HICKORY FLAT • Chris Smith has been described by his coaches as a leader and a driving force for the Hickory Flat Rebels baseball team.

In Friday night’s 8-0 division win against Myrtle, he proved how he earned that label.

In front of his home crowd, Smith pitched an absolute gem of a game, going all 7 innings while allowing no runs on just 2 hits, 2 walks, and 21 strikeouts.

“I’m feeling great, never felt better,” Smith said after the game. “That’s probably the best game I’ve ever pitched in my life.”

Smith, through 5 starts this year, is in possession of a 1.33 ERA, 45 strikeouts, 7 walks, and an opponent batting average of just .156. Smith has also excelled in the batter’s box, batting .621 with 20 RBI’s and 4 HR’s.

While Smith took care of business on the mound, Hickory Flat’s lineup had a good day as well, picking up 8 runs on 8 hits while consistently building up a lead throughout the game. Hunter Kuhl and Eli Brown picked up a pair of RBI’s while Hunter Davis went 2 of 3 with an RBI of his own.

But the day ultimately belonged to Smith, whose performance was noted by Rebels head coach Nolan Stevens as a momentum builder going forward.

“After an 8-0 win, your first division game, 21 strikeouts, it gives you a lot of momentum going forward,” Coach Stevens said. “It makes your kids feel like they can perform at a high level. So hopefully we can keep that momentum and confidence going.”

The Rebels, who now sit at 6-6 on the year, will look to keep momentum going as they progress into division play throughout April.

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