From Staff Reports
Two years ago, Morris Innova-tive High School’s boys soccer program won a single match in its first season of varsity athletics.
Last year, the Tigers were in the running for a berth in the state playoffs before falling short.
On Thursday night at Lakeshore Park in Dalton, the Tigers delivered a statement that they are legitimate contenders with what coach Ernie Dempsey said was the program’s “signature win.”
Morris Innovative’s Mynor Bautista scored with 15 minutes remaining in the first half, and the Tigers’ defense made that lone goal stand up in a 1-0 victory over Murray County in Region 7-2A competition.
The Tigers improved to 6-4 overall and 6-3 in region play, while Murray County lost for the first time in seven matches this season, all of them against league opponents.
“It is a huge win for our program,” Dempsey said. “Beating one of the region’s big two (Calhoun and Murray County) has been a big goal and something you have to do to plant your flag as a program on the rise. It was an extremely hard-fought game for the guys tonight, and I am just so thrilled. We needed a win like that for our entire school.”
After taking the lead and controlling much of the action in the first half of the contest, Dempsey knew his defense would get a test in the second half, and that challenge came in the form of the Indians’ relentless offensive pressure.
“I told them at halftime a green (Murray County’s uniform color) tidal wave was coming and they were going to throw everything at us,” Dempsey said. “They did, and we only surrendered one good shot. Murray kept the gas on all in the second half, and they probably possessed the ball 75 percent of the time in the second half, but Oscar (Reyes) was great in goal.
“My midfielders locked down and kept them from being able to generate a lot of good offense.”
Defensively, Dempsey singled out the play of Gerardo Brito, Luis Perez and David Solis along with Reyes for the Tigers.
“(Morris Innovative) played a good match,” Murray County coach Marco Burgueno said. “I will say the effort was there from our guys. (Morris) just kind of got the goal off an error and were able to stay back and defend it. ... They played their game and got the win.”
Dempsey said his team will enjoy the victory, but not too much.
“It is awesome, but there is still a lot of work to do,” he said. “We can’t let this one win define our season, and it is back to work (today).”
• Murray County girls 2, Morris Innovative 0: Paxton Dolly had eight saves in goal for the Lady Indians (4-2, 4-2 Region 7-2A).
Morgan Devitt scored on an unassisted goal for Murray, while Vivian Gamboa scored off of an assist by Catherine Gonzalez.
• Dalton boys 7, McMinn County (Tenn.) 0: Seven different players got in on the scoring action as Dalton, the top-ranked team in Class 4A, pushed its winning streak to 29 games with an easy victory during play in the Cleveland (Tenn.) Invitational.
Jesus Huitanda, Justin Macias, Gibby Perez, Kobe Perez, Javier Rodriguez, Cristian Saldana and Manny Solis all had goals for Dalton. Javier Rodriguez had two assists with Eder Mora, Saldana, Josh Satterfield, Manny Solis and Richard Solis adding assists as well.
For the game, the Cats (7-0) outshot McMinn County 21-2.
• Southeast Whitfield boys 0, Signal Mountain (Tenn.) 0: Facing a team playing defense with little thought to offense, Southeast took plenty of shots, but Signal Mountain wasn’t allowing anything through.
The Raiders (5-1-1) had 29 shots on goal, while Signal Mountain had just five — three coming on free kicks outside of the box — in the first day of the Baylor Invitational in Chattanooga.
“They hunkered in and they weren’t giving anything away,” Southeast coach Kevin Kettenring said.
• Northwest Whitfield 11, Cleveland (Tenn.) 2: Junior catcher Caleb Shiflett was 2-for-3 with a triple and three RBIs as the Bruins (4-1) scored three in the first, five in the second and three in the third to cruise in the Scenic City Classic.
Edwin Hernandez (two doubles, two RBIs) and Walker Maret were both 2-for-3 as well, while Seth Pierce had three RBIs, and Diego Peralta drove in a pair of runs.
On the mound, starter Phillip Hammond went five innings, allowing just four hits and striking out three.
• St. Benedict (Memphis, Tenn.) 7, Coahulla Creek 2: In their opening game at the Scenic City Classic, the Colts led 3-2 going into the final inning before St. Benedict scored four runs in the top of the seventh.
Michael Ward had a hit and an RBI to lead the offensive effort in a mostly quiet day for the bats of the Colts (1-5) in the game played at Chattanooga’s McCallie School.
St. Benedict scored one run each in the first, third and fifth innings, but Coahulla Creek picked up two runs in the sixth to close the gap.
Zack Glines took the loss despite six solid innings of work on the mound. He allowed three runs (one earned) on six hits and two walks while striking out nine. Ward worked the final inning, allowing four earned runs on four hits, a walk and a hit batter while striking out one.
• Gilmer 7, North Murray 4: The Mountaineers (4-7) allowed just four hits but suffered from giving up seven walks and committing an error in the non-region loss. North Murray collected five hits in the game.
• Results from Murray County’s game at Calhoun and Christian Heritage’s game at Walker were not reported by The Daily Citizen’s deadline.
• Coahulla Creek boys 4, Sonoraville 1: The host Colts (11-0, 9-0 Region 5-3A) got singles wins from No. 1 Jake Mathis, 6-3, 6-2, No. 2 Chase Lynch, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, and No. 3 Alex Jarjoura, 6-1, 6-0. A doubles victory came from No. 1 Austin Turner and Donovan Newby, 6-2, 6-3.
• Coahulla Creek girls 5, Sonoraville 0: The Lady Colts (9-2, 7-2 Region 5-3A) lost just five games in rolling to the home win. Singles wins came from No. 1 Erin Orem, 6-1, 6-0, No. 2 Kathryn Barker, 6-0, 6-0, and No. 3 Katherine Ann Sheppard, 6-0, 6-0. Doubles wins came from No. 1 Vanessa Suarez and Alex Wilbanks, 6-2, 6-0, and No. 2 Olivia Hughes and Madison Zerbe, 6-2, 6-0.
• Walker girls 4, Christian Heritage 1: The Lady Lions (2-4, 1-2 Region 6-A) lost in Marietta, with their lone win coming on the No. 1 singles court as Tegan McEntire picked up a 6-1, 6-3 victory.
• Walker boys 5, Christian Heritage 0: The Lions (3-3, 2-1 Region 6-A) also lost on the road.
• Murray County girls 4, Coosa 1: The Lady Indians remained undefeated through six matches overall and two in Region 7-2A play with the victory at Alto Park in Rome.
They swept singles with wins from No. 1 Greta Lazzarotto, 6-0, 6-0, No. 2 Gabbie Bordelon, 6-3, 6-0, and No. 3 Allison Jones, 6-2, 6-2. In doubles, Murray County’s No. 1 squad of Chloe Brown and Kailey Webb won 6-2, 6-1.
• Coosa boys 5, Murray County 0: The Indians dropped to 1-5 overall and 0-2 in Region 7-2A with the road loss.
• Northwest’s boys and girls varsity teams received forfeit wins from Ridgeland — which was scheduled to host Thursday’s matches — in the Sub-region 7B-4A openers for the Bruins (3-0) and Lady Bruins (2-1).
• Results from North Murray’s matches at Cartersville were not reported by The Daily Citizen’s deadline.
• Neither girls team at Northwest or Coahulla Creek currently has the required three golfers to compete for region and state team titles at the moment, and for the time being, both teams are down to just one.
Northwest’s Marlee Bingham shot a 5-over 41 and Coahulla Creek’s Abbi Tate had a 52 as the two were the only ones to finish their rounds at Varnell’s Nob North Golf Course as their teammates left the course with minor injuries.
Track and field
• Results from Murray County’s meet at Pepperell were not reported by The Daily Citizen’s deadline.