Any baseball coach will tell you it’s not always how many hit you have but when you have them that matters most.
Such was the case Thursday evening as Bradley Central split a pair of games as co-hosts of the 2011 Ooltewah Invitational Tournament.
The Bears had a half dozen hits in each of their games but left seven runners on base in a 7-3 loss to Jackson Christian School in the opener. However, they came up with some timely hits in an 8-6 nightcap victory over Davy Crockett.
Bradley (5-5) will play its third game in less than 24 hours this afternoon with a 3:30 first pitch against Eagleville.
Also on tap this evening at the McKenzie Baseball Complex is a 6 p.m. game between Cleveland High and Jackson Christian. The Blue Raiders will turn around and square off against Polk County in the 8:30 nightcap.
Games will be played Saturday at BCHS as well, but the opponents for the noon semifinal and 2:30 consolation game won’t be set until after Friday night’s games.
Bears 8, Pioneers 6
After a dozen strikeouts and just one hit in the first 21 batters of the game, the bats warmed up despite the mercury dipping into the 30s.
Bradley got on the board first with a 3-spot in the bottom of the third. After the first two batters K’d, sophomore Brently White laced the Bears’ first hit.
Senior Trevor Jones then got the home crowd going when he blasted a two-run shot just left of the 370-foot sign in dead center field.
Helping his own cause, senior Kody Ward followed with a bullet that landed on the left field line, giving him a stand-up double. His courtesy runner, Matt Cook, scored a moment later when Jacob Fowler reached on an error.
Like the home team, Davy Crockett put together a two-out rally in the top of the fourth but didn’t stop until six runs were on the board.
Seth Wright started the rally with a solo home run, while Andrew Hagy and Sam Tartton each stroked two-run doubles to put the Pioneers on top.
Bradley wasted no time in regaining the lead in the bottom of the frame. Sophomore Caleb Pippenger opened the at bat with a single, followed by a walk to Jacob Whitmire and Corey Loftis beating out a bunt single to load the bases.
Hayden Robinson quickly unloaded them with a shot that fooled the Pioneer center fielder and rolled to the wall as the senior ended up on third with a three-run triple to tie the game.
White gave the Bears back the lead when he brought Robinson in on a groundout to the left side of the infield.
Robinson also accounted for the game’s final run after he opened the bottom of the sixth with a walk. White also drew a free pass. Jones dropped down a bunt to sacrifice them to second and third before Ward lifted a sac fly to center to plate Robinson.
Junior Jonathan Hodges (2-1) pitched 3.1 innings of scoreless relief to earn the victory, while Ward went the first 3.2, striking out seven but giving up a trio of walks.
Eagles 7, Bears 4
The visitors from West Tennessee used a four-run rally in the fourth inning to account for the difference in the game.
Bradley scored first when junior Chase Wiseman stroked a two-out single in the bottom of the first to plate Jones, who had reached on an infield hit.
JCS (5-2) took the lead with a pair of runs in the top of the third without benefit of a hit.
The Bears responded with three more runs in the bottom of the frame with Jones’ one-out double being the only hit. A trio of Eagle throwing errors brought in Jones, Ward and Jacob Maynard to put the home team up 4-2.
The visitors took advantage of a pair of walks and two Bear errors to put a 4-spot on the board in the fourth frame. Ethan Mayberry provided a two-run single in the rally but the other two runs came in on a bases-loaded walk and an error.
The Eagles tacked on their final run in the sixth, again without benefit of a hit.
The Bear hurlers handed out a dozen free passes and the defense committed three errors in the contest.
BEARS 8, PIONEERS 6
Davy Crockett 000 600 0 — 6 11 2
Bradley Central 003 401 x — 8 6 0
WP: Jonthan Hodges (2-1) 3.1 IP, 1 Ks, 0 BB, 5 H, 0 ER. LP: Chris Ricker 3 IP, 1 Ks, 3 BB, 2 H, 2 ER. HR: Seth Wright (DC); Trevor Jones (BC). 3B: Hayden Robinson (BC). 2B: Andrew Hagy, Sam Tartton (DC); Kody Ward (BC). RBI: Hagy 2, Tartton 2, Ty Shipley, Wright (DC); Robinson 3, Jones 2, Ward, Brently White (BC). Records: Bradley Central 5-5.
EAGLES 7, BEARS 4
Jackson Christian 002 401 0 — 7 4 4
Bradley Central 103 000 0 — 4 6 3
WP: Matt Poteete 5.1 IP, 7 Ks, 2 BB, 5 H, 1 ER. LP: Jacob Maynard 5.1 IP, 8 Ks, 9 BB, 2 HBP, 4 H, 3 ER. Save: Ethan Mayberry 1.2 IP, 3 K 1 BB, 1 H, 0 ER. 2B: Noah Chandler, Matthew Harlan (JCS); Trevor Jones (BC). RBI: Mayberry 2, Justin Brister, Chandler (JCS); Chase Wiseman (BC). Records: Jackson Christian 4-2; Bradley Central 4-5.