“We overcame ourselves,” declared Bradley head coach Travis Adams after his squad notched a 6-3 victory. “We played well all but one inning. Three errors in one at bat could have could have done us in but our guys right back out, settled down and got back to playing the way we need to.”
“This was not a pretty game,” echoed Raider mentor Ted Carson, whose team also committed three errors and a couple of costly mental mistakes. “We’ve got to put this one behind us and come back out tomorrow and bounce back.”
The teams will gather at the McKenzie Baseball Complex tonight for the regular season district finale. The district tournament begins May 2 at BCHS.
Bradley (18-11-1) is now 5-6 in 5-AAA play with Monday’s victory wrapping up the No. 4 seed for the district tournament. Cleveland is 11-15 overall and 4-7 in district play and will be the fifth seed in postseason play. The two local teams will square off in the opening round of the district tournament with the winner advancing to face the other county team, Walker Valley (16-8, 9-2 in 5-AAA), which secured the top seeded with a victory Monday night over McMinn County.
At Raider Field Monday, Bradley took advantage of a hit batsman and a pair of Cleveland errors in the opening at bat to score first.
After a game-opening strikeout, Chase Wiseman got plunked and then stole second, with the throw sailing into center field, allowing the senior to move around to third.
Classmate Robbie Works then brought him home with a bullet shot for a single. Despite another throwing error advancing Works to second and a walk to junior Jacob Fowler, Cleveland got out of the inning with a double play.
The next three half innings went quickly with Bear ace Jordan Whitmire setting down the Raiders in order twice, while Raider starter Jake Wyrick doing the same in the top of the second.
The third inning is where the wheels fell off for both squads as six of the game’s nine runs crossed the plate.
Bradley’s Chandler Duggan started the frame off with a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Dylan Johnston. After a two-out walk to Works, Fowler reached on an error that plated Duggan. Another free pass to junior Caleb Pippenger loaded the bases before Jacob Maynard ripped a two-run single to bring in both Works and Fowler.
In the bottom of the frame, Whitmire got the first two batters out on just three pitches but then the first of three Bear miscues in the at bat extended the inning. With junior Reed Allison reaching on the error, senior Tyler Shugart drew a walk and Wyrick helped his own cause with an RBI-single.
Senior Robert Parr then drew a free pass but on ball four the pitch got away, allowing Shugart to score and courtesy runner Tyler Croft go to third while Parr motored to second.
After an intentional walk to Jesse Jones loaded the bases, the final of five errors in the frame allowed Croft to score, but a Raider base running blunder allowed the inning to end.
Both teams went down in the fourth ad fifth frames, plus only sent four batters to the plate in the sixth without anybody scoring.
Bradley tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh with Duggan drawing another walk, moved to second on a wild pitch and third on a bunt single by Johnston. After Johnston swiped second, both runners scored then Wiseman sent a shot back up the middle for a two-run single.
Whitmire improved to 4-3 on the season with a three-hit complete game, striking out seven. He did walk three and hit another but none of the Raider runs against him were earned.
Wyrick also went the distance on the hill, recording eight Ks, walking a half dozen, hitting one, and scattering six hits. Only half of the six Bear runs were earned.
“Jordan (Whitmire) once again set the tone for us,” coach Adams assessed. “He didn’t panic when things didn’t go right there in the third.” Whitmire faced just two batters over the minimum in the final four innings.
“Give Wyrick credit, he stuck right in there and battled us the whole way,” added the Bear coach.
Bradley also claimed a 7-4 victory in the junior varsity game as the teams combined for 18 hits, including six triples, and four errors.
Duggan went 2-for-2 with a pair of three-baggers and an RBI in the victory, while Jordan Timmons went 2-for-3 with a triple and a “ribee.” Baylor Terrell drove in a trio of Bear teammates and Ryan Blair brought in another. Both Terrell and Blair went 1-for-3.
Cleveland’s Eric Powers rapped a double and a single in three at bats, plus drove in three runs, while Austin Dykes had a triple in his two hits for the Raiders.
Freshman Ty King pitched the final four innings for the Bears to earn the win.
BEARS 6, BLUE RAIDERS 3
Bradley Central 103 000 2 — 6 6 3
Cleveland 003 000 0 — 3 3 3
WP: Jordan Whitmire (4-3) 7 IP, 7 Ks, 3 H, 3 BB, 1HBP, 0 ER. LP: Jake Wyrick 7 IP, 8 K, 6 H, 6 BB, 1 HBP, 3 ER. RBIs: Chase Wiseman 2, Jacob Maynard 2, Robbie Works (BC); Jake Wyrick (C). Highlights: Wiseman 2-for-3, 2 RBI, 2 SB, r; Maynard 2-for-3, 2 RBI, SB; Works 1-for-3, BB, RBI, r; Chandler Duggan 2 BB, 2 r (BC); Wyrick 1-for-2, BB, RBI; Robert Parr 1-for-2, BB, SB (C). Records: Bradley Central 18-11-1, 5-6 District 5-AAA; Cleveland 11-15, 4-7 District 5-AAA.