In a showdown for the top spot in the District 5-AAA race, Bradley Central got some timely hitting, strong pitching and took advantage of four Soddy-Daisy mistakes to claim the league lead Monday evening.
Scoring three more runs than they had hits, the Bears tore through the Trojans 8-1 at the McKenzie Baseball Complex.
The two teams will meet again this evening in Soddy-Daisy to complete the district home-and-home series, with Brett Standifer, a former three-year starting Trojan quarterback, expected to take the hill for the Bears in his return to Soddy.
With the victory Bradley (7-3-1) improves to 4-1 in 5-AAA play, while the Trojans (7-4) slip to 3-2 in the conference.
East Hamilton (6-4, 2-1), which handed the Bears their lone league loss, defeated Walker Valley 4-0 Monday, while Ooltewah (5-4, 2-1) downed McMinn County 6-2 as both stayed even with Bradley in the loss column.
The Hurricanes and Owls have already had their district byes, while Bradley will be halfway through its district slate after tonight.
Soddy-Daisy starter Hunter Maynor sat the Bears down in order, including a pair of strikeouts, in the opening frame, but things went sideways for the visitors in the second.
Dodging a couple of close pitches, Standifer opened the second with a walk and when Tyler Carpenter followed with a sacrifice bunt, he reached safely as Maynor mishandled the ball.
After a successful sacrifice bunt by Logan Blackwell moved the runners up, senior Jordan Timmons stepped to the dish and delivered a hard shot to left field to plate Standifer.
Carpenter followed home on the same play when the throw from the outfield went past the Trojan catcher, which also allowed Timmons to glide into second.
After the next batter fanned, senior Cal Pickel “took one for the team” and trotted down to first before classmate Caleb Pace reached on an error that allowed courtesy runner Chandler Duggan to score.
Senior Baylor Terrell followed with a two-out shot over the left fielder’s head for a double, which brought in both Pickel and Pace for a 5-0 advantage.
The hosts were right back at it in the third frame as Standifer once again led off with a base on balls and after Carpenter bunted him over, Blackwell drew a free pass as well.
Timmons, who only had two hits on the season coming into the game, roped his second hit in as many at bats, this one a double to plate Standifer.
After getting plunked the inning before, Pickel got a measure of revenge with a two-out, two-run single to push the lead to 8-0.
Soddy’s lone run of the night came in the top of the fourth when Dillon Clift led off with a double and then scored when Christian Amos ripped a two-out single.
Bear ace Ty King (2-0) went the distance on the bump, striking out nine Trojans, while walking just two and scattering five hits.
The lanky junior righty had a pair of 1-2-3 innings and finished the outing with three straight strikeouts.
“Ty has been very consistent so far this year. He’s done a real good job,” declared Bradley head coach Travis Adams.
“He is thought of by a lot of people as a dominant fastball guy, but he’s especially tough when he gets his off-speed stuff going.”
“Ty is a battler. I knew if we could get him a little bit of a lead, we’d be in good shape,” the Bear mentor added. “The defense played well behind him. We made some good plays. The diving catch (Caleb) Pace made in right was big. If that falls in and gets past him, they could have had a couple of more runs.”
The catch with one out in the top of the fourth and a runner on second, preceeded two back-to-back singles, but only one run scored in the frame.
Bears 2, Trojans 1
Brandon Thompson drawing a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the seventh inning gave Bradley’s junior varsity a 2-1 victory over the visitors Monday evening.
Sophomore Jeremiah Sims pitched six strong innings for the Bears, striking out eight, while scattering a half dozen hits and allowing just one earned run, but classmate Austin Lewis took the hill in the final frame and “vultured” the pitching victory.
Sophomores Kylar Lynn and Gunner Norwood both had a pair of hits in the Bear win.
Soddy-Daisy 000 100 0 — 1 5 4
Bradley Central 053 000 x — 8 5 0
WP: Ty King (2-0) 7 IP, 9 Ks, 2 BB, 5 hits, 1 ER; LP: Hunter Maynor (0-2) 3 IP, 5 Ks, 3 BB, 1 HBP, 5 hits, 4 ER. 2B: Dillon Clift (SD); Jordan Timmons, Baylor Terrell (BC). RBI: Christian Amos (SD); Cal Pickel 2, Timmons 2, Terrell 2 (BC). Highlights: Clift 2-3, run; Gavin Rogers 2-3 (SD); Timmons 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI; Pickel 1-2, HBP, 2 RBI, run; Logan Blackwell 1-2, run; Terrell 1-3, 2B, 2 RBI (BC). Records: Soddy-Daisy 7-4, 3-2 District 5-AAA; Bradley Central 7-3, 4-1 District 5-AAA.