Oak Ridge senior Spencer Wilson tied the season record for most wins by a pitcher on Wednesday.
Wilson picked up his eighth win in a 12-2 rout of Campbell County at Bobby Hopkins Park in Oak Ridge.
Wilson has a chance to break the 23-year-old record in the post-season, possibly as early as Friday. The record that he tied dates back to 1993, and it was set by Joe Fellers.
“That record means a lot to me,” Wilson said Saturday.
The Wildcats had a list of records posted during the pre-season, when they were training and weight lifting, and Wilson said he could tell the record for pitching wins was an old one.
“I’m going to target that one,” he decided.
He gave credit to the Wildcats defense for helping him tie the record.
“The defense made it possible to get there,” Wilson said.
Other changes that have helped this year: Oak Ridge has been playing better, and team chemistry and hitting have both improved, said Wilson, who wants to pitch at the college level but is undecided about where he’ll go.
His 56-pitch performance on Wednesday followed one day of rest and a 100-pitch game on Monday against Central. He’d had two days rest before that game, Oak Ridge Coach Mark Garrison said.
Wednesday night was Senior Night and the last home game of the regular season. Oak Ridge (15-15, 6-9 District 3-AAA) finished the regular season in a throwback night against Bearden (24-9, 11-3 District 4-AAA) on Thursday at Farragut. That non-district 3-0 loss for the Wildcats included wood bats.
The Wildcats will face Powell (18-11, 11-5) in the first round of the District 3-AAA tournament on Friday. That game starts at 5:30 p.m. May 6 at Gibbs High School. Wilson doesn’t know yet if he’ll play in that game, but if he does and he gets the win, he will break the school record for pitching wins.
In Senior Night on Wednesday, Garrison played all the seniors. Senior Quentin Drummond, who hadn’t had an at-bat all season, came in and batted in two runs on a hit to center field that helped Oak Ridge open up a 6-2 lead over Campbell County (3-26, 0-14) in the fifth inning.
Senior Logan Fadnek, who got an RBI in the fifth inning to give the Wildcats a 3-2 lead, came in as pitcher to close the game, and senior Gavin Warrington got the hit that ended the game after six innings, when Oak Ridge went up by 10 runs. (A lead of 10 or more runs ends the game in the bottom of an inning after five innings.)
It was a great way to end the season, Garrison said.
Senior Trey Davis, who hasn’t played much, also played Wednesday, and he got on base when he was hit by a pitch.
Senior Bryson Armes, who plays most games, was two-for-three at bat, Garrison said. He said Armes had a great season and has been a leader, hanging in there through a 4-28 season last year.
“He stuck with me through thick and thin,” Garrison said.
Garrison has said this season was an improvement over last year’s. The Wildcats have held together well against good teams. When they’ve had losses, it’s mostly been by three runs or less, Garrison said.
And they’ve had big district wins, including against Anderson County and Karns. The Beavers (25-7, 14-2), who are dominant in the district, have only had two district losses this season, and one was to Oak Ridge. The Wildcats beat Karns 4-3 at home in 11 innings on Tuesday, April 19.
“That was a huge one,” Garrison said.
Oak Ridge was swept by Gibbs, Central, and Powell this season, but split two-game series with Karns, Anderson County, and Halls. The Wildcats swept Clinton and Campbell County.
Garrison said Oak Ridge had the misfortune to face Powell pitcher Peyton Alford both times they played the Panthers. That wouldn’t have happened in back-to-back games, but the two Wildcats-Panthers games were scheduled a week apart.
Garrison said Assistant Coach Kevin Lee has been a great addition to the Wildcats team this year. Lee was on championship teams at Christian Brothers High School in Memphis, and he played about a year at the University of Tennessee, Garrison said.
It’s his first year at Oak Ridge.
“He’s been a great addition,” Garrison said.
“Kevin, he’s made a huge difference,” Wilson said.
The Wildcats will lose some key seniors after this season, but they have a strong sophomore class that is ready, along with the juniors, to step up next year, Garrison said.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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