Preps: Slugger adds to Goodpasture's taste for a baseball championship

Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 9:26pm

Jay Rhoten probably will continue the same breakfast menu he's used lately.

"I've been eating Frosted Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios for cereal,'' the Goodpasture slugger said after he belted two towering home runs Wednesday afternoon.

The blasts highlighted an 8-0 romp over host David Lipscomb in the Region 5-AA championship game.

The morning meal suited Rhoten's taste just fine. The Cougars designated hitter smashed a two-run homer to left in the first, then belted a solo shot in the fifth. The latter hit the top of the bullpen roof in left at Lipscomb University, well beyond the 330-foot sign. He added a single in the seventh.

"I saw during warm-ups their pitcher was kind of looping his curve ball, so I went up looking for a fastball,'' the 6-foot-1, 230-pound slugger said. "I was just trying to get on base.''

Since becoming eligible during the district tournament, Rhoten has been on fire. He has smashed eight home runs in six tournament games, including four in the last two.

His offense may be the final link the Cougars (33-3-1) need in their march to a state championship.

"He's been on fire,'' veteran coach Richie Estep said. "He's seeing the ball great, and he's hitting it a long way. We jumped on them early. We've just kept focus on what we need to do each day.''

Rhoten's home runs proved plenty for winning pitcher Wes Demirjian (10-0), who fired a four-hit shutout and has two perfect games to his credit this season. He did not allow a David Lipscomb hitter to reach base until the fifth.

"I had great command of my fastball and curve,'' Demirjian said. "It's exciting the way we're playing lately, and if we keep this going, we'll go a long way.''

Demirjian is headed to Tennessee Tech but not to play baseball. He and Hunter Newman (also 10-0) are the top 1-2 pitching duo in Nashville.

The game matched teams with 13 state baseball titles between them, Goodpasture (seven) and Lipscomb (six), but the Cougars dominated.

"They are a very good hitting team,'' Lipscomb coach Ernie Smith. "They jumped ahead of us early and kept us out of the scoring column. We hit the ball hard at times but right at someone.''

Goodpasture will host the loser of the District 6-AA finals between Spring Hill and Montgomery Central Friday at either 4 or 4:30 p.m. in AA Sectionals. Lipscomb will visit the winner of that game Friday. Those winners advance to the state tournament.

• Tennis: Montgomery Bell Academy took one more step toward a third straight state championship with a quick 4-0 45-minute dismissal of Brentwood Academy in the DII Sectionals on the MBA courts.

Andrew Karpos, Kalyan Chadalavada, Fred Harwell and Mark Lowe all won their matches at No. 3, 4, 5 and 6 singles, respectively, 6-0, 6-0, which clinched things in a hurry.

"We have great chemistry, everyone is pulling for each other, and when one of our matches is over, we go over and cheer for the next guy,'' Chadalavada, a sophomore, said. "If we keep playing this way, we're going to be very hard to beat.''

Meanwhile, Big Red ace Aaron Jumonville was leading Eagles senior Geoff Tulloch 6-2, 1-0 at No. 1 singles when the match ended.

"It's been really fun this year, I've been enjoying everything,'' Jumonville, a junior, said. "I think everyone is starting to play his best, and I think that will take us a long way.''

Asked about his team's chances at state, coach Tom Boysen said, "We've been talking all year about getting back to the state, and finally we're here. We took care of business [against BA]. You can see our experience in taking care of the details. The key will be winning the doubles point.''

MBA’s No. 2 singles player, Palmer Campbell, missed the match to take an AP exam, but he will return for state. The Big Red likely will play McCallie in its semifinal match Tuesday in Murfreesboro.

— Led by ace Liza Southwick’s straight set win, Harpeth Hall blanked St. Agnes 4-0 and qualified for the Division II-AA girls state tournament.

— In individuals, two-time state champ Sean Karl of Ravenwood defeated Maxx Lipman of Brentwood High 6-4, 6-3 to win the Region 6-AAA singles title Tuesday at Wildwood Tennis Center. Karl trailed 0-3 and two breaks in the second set before rallying to win.

Lucas Spickard of Christ Presbyterian Academy beat Kyle Burton of Pearl-Cohn 6-2, 3-6, 6-0 and won the Region 5-A/AA singles title.

• Soccer: In DII-A Sectionals, Franklin Road Academy travels to University School of Jackson at 4 p.m. Saturday and University School of Nashville hosts Evangelical Christian School. Ezell-Harding is at St. George's 6 p.m. Friday.

Winners go to state.

• Softball: Ravenwood crushed Overton 18-0 in just three innings to win the Region 6-AAA championship.

Pitcher Ashley Byeke threw the shutout. Byeke and, catcher Madison Zoeller, were a combined 6-for-6 with eight RBIs. The Raptors will host a Class AAA Sectional game Friday.