After posting a 6-2 victory Monday night at BCHS, the Blue Raiders honored their seniors before Tuesday evening’s contest, then saw those seniors lead them to an 11-1, five-inning win.
“Our seniors, Dylan Humble, Adam Taylor, Jeb Scoggins and Derek Murray have all been with us for four years and this was a good way to honor them,” Cleveland coach Ted Carson praised. “They are great kids and have put in a lot of hard work for us. I’m really proud of them.”
The victory closed out the District 5-AAA regular season for the Blue Raiders with a 6-6 mark and now the Raiders must wait on the other teams to wrap up league play next week to see where they will fall in the seeding for the postseason tournament.
Cleveland (9-10) is currently in fourth in the district standings with Ooltewah (7-3) and Soddy-Daisy (7-3) tied for the top spot and Walker Valley (6-4) ahead of them.
All three local teams will play in the Trojan Classic this weekend with the Bears and Mustangs squaring off Thursday at 4 at the McKenzie Baseball Complex, while the Raiders will travel to Chattanooga Central at the same time.
Each of the Bradley County trio will also play a second game Thursday when Walker Valley will face Knoxville Halls at 6:30 and Bradley takes on Covenant Christian (Ala.) at 8:45 on the Bears’ home field. Cleveland will stay in Harrison and face fellow 5-AAA member McMinn County at 6:30.
The teams will round out their pool play on Friday with Bradley hosting Halls at 1 p.m., while the Raiders face Lincoln County in Harrison at 4. Walker Valley will play Covenant Christian at 7 Friday evening at BCHS. Consolation, semifinal and championship games will be played Saturday.
Cleveland wasted no time in getting on the board Tuesday evening with a pair of runs in the opening inning as junior Jesse Jones kicked off a 3-for-3 night with a single to drive in the first two of his five RBIs on the night.
The Raiders exploded again in their second at bat as the first four batters circled the bases. Freshman Jake Wyrick started the rally off with a single, while Adam Taylor reached on the third Bear error in the first nine batters.
Jeb Scoggins drew a walk to load the bases before sophomore Tyler Shugart drove in the first run with a single. Jones then plated two more teammates with his second single before Reed Allison capped the outburst with a two-out single to bring in the final run.
After a scoreless third frame, the hosts put up a 5-spot as Derek Murray and Jones opened the bottom of the fourth with back-to-back doubles. Jones’ two-bagger drove in courtesy runner Tyler Croft.
Conor Hale followed with a single before Allison brought Jones in to score on a fielder’s choice. Jake Moats got into the action with a run-scoring single before Moats pushed in the 10th run of the game with a groundout.
After Taylor reached on the fourth Bear error, Scoggins, who went the distance on the hill, helped his own cause with a two-out triple to bring Taylor home from first to cap the Raider scoring.
On the mound, the scrappy right-hander struck out 10 Bears in just five innings of work, walking three, hitting one and scattering five hits.
“Jeb had another great effort and we finally gave him some run support,” Carson commented. “He got in trouble a couple of times but was able to pitch his way out of it.”
Bradley got two runners on the in the first with a two-out hit by senior Kody Ward and a walk to Chase Wiseman, but Scoggins struck out the next batter to end the threat.
In the fourth frame the first three Bradley batters reached on consecutive walks to Wiseman and Joshua Lee, plus a bunt single by sophomore Caleb Pippenger. Once again Scoggins rose to the challenge and struck out three straight batters.
The Bears were able to get on the board in their final at bat when senior Trevor Jones beat out an infield hit, Ward reached on a Raider error and Wiseman drove in Jones with a single. With two men on and just one out, Scoggins closed out the game with his 10th strikeout and a little pop-up to the first baseman.
Coach Carson also praised the special effort of Murray, who for just the second time in his school career set up behind the plate.
“I caught one game as a sophomore but it’s been since I was an eighth-grader since I was a regular catcher,” the 6-foot-5 senior stated.
Murray was forced behind the dish due to a back injury suffered by starter Caleb Hiddleson, which forced him out midway through Monday night’s game. Scoggins is the Raider backup catcher but with him on the hill, Murray put on the gear.
“He (Murray) did a real good job. He’s a gamer,” Carson proclaimed. “He’s willing to do whatever we need to help out the team.”
The Raider mentor also acknowledged the hitting effort of Jones, who blistered the ball each time he stepped in the box. “He’s hitting the ball hard and making things happen,” Carson commented.
Bears 14, Raiders 2
Ryan Blair led a strong effort by Bradley’s JV squad, working hard on the mound and at the plate.
The big sophomore fired four innings of three-hit ball, recording a trio of Ks and walking just one while giving up a single earned run. At the dish, Blair went 2-for-4, scored twice and drove in three runs.
Jacob Fowler led the Bear offense with a 3-for-4 performance, also scoring twice and plating a trio of teammates. Charlie Brown was 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored in the victory.
After a pair of scoreless innings, Bradley put up a pair of 6-spots in the third and fourth frames to break open the contest. The Bears, who had won Monday night’s JV game 4-3 in an extra inning, pounded out 14 hits in the “run-rule” victory.
RAIDERS 11, BEARS 1
Bradley Central 000 01 — 1 5 4
Cleveland 240 5x — 11 11 1
WP: Jeb Scoggins 5 IP, 10 Ks, 3 BB, 1 HBP, 5 H, 0 ER. LP: Kody Ward 2.1 IP, 3 Ks, 3 BB, 6 H, 3 ER. 3B: Jeb Scoggins (C). 2B: Derek Murray, Jesse Jones (C). RBI: Chase Wiseman (BC); Jones 5, Reed Allison 2, Scoggins, Tyler Shugart, Jake Wyrick (C). Records: Bradley Central 10-16, 1-9 District 5-AAA; Cleveland 9-10, 6-6 District 5-AAA.