After the Hurricanes made a late rally to pull out an 8-4 win over co-host Bradley Central, Cleveland High got a two-hit pitching performance from junior Conner Mitchell to calm the storm in an 8-1 victory.
Weather permitting, the tournament action will continue tonight and tomorrow. The Bears are set to host Davy Crockett as a middle game of three this evening at 6:30 and then face Collierville and Moore County back-to-back Saturday morning beginning at 11:30.
The Blue Raiders are schedule to travel to Harrison for a 6:30 twin bill against Collierville and Covenant Christian and then turn right around and play at 9 a.m. Saturday back at Bradley against Moore County.
Mitchell struck out the first two East Hamilton batters he faced before Austin Gatewood sent a 1-1 fastball over the right field fence to give the boys from Collegedale an early lead. The Raider southpaw came right back to K the next Hurricane batter and faced just one batter over the minimum the rest of the night.
After setting them down in order in the second frame, the first East Hamilton batter in the bottom of the third reached on an error, but Mitchell then picked him off first base. He gave up a one-out single in the fifth, but the Cleveland defense took care of the Hurricane runner with a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Mitchell issued his only free pass of the night when he plunked the second batter in the bottom of the seventh, but then induced a little pop-up back to the mound and a fly ball to center field to end the game. He struck out a half dozen in the complete-game effort, plus only allowed five balls to leave the infield.
Offensively, Cleveland (12-16) responded to the opening-inning deficit immediately as junior Taylor Thompson led off the top of the second with a single, moved up on a passed ball and a wild pitch before coming in to even the score on a sacrifice fly by senior Eric Powers.
The Raiders took the lead for good when their first five batters in the top of the third frame reached base and three of them scored. Senior Ryan Adkins and junior Jackson Earle led the rally off with back-to-back singles before sophomore Austin Dykes was hit with a pitch to load the bases.
Junior Kimsey Bell drove in the first run with a ground ball, before junior Jake Wyrick singled home another run. Thompson brought in the final run of the rally with a sac fly to center field.
Back-to-back walks to junior Koltyn Plumb and senior Michael Henderson to open the top of the sixth led to two more Cleveland runs and they both scored on a two-out single by Dykes.
The final two Raider runs came in the final frame when Wyrick singled, Thompson doubled and Powers laced an RBI-hit before the first out was recorded. Powers drove in Wyrick, while Thompson came home on a wild pitch.
Hurricanes 8, Bears 4
A three-run rally in the bottom of the fifth turned a 2-1 deficit into a two-run lead for Bradley (15-9), but the visitors scored a run in the sixth on a bases-loaded “plunk” and then exploded for five more in the final frame.
East Hamilton (19-9) took advantage of three straight free passes in the top of the seventh to set the stage before a pair of singles and a double blew five Hurricane runners home.
Nic Auger blasted a home run and a double to drive in three runs for the future District 5-AAA members, while Landon Pauls went 2-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and scored twice himself.
Ryan Crowden, the third of four East Hamilton hurlers, earned the victory to improve to 4-1 on the season.
Bradley starter Ty King gave up just two hits, one earned run and struck out five in four innings of work, but a trio of Bear relievers couldn’t weather the storm.
Rapping out nine hits, Bradley could manage just four runs as senior Caleb Pippenger and junior Logan Blackwell both went 2-for-3 at the dish, while junior Cal Pickel was 1-for-2 with a double and drove in a pair of teammates. One of Pippenger’s hits was a two-bagger.
Cleveland 013 002 2 — 8 9 1
East Hamilton 100 000 0 — 1 2 1
WP: Conner Mitchell 7 IP, 6 Ks, 0 BB,1 HBP, 2 hits, 1 ER. LP: Conner Sadro 3 IP, 1 K, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 4 hits, 4 ER. HR: Austin Gatewood (EH). 2B: Taylor Thompson (C). RBI: Austin Dykes 2, Eric Powers 2, Kimsey Bell, Jake Wyrick, Thompson (C); Gatewood (EH). Highlights: Thompson 2-3, 2B, 2 runs; Powers 1-3, 2 RBI; Wyrick 2-4, RBI, run (C). Records: Cleveland 12-16; East Hamilton 19-9.
East Hamilton 110 001 5 — 8 7 0
Bradley Central 100 030 0 — 4 9 1
WP: Ryan Crowden (4-1). LP: Jacob Maynard (4-3). HR: Nic Auger (EH). 2B: Landon Pauls, Auger (EH); Caleb Pippenger (BC). RBI: Pauls 2, Auger 3, Hunter Own (EH); Pickel 2, Pippenger (BC). Highlights: Auger 2-3, HR, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 runs; Pauls 2-4 2 RBI, 2 runs; Owen 2-3, RBI (EH); Pippenger 2-3 2B, RBI, run; Pickel 1-2 2 RBI; Logan Blackwell 2-3 (BC). Records: East Hamilton 19-8; Bradley 15-9.