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NC ON THE MARK

NASHVILLE -- With a combined 26 victories over the past two years, success has been nothing new on the baseball diamond for Nash Central Middle School.

The Trojans won the Tri-County Conference crown with an unbeaten mark in 2015 before coming within one win of a playoff berth last spring.

But Central is in a bit of a rebuilding mode this time around as veteran coach Mark Wooten has a young team with two sixth-grade and two seventh-grade starters.

Still, the Trojans continued to pile up the conquests, including a 17-2 home decision Monday afternoon against conference opponent Parker Middle.

Nash Central is now 4-3 overall this season.

"The boys have been working very hard,'' Wooten said. "This is a very coachable group. But we are also very young.''

With that youth comes mistakes, and those miscues -- especially in two innings over the course of the campaign -- have kept the Trojans from posting a better record.

"In two of our three losses, I thought we gave the games away with one bad inning on the defensive side,'' Wooten said. "If not for those two bad innings, we could very well be 6-1.

"But we are swining the bat well, putting the ball in play and getting chances. And we are a team that keeps battling even when we get down. I never feel like we are out of the game.''

Nash Central soared over the .500 mark with Monday's convincing decision, which was ended after the bottom of the fourth inning due to the 15-run rule.

Tyler Reid, making his first start of the season, was effective on the mound and picked up the victory.

"Tyler threw the ball well,'' Wooten said. "He walked only one batter and had a good pickoff play. We also made some really good plays behind him.''

At the plate, Jay Bullock, Austin Wells and Michael Drake came through with two base hits apiece.

Wells has one of the game's biggest shots -- a blast to dead center-field that bounced off the fence on the fly.

Pictured (Above): IT'S IN THE BAG. Nash Central Middle School's Xander Fuson (right) swipes second base during his club's home baseball matchup Monday afternoon against Parker Middle School. The Trojans, coached by Mark Wooten, picked up a 17-2 victory in the Tri-County Conference event on the NCHS campus in Nashville. (Graphic photos by Geoff Neville)


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