Facing possibly his last chance to beat Bradley Central, Cleveland High ace Patrick Williams knew he had a tough challenge, but proved up to the task Monday evening at the Toby McKenzie Baseball …
Facing possibly his last chance to beat Bradley Central, Cleveland High ace Patrick Williams knew he had a tough challenge, but proved up to the task Monday evening at the Toby McKenzie Baseball Complex.
"This is a big game. We haven't beat Bradley in my four years here, so to be able to do that tonight meant a lot more," remarked the 6-foot-8 Lipscomb signee after notching a career-high 15 strikeouts in a 4-1 Blue Raider upset victory.
"I wanted to go out and make it memorable for my teammates and myself."
"He showed up tonight. Hats off to him. That's the best ball game I've seen him throw in a long time and it came on a great night," commented Cleveland head coach Preston Scoggins, who was able to snap an eight-game Bear winning streak, with the last Raider win coming back on March 24, 2015.
"Facing a crosstown rival, we could be 0-20 and we're going to come in fired up. Playing those guys (Bradley), and they have a great ball club and their record shows it, it's exciting to see our guys come out and compete.
"It was a lot of fun tonight watching them find a way to win and to watching Pat pitch like that," he added.
Scoggins and Williams both knew facing Bradley ace Riley Black, who was 5-1 with a 1.03 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP coming into the contest, plus had not given up an earned run in 31 straight innings run, was a tall order.
"Black is a top-line pitcher and other than that one inning we couldn't really get to him," assessed Scoggins of the Lee University commit. "He does a great job controlling the run game. He had us off balance all night."
Black (5-2, 1.08 ERA, 1.03 WHIP) posted a season-high 11 K's and although Cleveland did most of its damage in the fourth frame with a three-run rally, it wasn't until the fifth that his scoreless earned run streak was halted at 35.
Both pitchers dominated early, as neither gave up a hit until the fourth inning.
Cleveland's Sam Wyrick had the first safety with a line drive single to right-center field before Landon Beaty came through with a two-out hard shot into the hole beatween shortstop and third for an infield hit.
The visitors caught a break when Jonathan Powers swung at strike three on the following at bat, but the ball got away and while he was running down the base line the throw hit him in the helmet and he reached safely to load the bases.
Hunter Levert made the Bears pay for the miscue when he toasted right field with a one-hopped smack to the wall for a bases-clearing double.
"Hunter came through with a big two-out hit off him (Black) and the next inning we were able to scratch a run off him, Scoggins praised. "That was the story of our offense. It was impressive to see our guys do that."
Bradley answered with a run of its own when it opened the bottom of the inning with three straight bunt singles from Tucker Still (.338 BA, .510 OBP), Ryan Giovengo (.246, .404) and Freddy Johnson (.250, .295). The hosts took advantage of a Raider throwing error that allowed Still to score.
The final Raider run came when Hayden Tinsley (.364, .455) opened the top of the fifth with a walk, Ryan Lee (.339, .494) roped a double down the left field line and Barkley McGowan (.308, .338) followed with a solid single to plate Tinsley, but courtesy runner Alex Rivera was cut down at the plate on a nice throw and relay by Still and Jake Thompson.
Both teams threatened in the final frame, but neither could push a run across even though both starters had to be relieved after going 6 2/3 innings.
"I was within a pitch of a complete game, that I really wanted, but Coach (Scoggins) had to come get be because of the pitch count (TSSAA rules allow pitchers only 120 pitches in a game)," bemoaned Williams (2-2, 2.60 ERA, 1.22 WHIP), who now has 66 K's in 48 1/3 innings pitched.
"I felt good warming up, my teammates got behind me and that's all I needed. After I found the umpire's strike zone, I was able to adjust to it pretty good.
"Coming out at the end hurt me more than anything," he added. "I was literally one pitch away from a complete game and had to come out. I really wanted to finish it."
Striking out at least two batters in each of the first half dozen innings, Williams scattered just four Bear hits but walked seven, forcing the hosts to leave 10 runners on base.
Hayden Tinsley inherited a 3-2 count on Bear slugger Jake Thompson and walked him before getting the next batter to fly out to center to end the game and earn his second save of the season.
"We had four games washed out over the weekend, and had a couple of days off, so it was great to see our guys come out ready to play tonight," praised Coach Scoggins.
"We know the roles are going to be reversed tomorrow (tonight) night and they'd (Bradley) love nothing more than to come to our place and spoil our Senior Night, like we did theirs tonight.
"They are going to come ready to fight, so we've got to show back up and compete hard," he assessed.
"It was a typical Bradley-Cleveland game," commented Bear head coach Travis Adams. "The storyline of the game was their guy (Williams) on the mound, so you've got to tip your hat to that.
"Then hitting that guy (Powers) with the throw down to first (after the stikeout), which should have been the third out, played a big role in their rally.
"Riley (Black) had another good outing, giving up only one earned run, but their guy was dialed in and we couldn't do a whole lot with him," the veteran "Papa Bear" stated. "It's a pride thing now. We've got to come out tomorrow (Tuesday) and get back on it."
The loss prevents Bradley (17-10, 9-2 District 5-AAA), the regular season district champs, from being able to secure an automatic Region 3-AAA berth, which they could have done with a sweep of the Raiders.
Cleveland (12-10, 5-6) currently sit in the No. 4 spot in the 5-AAA standings, just a game ahead of Ooltewah (12-12, 4-7), which fell to to Soddy-Daisy 2-0 Monday evening. The Trojans (17-11, 7-4) secured the No. 3 seed for the upcoming district tournament with the victory.
After honoring their seniors last night, the Bears will look to return the favor this evening at Raider Field, with a 7 p.m. first pitch.
Cleveland will host Greenback Thursday at 6:30 before both teams wrap up the regular season on the road. The Raiders journey to Grundy County on Saturday, while Bradley travels to McCallie Monday. District tournament play will begin May 5, in Soddy-Daisy.
at Toby McKenzie Baseball Complex
Cleveland0003100 — 4 6 2
Bradley Central0001000 — 1 4 0
WP: Patrick Williams (2-2) 6 2/3 IP, 4 hits, 1 ER, 15 K's, 7 BB, 0 HBP. LP: Riley Black (5-2) 6 2/3 IP, 6 hits, 1 ER, 11 K's, 4 BB, 0 HBP. Save: Hayden Sells .1 IP, 1 BB. 2B: Hunter Levert, Ryan Lee (C). RBIs: Levert 3, Barkley McGowan (C). LOB: CHS 5; BC 10. Highlights: Landen Beaty 2-2, BB, run; Levert 1-3, 3B, 3 RBIs; Lee 1-3, 2B, BB; McGowan 1-3, BB; Sam Wyrick 1-4, run (C); Ryan Giovengo 1-2, BB, Dylan Standifer 1-3, BB, Freddy Johnson 1-3; Tucker Still 1-4, run; Jake Thompson 2 BB; Caden Shelrin 2 BB (BC). Records: Cleveland 12-10, 5-6 District 5-AAA; Bradley Central 17-10, 9-2 District 5-AAA.
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