and REECE RUTLAND
Banner Sports Writers
After sweeping to victory in three pool games by a 22-3 margin, Bradley Central advanced to the semifinals of the Athletic Shop Trojan Classic where the competition got a lot tougher.
The Bears blanked arch-rival Cleveland High 7-0 in Thursday night’s opener, then won both ends of a Friday doubleheader, defeating Covanent Christian Academy (Ala.) 12-3 and Knoxville Gibbs 3-0.
With the wins, Bradley advanced to the tournament semifinals where they met Mt. Juliet, ranked second in the latest state TBCA poll. Battling another group of Bears, the local boys fell to the ones from middle Tennessee by a 4-1 margin.
Mt. Juliet, which defeated Walker Valley 9-4 to earn its spot in the finals, went onto to face No. 1-ranked Collierville in Saturday night’s championship game in a battle of the top two teams in the state.
Cleveland posted a win and a loss in Friday’s pool play, defeating Gibbs 4-0 and falling to Chattanooga Central 7-2.
Bradley (17-11-1, 4-6) and Cleveland (11-14, 3-5) will now square off in a District 5-AAA home-and-home series, playing Monday evening at Raider Field before returning to the McKenzie Baseball Complex Tuesday.
In Saturday’s semifinal in Soddy-Daisy, Bradley “had plenty of opportunities to score but couldn’t come up with the big hit when we needed it,” commented head coach Travis Adams. “(Jacob) Maynard and (Jonathan) Hodges pitched well and kept us in it, but we didn’t take advantage of our chances.”
Campbell Scholl went the distance on the hill for Mt. Juliet (21-2), firing a one-hitter, but he issued four walks and hit a trio of batters.
Bradley loaded the bases in both the third and seventh innings but couldn’t push a run across either time. Bradley’s lone score came in the sixth frame when senior Chase Wiseman was plunked, moved to second on a passed ball, was sacrificed to third by Robbie Works and came in on a ground out by junior Jacob Fowler.
Maynard had the only Bradley hit with a two-out single in the bottom of the fourth, but was stranded on second after moving up on a wild pitch.
Mt. Juliet scored twice in the opening inning and added solo runs in the third and fifth frames.
Maynard pitched the first 3 1/3 innings, giving up five hits, just two of which left the infield. He struck out three, walked two and hit two more. Hodges went the final 3 2/3 innings, allowing just one hit, a walk and a hit batsman.
Bears 12, Falcons 3
The Bradley offense pounded out a dozen hits and scored in every at bat against the Huntsville (Ala.) private school.
Wiseman, junior Caleb Pippenger and sophomore Baylor Terrell ripped a pair of hits and drove in a run each in the victory. Wiseman and Pippenger both went 2-for-2 with a double and single, plus both drew a free pass.
Senior Charlie Brown and sophomore Chandler Duggan both roped doubles in the contest, while Dylan Johnston, Fowler, Maynard and Duggan each had a “ribbee.”
Works also had a strong showing, tossing the first six innings with seven strikeouts, to up his pitching record to 4-2 on the season. At the plate the team’s leading hitter also went 1-for-2 with a pair of RBIs.
Bears 3, Eagles 0
A trio of Bradley hurlers combined on a five-hit shutout effort, while the offense sputtered a bit but came through in the end for the win over Knox Gibbs.
Maynard climbed the hill for the first three innings, allowing just two hits and no walks while facing just one batter over the minimum.
Junior Nate Mills toed the rubber for the fourth and fifth frames, striking out four an hitting a bater, while giving up just one hit. Mills (4-1) picked up the pitching victory thanks to Johnston driving in Duggan with the game’s first run in the bottom of the fifth.
Senior Jordan Whitmire came on to get a little work in the final two innings and earned the save with a pair of Ks and working out of a bases-laded jam in the sixth.
The Bears added a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth when Works walked, Fowler singled and Maynard doubled.
Senior Beasley Tarver came on to run for Works and moved up to second on a wild pitch before Fowler bunted him to third and he was safe on the fielder’s choice. A few moments later, Beasley got caught too far off third by the Gibbs catcher but was able to seal home on the insuring rundown.
Maynard’s one-out double brought home Fowler with the game’s final run. Duggan had the only other Bear hit in the contest when a one-out single in the third inning.
Blue Raiders 4, Eagles 0
After a couple of disappointing Cleveland outcomes to open the tournament, Conor Hale gave the blue Raiders a lift with a three-hit shutout pitching performance against Knoxville Gibbs late Friday night.
The senior righty struck out five and walked just one in the complete-game effort in a 4-0 win over the Eagles.
Hale set the first dozen Eagles down in order, including five with Ks. Despite giving up a pair of singles and a walk in the fifth frame, Hale left the sacks full after inducing a harmless ground out.
He then struck out the leadoff man in the sixth and after giving up an infield hit, saw the base runner gunned down by Cleveland catcher Nick Miller on an attempted steal. A pair of fly balls to center and a strike out to end the game meant Hale faced just three batters in six of the seven frames.
The Raider offense put 16 runners on base but just four scored. Senior Jesse Jones opened the bottom of the second with a ringing double off the left field fence and after a walk to Kimsey Bell, a throwing error on a bunt by Jake Moats allowed Jones and Bell to score.
Cleveland added a solo run in the fifth as Robert Parr drew a one-out walk, moved to second on a ground out by Jones and scored when Bell laced a two- out single.
Another Raider run came in the sixth with Miller leading off with single, Reed Allison bunting courtesy runner Janorie Davis to second and Parr bringing him home with a two-out hit.
Purple Pounders 7
Blue Raiders 2
In their first game Friday, Cleveland traveled to Harrison to face Chattanooga Central in an afternoon game.
The Raiders got off to a swift start in the top of the frame when Bell notched a one out single and advanced to second on a Chattanooga Central error. He trucked his way to third on a Purple Pounder passed ball, and crossed the plate when Jackson Earle took a base on balls and then caused another Central error stealing second. Eric Powers added a single, but the scoring ended there.
Pounder batters were living up to their name in the bottom half of the first. Three straight hard hit singles led to the first Central run, and a one out, two RBI double helped the home team retake the lead before Cleveland recorded the third out.
Cleveland had a good chance in the third when Tyler Croft reached on a leadoff walk, but he was thrown out when he tried to take second. Bell grabbed his second hit of the game, and was moved to third one batter later when Earle hit a single of his own. But, Central ended the threat with an inning ending double play to preserve their 3-1 lead.
The middle inning remained fairly quite as both starters settled in and neither order could find a way to put runs on the board.
That changed in the bottom of the fifth when the Purple Pounders took advantage of some Cleveland mistakes to plate a few more insurance runs.
A one-out base on balls kicked off the scoring and was quickly followed by three straight singles, two of which plated a run apiece to put Chattanoog Central up 5-1.
Raider batters tried to rally in the top of the sixth when Bell tallied his third single of the game. Earle advanced him into scoring position with a walk and Powers drove in a run when he grounded into a fielder’s choice.
Yet, that’s where the offense ended, and the Raiders were forced to look forward to batting in the final frame to try and snatch a win.
Chattanooga Central on the other hand was in a hurry to wrap things up. They kicked off their half of the sixth with a single, a hit by pitch and a walk. Two runs eventually plated, one off an RBI groundout and the other on a Cleveland throwing error.
Three Raiders came up to bat in the top of the seventh three Raider batter were sat down by the Pounder pen to put an abrupt end to the first game of the afternoon, with Chattanooga Central taking things by a score of 7-2.
NOTE: Walker Valley also participated in the Athletic Shop Trojan Classic but no information on their games were provided by presstime. The Mustangs will play McMinn County in a home-and-home district series at Mike Turner Field Monday and in Athens Tuesday.
BEARS 3, EAGLES 0
Mt. Juliet 201 010 0 — 4 6 2
Bradley Central 000 001 0 — 1 1 0
WP: Campbell Scholl 7 IP, 8 Ks, 1 H, 4 BB, 3 HBP, 1 ER. LP: Jacob Maynard 3.1 IP, 3 Ks, 5 H, 2 BB, 2 HBP, 3 ER. RBIs: Jacob Fowler (BC). Records: Bradley Central 17-11-1.
BEARS 12, FALCONS 3
Covenant Christian 100 002 0 — 3 8 3
Bradley Central 242 112 x — 12 12 1
WP: Robbie Works (4-2) 6 IP, 7 Ks, 7 H, 5 BB, 3 ER. LP: Kaleb Rymer. 2B: Robby Seeman, Kaleb Rymer (CC); Chase Wiseman, Caleb Pippenger, Charlie Brown, Chandler Duggan (BC). RBIs: Travis Upton, Jake Johnson, Rymer (CC); Robbie Works 2, Baylor Terrell, Wiseman, Pippenger, Dylan Johnston, Jacob Fowler, Jacob Maynard, Duggan (BC). Highlights: Wiseman 2-for-2, 2B, RBI; Pippenger 2-for-2, 2B, RBI; Terrell 2-for-3, RBI (BC). Records: Covenant Christian 8-17; Bradley Central 16-10-1.
BEARS 3, EAGLES 0
Knox Gibbs 000 000 0 — 0 5 0
Bradley Central 000 012 x — 3 4 3
WP: Nate Mills (4-1) 2 IP, 4 Ks, 1 H, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 0 ER. LP: Seth Kennard. 2B: Jacob Maynard (BC). Save: Jordan Whitmire (S,1) 2 IP, 2 H, 2 Ks, 0 BB, 0 ER. RBIs: Dylan Johnston, Maynard (BC). Highlights: Chandler Duggan 1-for-1, BB, SB, r; Jacob Fowler 1-for-3, 2 SB, r; Maynard 1-for-2, BB, 2B, RBI; 3 IP, 1 K, 2 H, 0 BB, 0 ER (BC).
BLUE RAIDERS 4, EAGLES 0
Knox Gibbs 000 000 0 — 0 3 2
Cleveland 020 011 x — 4 6 0
WP: Conor Hale 7 IP, 7 Ks, 3 H, 1 BB, 0 ER. LP: Colby Luttrell. 2B: Jesse Jones (C). RBIs: Kimsey Bell, Robert Parr (C). Highlights: Jones 1-for-2, 2 BB, 2B, r; Jake Moats 1-for-2, BB, r; Bell 1-for-1, BB, reached on error, r (C). Records: Cleveland 11-14.
PURPLE POUNDERS 7, RAIDERS 2
Cleveland 100 001 0 — 2 6 3
Chattanooga Central 300 022 0 — 7 11 4
WP: Colton Morgan (7-1) 5 IP, 2 Ks, 2 BB, 5 H, 0 ER. LP: Conner Mitchell 5.3 IP, 1 Ks, 2 BB, 10 H, 3 ER. RBI: Eric Powers (CHS).