bell was 2-for-4 with one RBI in the win. Bell has at least one hit in four of the first six games and is the team’s leading hitter. Vassar and Brent Duggin also had hits for Cannon County.

The Lions took a 1-0 lead in the first. Vassar drew a one-out walk and scored on a two-out error.

Cannon County maintained the 1-0 lead until the sixth when Smith County scored a run to even the score 1-1.

The Lions won the game in the bottom of the seventh. Jackson Mason walked to lead off the inning and moved to second on Nathan McGuire’s sacrifice bunt. With two outs, Bell delivered a base hit to right center field on a 1-2 pitch to score Mason and send the Lions to victory.


Senior pitcher Dalton Bell almost led the Lions to a sweep in the nightcap against the defending champs; however, Cannon County couldn’t muster enough offense to complete the deal.

Bell turned in his second straight quality start. The senior righty allowed just two hits and struck out nine in going the distance. Smith County got all three of its runs in the third inning. Two of the three runs were unearned.

“Dalton hasn’t just been good in his two starts,” Stinnett said. “He has been solid through the entire preseason, in his bullpens, his intrasquad work and scrimmages. He is having a solid start to his senior season and he pitched well enough to earn the win against Smith County.”

Five Lions had hits in the game. Bell was 1-for-4 with a double. Trent Bragg, Brent Duggin, Graden Strang and Chase Gunter all had one hit.

The Lions went on top 1-0 in the first when Vassar walked and scored on Bragg’s single.

Smith County scored three in the third to take a 3-1 lead but the Lions trimmed the deficit with one in the sixth. Bragg walked and courtesy runner Jared Judkins would later come around and score on Brent Duggin’s hit to cut the lead to 3-2; however, it was as close as the Lions would get.


Cannon County lead 5-2 after four innings and freshman Graden Strang provided  a strong starter; however, the Lions could hold the lead.

Strang also had a double at the plate. Brent Duggin was 2-for-4 to lead the Lions.

Community scored two unearned runs in the first inning to take a 2-0 lead but the Lions scored one in the second when Strang doubled and later crossed the plate on a wild pitch.

Cannon County scored four in the third to take a 5-2 lead. Brent Duggin’s base knock was the big hit in the inning.

Community scored a single run in the fourth and sixth innings and came up with three in the seventh for the win.

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