KODAK, Tenn. — Solo home runs by reigning Southeast Region Player of the Week Kevin Clanton and Chase Barbary were not enough to lift Newberry over No. 6 seed Tusculum at the 2018 Pilot/Flying J South Atlantic Conference Baseball Championship as the Pioneers took a 5-2 victory.
Each of second-seeded Newberry’s (25-23) five hits through the first six innings came from three- and four-hole hitters Derek Olenchuk and Colin Allman before Clanton blasted a 2-1 offering from Tusculum (24-25) starter Chase McAllister onto the concourse high above the left-center field fence, slicing the Pioneers’ lead to three runs at 4-1.
After the Pioneers added an insurance run in the top of the ninth inning, Barbary fouled off three pitches to work the count full before crushing a pitch to left field to ignite the Newberry dugout. The Wolves put a runner on first base with two outs in the inning, but a fielder’s choice ended the threat and delivered the game to the Pioneers.
Charles Hall pitched the final two innings to earn his second save of the season. Tusculum starter Chase McAllister rebounded from a loss in the rubber game of the teams’ regular-season series to improve to 5-2, allowing a run on six hits through 6.1 innings.
Ryan Harbin suffered the loss for Newberry. He gave up four runs, one of which was unearned, on seven hits through 5.2 innings. Senior Dylan Southerland pitched 2.1 innings out of the bullpen and accumulated two strikeouts in his final appearance in a Newberry uniform.
Tusculum jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning. Leadoff hitter Daulton Martin was credited with an infield single when a Newberry infielder slipped on the moist turf trying to field a routine ground ball. A walk, a bloop single, and a squeeze play produced the Pioneers’ first run before a passed ball with two outs doubled the advantage.
Tusculum increased the lead to four runs with a two-run double to left center by Martin, who finished the game 3-for-5 with two RBI and a pair of runs scored.
Newberry was led by Olenchuk’s 3-for-3 day at the plate that included a walk. Allman went 2-for-4, with Clanton and Barbary providing the rest of Newberry’s hits.
Friday marked the final game in the careers of Newberry’s seniors. Olenchuk closed his career with an even 200 hits and 150 RBI, placing second among Newberry players over the last 20 years in both categories. Jones finished his career without an error in 163 total defensive chances