EVENSVILLE — The Bradley Central Bears made their final District 5-AAA trip across the river to Evensville a victorious one as they defeated the Rhea County Golden Eagles 8-1 Monday evening.
Rhea County will join District 6-AAA after this season.
The Eagles will make their final 5-AAA trip to the McKenzie Baseball Complex this evening for a 7 p.m. first pitch.
With the victory the Bears improve to 17-10 on the season and keep pace with cross county rival Walker Valley (16-11) at 8-3 in district play.
Since the Mustangs hold the tiebreaker, Bradley needs a victory tonight and a Walker Valley loss to Soddy-Daisy to move into position as the No. 2 seed for the upcoming 5-AAA tournament.
Bradley jumped on Eagle ace Jalen Smith for three runs in the first inning Monday.
Brently White opened the game with a single, and was followed by base hits from Charles Chavis and Jacob Maynard to load the bases.
Caleb Pippenger singled to plate White with the games first run. Jacob Barnes then hit into a fielder’s choice scoring Chavis. Barnes and courtesy runner Chandler Duggan pulled off a successful double steal for the final run of the inning.
The Eagles tried to bounce back in their half of the first, putting runners on the corners with one out against Bears’ pitcher Maynard, but the threat was ended as the Bears pulled off an inning-ending double play.
The Bears added two more runs in the second, chasing Smith.
With one out, Baylor Terrell was hit by a pitch, White drew a base on balls, and a ground ball by Chavis forced White at second but the Eagles were unable to double up the speedy Chavis. Maynard then followed with a double in the left-center field gap chasing home both Terrell and Chavis with his team leading 24th RBI of the season.
Rhea County scored its lone run in the home half of the fourth. Hunter Scoons reached base on a Bear error. He reached third as Maynard uncorked a pair of pitches that Pippenger wasn't able to block. Scoons scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Hunter McClendon.
Bradley tacked on a single run in sixth as pinch hitter Ryan Blair drilled a double to center with one out. Caleb Pace came on to run for Blair, and White coaxed his second free pass of the game following an infield out. Pace scored as he and White pulled off the Bears’ second double steal of the game.
The Bears ended any hopes the Eagles had for a comeback by pushing across a pair of runs in the seventh.
Pippenger led off with his second single of the night, Barnes was "plunked" and Jacob Fowler beat out an infield hit, loading the bases with none out.
Cal Pickel lifted a fly ball to center with Pippenger apparently scoring. Rhea County appealed the play saying that Pippenger had left the bag too soon. The appeal was upheld, taking the run off the board.
Pace then drew a walk, loading the sacks again. Terrell singled to right to drive in both Barnes and Fowler.
"We were able to put some runs up early and make some good defensive plays. Jacob (Maynard) had a rough start to the game giving up a couple of hits in the first, but he settled down after that and allowed only two hits the rest of the way. The double play that got us out of the first was huge, it took the momentum from them, and Jacob held them from there," said Bear head coach Travis Adams.
Bradley Central 320 001 2 — 8 9 1
Rhea County 000 100 0 — 1 4 0
WP: Jacob Maynard (5-3) 7 IP 4, K’s, 5 BB, 0 ER. LP: Jalen Smith. 2B: Maynard, Blair (BC). RBI: Maynard 2, Terrell 2, Pippenger, Barnes (BC). HIGHLIGHTS: Maynard 2-4 r 2 RBI, Pippenger 2-3 RBI, Terrell 1-3 RBI (BC); Matt Wesolowski 3-3 (RC). RECORDS: Bradley 17-10, 8-3 District 5-AAA; Rhea County 10-12, 3-8 District 5-AAA.