HARRISON — A late-night win Friday and a tie Saturday lifted Bradley Central into today’s semifinals at the Wildcat Baseball Classic.
The Bears (2-2-1) will take on either Boyd-Buchanan or East Hamilton at 1 this afternoon at Chattanooga Central High School, with the winner advancing to the tournament championship at 4 in Hixson.
Bradley, which defeated East Hamilton on Thursday, waited out a rain delay Friday night before thumping the co-host Purple Pounders 13-3. The Bears returned to Harrison Saturday and had to settle for a 3-3 tie with the Gwinnett (Ga.) Barons, winners of seven of the last eight national home-school championships. A 2-0-1 record propelled Bradley into today’s playoffs.
Cleveland High took two of three games in the same event, whipping Signal Mountain 18-5 and nipping Meigs County 3-1, but getting shut out by the Gwinnett squad.
After the first six Bradley batters went down in order Friday night, the Bear bats heated up for four runs in the third inning, six in the fourth and three more in the top of the fifth for a “run-rule” victory over Chattanooga Central.
All but one of the Bradley starters had at least one hit, while the other, designated hitter Charlie Brown, drove in a run when he was plunked with the bases loaded.
Senior Chase Wiseman led the 13-hit parade by going 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs, while junior Jacob Fowler was 2-for-3 with a couple of “ribbies.”
Dylan Johnston laced a pair of hits and drove in a run, while junior Caleb Pippenger had three RBIs in a 1-for-3 effort. Leadoff man Brently White scored a trio of runs with a single in just two official at bats, while sophomore Cal Pickel also went 1-for-2 with a run scored.
Jacob Maynard had a run-scoring hit, while Corey Loftis scored twice and plated a teammate. Like Brown, Robbie Works drove in a run when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Junior Nate Mills (1-0) picked up his first pitching victory of the new season, tossing a three-hitter with four strikeouts and a trio of walks in the five-inning contest.
Bradley’s defense continued to play well in committing just one error, giving the Bears only three miscues in the first four games of the season.
Cleveland (2-1) managed just one hit, a single by senior Jesse Jones, in its first game of the event but then bounced back for a pair of victories.
Seven Blue Raiders had multiple hits in the 18-5 win over Signal Mountain. Robert Parr had a pair of singles and a double, plus drove in three runs to lead the hit parade.
Jackson Earle, Taylor Thompson, Conor Hale, Reed Allison, Kimsey Bell and Jones helped out with two hits apiece. Earle plated a pair of teammates in the victory.
Hale went the distance on the hill, striking out five, walking three and giving up five hits and just three earned runs in the five-inning affair.
Against Meigs County Saturday, Cleveland got another complete game from its starter as Colin Tippett notched five Ks and walked just two in seven innings of work.
Jones and Thompson each had a pair of hits in the victory, while Nick Miller, Michael Henderson, Bell, Allison and Hale each hit safely.
BEARS 13, PURPLE POUNDERS 3
Bradley Central 004 63 — 13 13 1
Chattanooga Central 100 20 — 3 3 1
WP: Nate Mills (1-0) 5 IP, 4 K, 3 BB, 3 H, 3 ER. LP: Tanner Lowe. 2B: Chase Wiseman (BC). RBIs: Caleb Pippenger 3, Jacob Fowler 2, Wiseman 2, Corey Loftis, Dylan Johnston, Jacob Maynard, Charlie Brown, Robbie Works (BC). Records: Bradley Central 2-2.