FLOWERY BRANCH — Despite a dismal weather forecast, Cherokee Bluff and Johnson still managed to get the 2020 baseball season opened Tuesday at Bears Field.
Cherokee Bluff used a pair of solid starts from Chandler Shope and Carsen Plumadore in sweeping a doubleheader, 16-1 and 7-2, over the Knights.
Shope gave up just one hit and fanned six in four innings in the first game while Plumadore surrendered no runs in four innings and struck out 9 in Game 2 to get the wins.
The Bears (2-0) offense had just nine total hits but made them count as they also took advantage of eight Johnson (0-2) errors in the doubleheader. The Knights defense gave up 11 unearned runs in the two games.
In the first game, Johnson scored the first run of the season in the area when Tristan Nguyen doubled and then scored on Peyton Lavergne’s RBI single two batters later in the top of the first for a 1-0 lead. But the Bears answered three runs in the first, four in the second, six more in the third, and invoked the Mercy Rule with three in the fourth.
Johnson pitchers Lavergne and Robbie Brady were undone by the defense allowing just six hits but gave up nine unearned runs.
In the second game, Bluff scored once in the third and twice in the fourth for a 3-0 lead. Johnson scored two in the sixth to trim the lead to 3-2 but the Bears plated four in the bottom of the sixth.
Nguyen looked solid on the mound for Johnson scattering three hits and three walks and allowed just one earned run while striking out 10 in four innings in the second game.
Jackson Kemp paced the Bluff offense with three hits, two doubles and a triple, and 5 RBI on the day. Reece Chambers and Ben Jenkins each had a hit and 2 RBI for the Bears. Tyler Zawacki had two hits and an RBI and Bryce England had one hit and one RBI.
Zack Fine and Josh Lopez each had one hit for Johnson.