By Chris Yow
Jaden Hamm was nearly untouchable for the better part of five innings, and with the help of timely hits and good bounces, Columbia-based GameTime Baseball’s 17U travel team earned a 6-1 win over Knights Platinum on Wednesday at Brentwood Academy
Hamm pitched five innings, giving up one run on four hits, striking out 10 Knights hitters.
In the top of the fifth, the Knights were able to load the bases with a pair of singles and a walk, but the GameTime coaching staff held their confidence in the 2020 Columbia Central graduate and Middle Tennessee State signee.
“Ever since we were told we couldn’t play and he was going to miss his senior year, he’s continued to work,” Gametime assistant coach Chris Hamm said. “He hasn’t stopped working to improve, and we have all the confidence in him to settle down and continue throwing strikes.”
Jaden Hamm struck out the next two Knights hitters to end the threat and escape the jam.
Going into that fifth inning, GameTime held a comfortable lead, due in part to a perfectly placed push bunt from Hamm in the fourth.
With Spring Hill rising senior Jackson Marbet on third and Noah Berndt on first base, Hamm pushed a bunt just past the pitcher’s mound to score Marbet and get Berndt to third. Dawson Hargrove singled to score Berndt to give GameTime a 5-1 lead.
Hargrove finished 2-for-3 at the plate with a pair of RBIs, but the Hamm bunt was the catalyst for the big inning.
“Jaden is a really good push bunter, and it’s kind of a joke on the team that if he gets a chance, he’s going to do it,” Coach Hamm said. “It put a smile on everybody’s face in the dugout.”
GameTime took control of the game early in the second inning when Marbet doubled and scored a run on a Hargrove single. Gavin Burleson and Brantley Whitwell each tallied RBI singles in the inning as well.
Having a chance to get on the against teams of this caliber is important for his players. Four members of the team have either signed or committed to NCAA Division I schools, and Chris Hamm said he believes everyone on the team can play at the next level. Taking nearly 18 months off from competition wasn’t an option.
“These kids are very competitive, but they’re also hard-working kids,” he said. “For them to have to sit for that long without playing in a game against live pitching would have hurt them and their game. We are excited to be out here, and to have the opportunity to play the game.”
The Music City Mania tournament is a wood-bat tournament for teams local to the Nashville area. Music City Baseball hosts a nationally-recognized tournament for 17U teams the first week of July. GameTime is also scheduled to play in that tournament, as well as the PBR National Championship tournament in July.
GameTime is scheduled to play at 2:30 p.m. Thursday at Goodpasture and 9:30 a.m. Friday at Hendersonville’s Drakes Creek Park before returning to Brentwood Academy for a 9:30 a.m. contest Saturday. Play will conclude Sunday, with matchups and times to be determined by pool play results.
Chris Yow is the multimedia director for Southern Middle Tennessee Sports. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @ChrisYow14.