Mitch Atkins of Northeast Guilford HS did not get the win in this game but he had another strong outing and he faced off with many players from the Brewers’ system that played here in Greensboro over the past two years with the West Virginia Power vs. the Greensboro Grasshoppers. Former Power players facing off with Atkins that we saw going up against the Hoppers include:Michael Brantley, Ryan Crew, Matt Matulia and Sam Narron.
Sevierville, TN – The Tennessee Smokies match up against the Montgomery Biscuits for the next five games, which could not come soon enough. The Huntsville Stars swept the Smokies in a five game series with a 3-2 win today at Smokies Park in front of 6,571 screaming 4th graders. The loss dumped the Smokies to thirteen games behind the front running Stars.
Today’s game was a pitchers duel for the entire contest, with Smokies starting pitcher Mitch Atkins (2-4) putting in a second consecutive solid performance. Sam Narron (6-1) pitched a complete game gem however, yielding only two runs on eight hits while walking just one Smokies batter. The Smokies got their first run off of Narron early in the bottom of the second inning. Robinson Chirinos drilled a one-out double to left field and then advanced to third thanks to a throwing error on a pickoff attempt by Narron. Matt Matulia cranked out a sacrifice fly to center to score Chirinos, and the Smokies had a 1-0 lead.
Atkins kept the Stars scoreless until the top of the fifth inning, when Huntsville tied the game on an RBI single by Michael Brantley. Huntsville struck again on Atkins in the top half of the seventh when Ryan Crew led off the inning with a single. After a sacrifice bunt, Crew scored as Narron helped out his own cause with an RBI single up the middle. Narron later scored thanks in part to a throwing error by Atkins to stake the Stars to a 3-1 lead.
The Smokies mounted a comeback in the bottom of the ninth, however, as Doug Deeds led off the inning with a double down the left field line. After a Chirinos sacrifice and Deeds on third, Matulia blooped a high arcing shot down the right field line. Stars right-fielder Cole Gillespie made a fantastic diving grab, robbing Matulia of an extra base hit, but Deeds still tagged up to score. Chris Robinson kept the Smokies hopes alive with a two-out single up the middle, but pinch hitter Steve Clevenger grounded out to first base to end the threat.
Atkins took the loss for the Smokies, but pitched very well going seven innings of eight hit ball while giving up three runs, although only one was earned. He fanned four Stars batters on the day, with Tanner Watson coming on for two innings of scoreless relief. The day belonged to Narron, who threw 103 pitches in notching the complete game victory.