KINGSPORT -- Home is where the heart is and it has also been where the wins have come for Dobyns-Bennett's young baseball team.
After losing to Morristown East on Friday, April 18, 2-1 on the road, the Indians have been on a roll.
In one week's time, they have doubled their season wins total -- taking their record from 6-14 after the loss to Morristown East to 12-14 Saturday after a doubleheader sweep over Greeneville (11-4) and Gate City (4-3).
Four of those six wins have come on the new artificial surface at J. Fred Johnson Stadium.
"It helps being here,'' said coach Mike Ritz. "But two of those six wins were at Hunter Wright and we've won seven of eight now.''
Ritz said in earlier losses, his young team has been close but made just enough mistakes to lose.
Now, they are making just enough plays to win.
"They are a lot better,'' said Greeneville coach Randy Richards, whose team had beaten D-B early in the season, 7-3, in the middle of a streak that saw the Indians lose their first five games. "They are playing a lot of freshmen and sophomores and they're getting better. They're doing a good job hitting the ball.''
D-B jumped on Greeneville starter Zach Fillers, who was making his first start, and had all nine batters reach against him -- and score -- in a nine-run first inning. Ryan Everhart relieved and limited D-B to just two runs the rest of the way, but the damage was done.
"That's been the story for us lately,'' said Richards. "We've had one bad inning. That was his (Fillers') first start.''
Trevor McNew's two-run double highlighted that inning and was one of five hits given up by Fillers before Everhart replaced him. Two others reached on walks and two others were hit by pitches. Lane Taylor had two singles in the inning, including a run-scoring single that plated McNew in his second at bat.
After that, D-B managed only single runs in the second and fourth and left it to Joe Doran to hold Greeneville in check after starter Dylan Harvey experienced wildness that led Ritz to pull him after an inning and a third -- though he was still ahead, 9-2.
"He kept getting behind hitters and we can't afford to do that at this point in the season,'' said Ritz. "If you can't it over, I am going to pull you out and put someone in who can.''
Doran went 4 2-3 innings, allowing just one hit to pick up the win. He didn't walk any batters. He got his first win after five losses.
"Joe pitched well,'' said Ritz. "But he also pitched well last week against David Crockett and held them down.''
McNew finished 2-for-2 with three RBI and a run scored, while Gabe Overcast scored three runs, reaching when he was hit by a pitch, on a double and on an error. Lane Taylor also had a pair of RBI in that game.
Greeneville, which got a pair of doubles among three hits in the seventh, scored two runs in its last at bats to close the final gap to seven. The Greene Devils, now 9-15 overall and 3-5 in the IMAC where they are fourth, had six hits total in the game with Josh Hall getting two of them.
In the second game, freshman Sean Seabolt delivered a pinch-hit, RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning to keep D-B in the win column.
"Nick Loughry had been having trouble with the left-hander,'' said Ritz, referring to Gate City's Terrance Harvey. "Sean has been getting two and three hits in JV games and I felt like he could go up there and get a hit.''
His single plated pinch-runner Garrett Rich from second base. Rich had been inserted to run for Justin Trent after Trent reached on an error to start off the inning. Nathan Millsap then singled to move Rich into scoring position.
"It was a good game,'' said Gate City coach Shannon Carter. "It was well-played by both teams. Both pitchers did well and both teams fielded the ball well. We just made some mistakes that cost us.''
D-B had jumped out early, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first after the Blue Devils had plated a run against Kyle Brandon in the top of the inning.
Trent's two-run double chased home Lane Taylor, who had singled and advanced on Jamie Crawford's single. They executed a double steal before Trent lined his double to left. Trent singled home Dylan Harvey in the second inning to make it 3-1 but Gate City's Harvey then allowed just three hits in the next four innings -- taking the game to the seventh tied at 3-3.
Gate City had tied it in the third when Trey Clark walked, stole second, went to third on Ked Byrd's single and scored on a wild pitch. Byrd came home on Dusty Clark's ground out. The Blue Devils got just one batter as far as second the rest of the game, however, as Brandon went the distance to pick up his first win. Brandon allowed just six hits, striking out five batters and walking just one. The first run against him -- which came when Buck Eldridge opened the game win a single, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on an error -- was unearned.
Gate City is now 6-5 and plays four games this week. The Blue Devils host Twin Springs on Monday and then go on the road to play at North on Tuesday, at Elizabethton on Wednesday and at Virginia High on Friday.
"Our last seven games will be on the road,'' said Carter.
D-B hosts Sullivan South on Monday, Science Hill on Tuesday and then play a doubleheader on Wednesday after Sullivan North at 4:30 p.m., and John Battle at 7 p.m.
Here are Saturday's linescores:
Dobyns-Bennett 11, Greeneville 4
Greeneville.............020..000..2 -- 4...6...1
Dobyns-Bennett......910..100..x -- 11..10...1
Zach Fillers, Ryan Everhart and Justin Merkle; Dylan Harvey, Joe Doran (2), Rob Cross (7) and Nathan Millsap. WP--Doran (1-5); LP--Fillers (0-1).
Dobyns-Bennett 4, Gate City 3
Gate City.................102..000..0 -- 3...6...2
Dobyns-Bennett......210..000..1 -- 4..10...1
Terrance Harvey and Seth Clark; Kyle Brandon and Nathan Millsaps. WP--Brandon (3-2); LP--Harvey (0-2).