Scots Fall 6-3 to Piedmont
Photo by Tommy Wilson
MARYVILLE – Maryville's 2022 season ended Sunday after Piedmont completed a three-game sweep of the Scots. The hot-hitting Lions posted a 6-3 decision to qualify for the USA South tournament.
Maryville, meanwhile, came up a few games short but still showed significant improvement over 2021. The Scots finish 22-16 overall and 7-11 in the USA South despite dropping their last seven games, all in conference. Maryville was 9-21 one year ago, so it factors out to a nine-game improvement over this time last season.
"Big picture, definitely a much better year – especially when you look at it on paper," Maryville head coach Clint Helton said. "A lot to learn from, a lot that we need to improve – but overall, from where we were a season before, it is a big change.
"A lot of pieces coming back. The seniors we are losing, that's never easy. Whether they were contributors or everyday players, they've been here their whole careers, along with a couple who transferred in. They've given us everything they had. We do appreciate what they did and we're proud of them. We look forward to seeing them graduate and what's next for them."
Piedmont scored two runs each in the first and fourth innings to break in front 4-0. After Maryville cut the deficit in half on Zac Graham's two-run homer in the sixth, the Lions answered with two more runs to put the game out of reach. Maryville did score one more time in the eighth on a Christian Carlton RBI-single, but it was not enough.
Piedmont for the weekend batted .316 to Maryville's .252.
Mitchell Grannan's fine form of late earned him his debut starting assignment for the Scots. The first-year righthander went four innings and allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits.
Carlton and Peyton Milam led the Sunday offense with 2-for-4 efforts. Gabe Lopez, Nelson Smith and Ian Campbell added hits in addition to Graham's seventh home run of the season. That number led the team and bumps Graham into the top 10 in the USA South. He finishes as the team RBI leader with 31.
Graham at .377 also led the Scots in batting, just ahead of Smith at .372. Smith was the team leader in runs (40), doubles (16) and stolen bases (19). He also nosed out Graham for the slugging percentage title at .635. Carlton on the strength of a team-best 26 walks was the on-base percentage leader at .500, just ahead of Lopez at .455. Lopez also finished second in stolen bases with 13.
Jimmy Meredith was the team hit leader with 54 and the only Scot to play in all 38 games. Meredith struck out just four times in a team-leading 154 at bats, and he leads the USA South and ranks fifth nationally with one strikeout every 36.5 at bats.
On the pitching side, Bryce Leonhardt led the USA South with 12 starts and finished 6-3 with a 3.72 ERA. Those 12 starts are tops in the USA South and sixth nationally heading into the postseason. Among the relief corps, Tommy Musuras fashioned a 2.45 ERA to lead the way, and Grady Cash was tops with an average of 12.33 strikeouts-per-9-innings in addition to his four saves. Damian Lusby was the top reliever in victories with a 5-3 record.