Scoring in each of its first three at bats, the Black-and-Gold led 3-0 and 4-2 before eventually falling 11-7 to Chattanooga Central, a team the Bears beat 18-13 in the first week of the season.
With the regular season wrapped up, Bradley (10-23) will open District 5-AAA play this evening at 5 against crosstown rival Cleveland (19-12). Rhea County and McMinn County will play in tonight’s district nightcap at Walker Valley’s Turner Field.
Tonight’s winners will square off Friday evening at 7 for a spot in the 5-AAA semifinal playoff series. The winner of the four-team single elimination portion of the event will take on top-seeded Soddy-Daisy in a best-of-3 series beginning Saturday.
Second-seeded Ooltewah and No. 3 Walker Valley will tangle in the other semifinal series.
Not having played since April 26, Bradley opened Wednesday’s final home game with a two-out rally for a run.
After the first two batters struck out, junior Chase Wiseman singled and sophomore Caleb Pippenger was hit by a pitch before sophomore Jacob Fowler drove in Wiseman with a hit.
The Bears pushed their advantage to 3-0 when junior Cory Loftis drew a walk to open the bottom of the second, moved to third on back-to-back wild pitches and came home when senior Hayden Robinson laced a single to right field.
Robinson moved up on a passed ball and after sophomore Brently White sacrificed him to third, he beat the throw home on a ground ball by senior Kody Ward.
Chattanooga Central (17-16) got on the board in the top of the third when designated hitter Mike Holland blasted a two-run shot to the tennis courts beyond the right-center-field wall.
Bradley answered right back in the bottom of the frame with another run as Fowler hit a shot into the left-center gap for a double, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a groundout by Loftis.
A pair of two-out doubles and a couple of walks in the top of the fourth gave the Purple Pounders their first lead of the night. Travis Morgan led off the rally with a two-bagger and after consecutive walks filled the sacks, Brandon Davis unloaded them.
The death nail came in the top of the sixth when four Bear fielding errors allowed the visitors to put a 6-spot on the board, with a solo home run by Morgan to lead off the frame being the only earned run.
Down 11-4 with two out in their final at bat, the young Bears didn’t give up. Wiseman had beat out a bunt to open the bottom of the seventh and after the next two batters got out, senior Joshua Lee worked the Pounder pitcher for a walk.
With two on and two out, sophomore Jacob Maynard ripped a shot over the right fielder’s head for a triple to clear the bases, then scored himself when the throw to third went into the dugout. Unfortunately for the home team the next batter popped out to end the comeback.
Fowler and Wiseman both had two hits for the Bears.
POUNDERS 11, BEARS 7
Chattanooga Central 002 306 0 — 11 8 1
Bradley Central 121 000 3 — 7 6 7
WP: Colton Morgan 4.1 IP, 5 K, 2 BB, 3 HBP, 5 H, 4 ER. LP: Robbie Works 1 IP, 2 Ks, 0 BB, 3 H, 1 ER. HR: Travis Morgan, Mike Holland (CC). 3B: Jacob Maynard (BC). 2B: Morgan, Brandon Davis (CC); Jacob Fowler (BC). RBIs: Brandon Davis 3, Holland 2, Travis Morgan, Colton Morgan (CC) Maynard 2, Cory Loftis, Hayden Robinson, Kody Ward, Fowler (BC). Records: Chattanooga Central 17-16; Bradley Central 10-23.