By Maurice Patton
By the time Providence Christian managed an RBI triple in a two-run third inning Tuesday, Kavares Tears and Columbia Academy were hardly concerned.
The Bulldogs senior had helped stake himself to a sizeable lead with a single, a double, a three-run home run and six RBI in three at-bats, and finished with 10 strikeouts in four innings of work as the hosts slugged their way to a 21-2 five-inning decision to open the season.
Tears, a Tennessee signee, walked twice and struck out looking in the second game of the Division II-A District 3 doubleheader as CA won 24-0, again in five innings.
“It’s been 370 days since the last game we played,” Tears said. “It was pretty fun.”
The two teams were scheduled to play a two-game series beginning Monday in Murfreesboro, but inclement weather forced Tuesday’s twinbill.
“We hated we couldn’t play (Monday),” Columbia Academy coach Richie Estep said. “It’s just good to play anybody. We’re so tired of intrasquad (games), batting practice. Just getting to play was good.”
Providence Christian, in just its third season of TSSAA baseball competition, struggled from the start.
“They’re just starting their program,” Estep said.
Conversely, Tears is one of the state’s top talents. A finalist for the Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association’s Class A Mr. Baseball as a sophomore, he was poised to build on that both on the mound and at the plate last season – before the pandemic curtailed spring sports.
“He’s just a special player,” Estep said. “He’s got every tool, he works at his craft every day and he loves it. He’s very gifted, a very special talent, and we’re lucky he’s on our team. He’s as good as I’ve ever had.”
The Bulldogs are scheduled to play Thursday at Richland and Friday at Hillwood.
Photos by Vanessa Beach / SM-Tn Sports