Wildcat pitching had been stretched to its limit over the course of the past week, and it showed as Bradley unleashed the “crack’en” - bats that is, drumming the visitors for 18 runs over five innings all the while holding Polk scoreless on just a pair of hits.
“Things got a little out of hand today. Our starter did a good job out there on the mound today, and we took advantage when we needed to,” said Bradley head coach Travis Adams.
“This was our sixth game this week and our fourth in three days. We had some kids come in and gut it out the best they could, but when you’re out of pitching, you’re out of pitching. There isn’t much that can be done about it,” lamented Wildcat head coach Michael Carter.
The Bear bats weren’t the story early. They didn’t need to be. Two Polk pitchers combined for 10 walks and 10 runs off just a pair of Bradley hits in the first frame. Fifteen batters entered box for the home team, the entire batting order and another half all took their turn batting before the third out was recorded.
On the other side of the spectrum, Bradley’s Ryan Blair got the start. He went five strong, allowing only a pair of Wildcat hits and ringing up seven.
Polk appeared to settle down, as their second reliever of the afternoon gave up only one run through the second and third innings.
But, the Bears struck again. In the fourth six Bradley batters made solid contact to reach safely, two were walked and three were plunked to cap a seven run half inning.
In the top of the fifth, down 18 runs the Wildcats grounded into a double play and then popped up to mercifully end the game.
It wasn’t all bad for Polk County’s squad though.
“I thought the weekend in general went really well. We beat Chattanooga Central and beat Upperman today with some of our down in the rotation guys,” stated Carter.
“I felt like we swung the bats fairly well throughout the tournament. We’re still sitting at 6-3 after two weeks of a pretty tough schedule. But, when you’re facing a good team and don’t have your number one out on the mound things like this happen.”
Both squads will be back on the diamond Monday for district play. Bradley will travel to McMinn County for a 5-AAA showdown (7 p.m.) and Polk will head to Meigs County in 5-AA action (5 p.m.).
BEARS 18, WILDCATS 0
Polk County 000 000 0 — 0 2 1
Bradley Central 000 000 0 — 18 9 0
WP: Ryan Blair 5 IP, 7 Ks, 3 BB, 2 H, 0 ER. LP: Chris Wimberley .3 IP, 1 Ks, 6 BB, 1 H, 4 ER. 2B: Robbie Works, Caleb Pippenger, Jordan Timmons (BC). RBI:Pippenger 3, Works 2, Hunter Sweatman, Brently White, Baylor Terrel 2, Chase Wiseman, Timmons 2, Chandler Duggan, Jacob Barnes (BC). Records: Polk 6-3; Bradley 8-3-1.