Pack performer: Cedar Bluff senior pitcher baffles Trojans on the mound, at the plate in crucial area baseball series opener

By Shannon Fagan, WEIS Sports Director

CEDAR BLUFF – Cedar Bluff senior pitcher Kaden Pack is always looking for his comfort zone. Sometimes it takes him an inning or two to find it, but once he does, he’s one tough cookie to crumble.

That was the case on Tuesday in an area baseball series opener with Gaylesville.

Pack gave up a run in the top of the first, but he found his groove and held the Trojans scoreless the rest of the way. He allowed just three hits and three walks with eight strikeouts in six innings.

Pack also helped himself at the plate by going 3-for-3 with a double, an intentional walk, two runs and three RBIs in the Tigers’ 11-1 victory.

“I’ve always been a guy who loves pressure. That’s where I strive,” Pack said. “I always have to have that one inning. It shouldn’t have to be like that, but it always takes me one inning. When I got to the plate, I knew I could help myself out, and that’s what I was trying to do, to help myself out. As soon as I scored those two runs I knew I was good from there. It took all the pressure off of me.”

Pack and the other Tigers helped first-year Cedar Bluff head coach Colby Coursey earn his 101st varsity win and 190th overall Tuesday.

Coursey calls Pack “our go-to guy on the mound.”

“Every big game we’ve had this year he’s been on the mound,” Coursey said. “The first inning he missed a couple of spots and they jumped on a few fastballs left up about waist high, but then he settled in. He attacked hitters and made them put it in play. He did a good job of working in and out, mixing up speeds, mixing up pitches. He’s just a competitor on the mound.

And a competitor at the plate too, Coursey said.

“At the plate, he’s got a great eye. He’s got the lowest amount of strikeouts on the team. He’s constantly putting it in play and making adjustments. He had a couple of big hits there in the middle of the game, especially the third and fourth inning. We opened it up and he had one through the middle to lead it off. He had another big one and had a big walk to get it back to Isaac (Bishop)”

Gaylesville took a 1-0 lead on Pack on a double to center by Braden Sharp in the top of the first inning that scored Kuper Bradley, who had a bloop single to right with one out.

It remained 1-0 Trojans until the bottom of the third inning. Cedar Bluff batted around and scored five runs. Bryson Teague, Pack and Hunter Stallings each delivered run-scoring singles. Stallings drove in a pair of runs.

The Tiger offense picked up where it left off in the bottom of the fourth by scoring four more runs against Trojan starting pitcher Hunter Allmond. Jacob Chambers delivered a two-run single. Pack followed with a run-scoring double and Stallings drove him home on an infield single to give the Tigers a 9-1 advantage.

Cedar Bluff added single runs in the fifth and Bishop walked it off in the sixth with the bases loaded against Trojan reliever Kyler Bradley for the final.

“We trust our hitters at the plate,” Coursey said. “Isaac has been hitting the ball really good. He got the count full and picked up ball four to win it. He did a very good job, and really, it was a very good job at the plate by our whole team. We had a few strikeouts but we had a couple of walks and put the ball in play a lot today. That’s something in the last week or so we’ve really worked on, making sure we’re putting the ball in play and give us a chance to get on base.”

Teague and Stallings both had a pair of hits for the Tigers. Bishop and Mallett both added a hit, a walk and a RBI. Mallett also scored a run. Chambers contributed a hit, two walks and two RBIs. Caleb Edmondson walked twice and scored twice. Eli McFry also scored a run.

Allmond suffered the loss for the Trojans. He finished with five strikeouts in four innings of work on the mound before giving way to Kyler Bradley.

Pack said the plate performance the Tigers turned in Tuesday couldn’t have come at a better time.

“It took us a while to come around in Coach Coursey’s first year here, but we’re starting to figure it out,” Pack said. “The season’s not over yet. That’s what I’ve kept telling them. We’ve still got to win Thursday, but as long as we can do that, it’ll come down to Spring Garden week and we could be headed to the playoffs.”

The two teams finish their series on Thursday at Gaylesville beginning at 4:30 p.m.

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