“That was an ugly game,” declared Bradley Central head coach Travis Adams after his Bears almost blew a 7-1 lead to claim an 8-6 win over Cleveland High at Raider Field.
The teams combined for 17 walks, four hit batsmen and eight errors as the temperature plunged below 40 degrees during the three-hour, 15-minute marathon of mistakes.
“We should have put it away but we didn’t,” he added. “We were fortunate to get out of there with a win. I know it’s the first game but we were making mistakes that should have been sewn up by now. It’s daunting to have this (archrivalry) game right off the bat. It boiled down to they made a few more mistakes than we did.”
The crosstown rivals will meet again this afternoon at 5 p.m. at the McKenzie Baseball Complex in a varsity game only to make up Monday’s postponed contest.
After five free passes and a half dozen strikeouts in the first inning and a half, Cleveland senior Michael Henderson rapped the first base hit of the season with a single up the middle to up the middle to open the bottom of the second, but after moving to third on an error was stranded there after a teammate got caught trying to steal and the next two batters struck out.
Bradley leadoff hitter Brently White got on base for the second of four times on the day with the Bears’ first hit to open the top of the third inning and after a sacrifice bunt by new teammate Charles Chavis and a walk to Caleb Pippenger, White scored the season’s initial run when Jacob Maynard hit a high chopper past the Raider shortstop for a single.
The visitors then benefitted from five straight walks to push across three more runs to chase Raider starter Jake Wyrick from the mound. The junior lefty struck out five, but issued eight free passes in 2 2/3 innings of work.
The Raiders picked a run in the bottom of the frame when Maynard, the Bear starter, plunked junior Kimsey Bell and the Wyrick sliced a shot over the right fielder’s head to the warning track for an RBI double.
After a scoreless fourth, Bradley scored three runs on just one hit in the top of the fifth as Jacob Fowler reached on an error, Ryan Blair walked and Cal Pickel reached on an unsuccessful fielder’s choice. Fowler scored on an error, while White brought home Blair with a single and Chavis plated Pickel with a ground ball.
Down 7-1 going into the bottom of fifth, Cleveland rallied with five Raiders circling the bases to pull within a run. Wyrick started things off with a single. After Bear shortstop Chavis made a great “snow cone” catch in short left field, junior Taylor Thompson toasted the left fielder for a double that scored Wyrick all the way from first.
After Henderson walked, sending Bear starter Maynard from the mound to right field, reliever Chris Miller came on to strike out the next batter, but then hit junior Koltyn Plumb with a pitch to load the bases. Sophomore Austin Dykes then punched a two-run single just over the first baseman in a pinch hitting role and back-to-back walks to senior Reed Allison and Bell, the latter of which drove in a run, forced another pitching change.
Ty King took the hill and on the second pitch plunked Wyrick to plate another run, before getting out of the inning on a wild play that saw a wild pitch ricochet off the wall and bounce back to catcher Pippenger, whose throw to the plate went all the way to third baseman Fowler, trapping Allison, who was retreating to the bag and then reversed course. In a foot race to the plate, Fowler was able to make a diving tag just before Allison could score what would have been the tying run.
Bradley tacked on the game’s final run after Pippenger opened the top of the sixth with a single to left and courtesy runner Chandler Duggan scored on the latter of back-to-back singles by Jacob Barnes and Fowler.
The 15 hits in the contest were spread out among a dozen batters with senior Eric Powers and Wyrick having a pair for the home team, while White slapped a couple of singles for the visitors.
Maynard earned the pitching victory, going 4 1/3 innings with a half dozen strikeouts, while walking three, hitting two and scattering five hits and four earned runs. King picked up the save with three Ks and three free passes, but just one hit and no earned runs in 2 1/3 IP.
“We shouldn’t have that number of walks and hit batsmen (12 total), but Jacob (Maynard) got us there and Ty (King) brought us home,” declared coach Adams.
Cleveland claimed a 6-2 win in the junior varsity game with Dykes driving in three runs, plus picking up the pitching victory.
Clinton Clayton and Jay McIntire both went 2-for-3 with a couple of runs scored for the JV Raiders, while teammate Hunter Oliver was 2-for-2 with a double, a run scored and an RBI.
Kyler Lynn, Jordan Timmons and Chandler Hamilton each went 1-for-2 for the JV Bears. Lynn and Timmons both plated a teammate, while Hamilton scored a run himself.
Bradley Central 004 031 0 — 8 8 5
Cleveland 001 050 0 — 6 7 3
WP: Jacob Maynard (1-0), 4.1 IP, 6 Ks, 3 BB, 2 HBP, 5 hits, 4 ER; LP: Conner Mitchell (0-1), 4.1 IP, 3 Ks, 2 BB, 6 hits, 3 ER. Save: Ty King (S, 1) 2.1 IP, 3 Ks, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 1 hit, 0 runs. 2B: Charles Chavis (BC); Jake Wyrick, Taylor Thompson (C); RBI: Brently White, Chavis, Maynard, Jacob Fowler, Baylor Terrell, Ryan Blair, Cal Pickel (BC); Ryan Adkins 2, Wyrick 2, Kimsey Bell, Thompson (C). SB: White (BC). Highlights: White 2-for-3, 2 BB (BC); Wyrick 2-for-3, BB, Eric Powers 2-for-3, BB (C).