The Alcoa Tornadoes cemented themselves Friday as one of the area's hottest baseball teams, storming to a 12-5 win over Greenback.
In a span of 11 games, the Tornadoes (8-3) have bought into Coach Steve Dunn's style of play - one that strikes a chord with most fans of Alcoa sports.
"We're such a football-dominant school, and we're trying to bring some of that mentality to our baseball program," Dunn said after Friday's win. "We're coaching them hard. They want to be coached hard. I think we have kids that really want to get better."
Senior catcher Luke McLemore pointed to a "toughness factor" that has given Alcoa an edge in its games over tough opponents. McLemore said the program has trended upward in his four years playing for the Tornadoes.
"We want to be more football-like because our football team is pretty recognized state-wide," McLemore said. "We want to be like that. We want to be that team...a baseball team that's recognized, and people think 'Oh, we're playing Alcoa, that's going to be a hard game.'
"Our football team has a really strict agenda," McLemore said. "They go about things in a winning mentality. That's what we strive to have. I think it's helped a lot."
Dunn said the team has learned how to play together cohesively, and that winning matters. A win over the Cherokees (13-2) all but confirmed that statement.
"Besides CAK, that's the best team we've played," Dunn said. "Very dangerous team, very good team...A team that we really like, a team that we pull for. We really like the way they're coached, we like the way they play, we like their grittiness. That was a very good win for us."
Dunn, a former Minnesota Twins infielder, has coached Alcoa baseball since 2003. He said the next few years in particular will be an exciting time to watch Tornadoes baseball.
"I really like where we are," Dunn said. "We're very young, but we've got a lot of good baseball players that really want to learn. I just really like our attitudes. I like the way we go about our business."
"I really like where we are," Dunn said after Friday's game. "We're very young, but we've got a lot of good baseball players that really want to learn. I just really like our attitudes. I like the way we go about our business."