“We played well, although we did make three errors,” said coach Joe Shamblin after the game. “We made some great plays, and we had some timely hits,” he added after the Mustangs evened their season record at 10-10-1.
One of those timely hits came from outfielder Cody Suttles, who laced a triple to the fence with the bases loaded in the bottom of the third. This big blow led to four runs; Suttles also scored on his hit as Central’s second baseman caught the cutoff throw and threw the ball into the Walker Valley dugout. The Mustangs got five runs in the inning.
“The triple was a big play for us,” said Shamblin of Suttles’ big hit.
One of the “great plays” Shamblin mentioned was made by right fielder Bobby Towne.
With runners at first and second in the top of the third and only one out, Central’s Ryan Poole laced a fly ball into foul territory. Towne raced from his defensive spot, caught the foul ball, crashed into the fence, and then whirled around and threw out a runner trying to advance to second. Shamblin said it was one of the best defensive plays he has ever seen.
After putting five runs on the scoreboard in the third inning, the Walker Valley coaching staff was able to do some mixing of its lineup over the final innings, using some different pitchers.
Dustin Stowers went to the mound in relief of starter Matthew Simmons in the top of the fifth, and catcher Chris Caffrey pitched the seventh.
“We’re trying to figure out a few things,” said coach Shamblin of these changes in Thursday’s non-district game.
The Purple Pounders put the Mustangs in a hole in the first inning, taking advantage of one of Walker Valley’s three errors to score a run. A fly ball off the leadoff hitter was dropped in the outfield to put a runner at second. Central then got a single from Jonathan Rively to bring the runner home.
The 1-0 lead stood up until Walker Valley’s big third inning.
Towne started the Mustangs’ rally with a one-out single and then stole second. Stowers followed with an RBI single to center to tie the score at 1-1. Caffrey then bounced a hit over third to load the bases. Suttles’ triple then brought everyone home for a 5-2 advantage for the Mustangs.
Walker Valley added two additional runs in the bottom of the fourth. Tanner Renfro reached first after being hit by a pitch, and the Pounders made a big error at second which allowed Renfro to come all the way across the plate. Caffrey came up big again with a single that scored Towne, who had reached on the error.
The Mustangs’ pitching combination of Simmons, Stowers and Caffrey maintained control of the Central bats most of the way. The Pounders did come back with a second run in the top of the seventh. Jake Brock led off with a single and later scored on a second single by Rively.
After Caffrey allowed his second walk of the inning, he got a high pop from Poole, then ended the game on a strikeout of left fielder Michael Holland.
Both teams collected six hits, but the Mustangs put their hits together for seven runs ... thanks to Suttles’ three-base difference-maker.
Walker Valley got two singles from Stowers and Caffrey and a fifth single from Towne. Rively had a big night for the Pounders with three singles, half of his team’s total hits. Dominique Dunson had two singles and Brock the sixth single.
The two teams will clash again tonight at Central in a 7 p.m. game.
MUSTANGS 7, PURPLE POUNDERS 2
Chattanooga Central 100 000 1 — 2 6 2
Walker Valley 005 200 x — 7 6 3
Records: Walker Valley 10-10-1, 4-4 District 5-AAA.