Such was the case for Bradley Central this weekend in the annual Hixson Tournament as the Bears split their four games to end the first week of the new season with a 4-2 mark.
Playing two games at each of the host sites, coach Travis Adams’ squad claimed victories over East Hamilton (8-4) and Hixson (8-1), but took it on the chin against Chattanooga Central (9-3) and Tullahoma (17-2), which is considered one of the top teams in the state and off to a 6-0 start to the season.
With a 2-0 mark in District 5-AAA play, Bradley will return to league action Monday and Tuesday. Weather permitting, the Bears will travel to Soddy-Daisy the first night and host the Trojans the second.
BEARS 8, HIXSON 1
After rough first relief appearance against Cleveland High Tuesday night, Kentucky transfer Chris Miller was on target Saturday, firing a complete-game, two-hitter for his first Black-and-Gold victory.
The senior left-hander struck out three and gave up only back-to-back singles that led to the hosts’ only run in the bottom of the second inning before retiring 15 straight and 16 of the last 17 batters he faced. A two-out walk in the bottom of the seventh was the only free pass he allowed.
The Bear offense made the most of just five hits, with East Hamilton senior transfer Charles Chavis going 2-for-2 with a double, a walk, a pair of RBI and a run scored.
Four-year Bear starter Caleb Pippenger reached base four times in the victory, with a pair of walks, a hit and by a fielder’s choice, scoring one run and driving in another.
Senior Ryan Blair got on base three times as well, getting ‘beaned’ twice and rapping a single.
Junior Cal Pickel drew a free pass and went 1-for-2 with a pair of runs scored and a RBI for the victors.
Senior Jacob Maynard was hit by a pitch and singled, plus he scored once and drove in a teammate. Senior Jacob Fowler and Brently White both lifted sacrifice flies to drive in runs.
TULLAHOMA 17, BEARS 2
Five pitches into the game, Bradley found itself trailing 3-0 as the Wildcats blasted their first of four home runs in the contest.
Tullahoma, which tallied 15 hits, cranked another 3-run shot in the third frame and then tacked on 10 runs in its final two at bats to complete the blow out.
Bradley did collected eight hits, all singles, in the game, but could only manage solo runs in the second and fourth innings.
Pippenger, who had seven hits during the tournament, went 3-for-3 against the powerful Wildcats, while Blair had the only Bradley RBI.
Juniors Jacob Barnes and Baylor Terrell, plus Fowler and White each had a single in the game.
BEARS 8, HURRICANES 4
HARRISON — Bradley fought back from a 4-2 deficit after the second inning with three runs in the third, two more in the sixth and one in the final at bat for an 8-4 win over future District 5-AAA member East Hamilton.
Sophomore Ty King went the first six innings on the hill to earn the pitching victory for the Bears, with four strike outs, a trio of walks and scattering five hits, while allowing just two of the four Hurricane runs to be earned.
Senior Nate Mills toed the rubber for the final inning, walking one and hitting two to load the bases, but came out unscathed without giving up a base hit or a run.
Maynard and Pippenger led the Bear offense, both going 2-for-4 at the plate. Maynard blasted a solo home run in the seventh inning to go with an earlier RBI, while Pippenger drove home a trio of teammates.
Bradley got on the board first when Chavis drew a one-out walk in the opening at bat against his former team. He stole second base and came around to score when Pippenger singled.
East Hamilton tied the game in the bottom of the first, but the Bears got another run in the second. Junior Baylor Terrell drew a free pass, went to second on an error, third on a single by Pickel and then scored on a wild pitch.
The Hurricanes blew in a trio of runs in their half of the second frame, thanks in part to a Bear miscue.
Bradley came right back to plate three of its own in the top of the third when Chavis reached on error and Maynard single. Barnes brought them both home with a ringing double and then later scored himself on a two-out hit by Blair.
The Bears played “small ball” in the sixth for a pair of runs. Blair reached on an error. Chandler Duggan came on to pinch run and Pickel sacrificed him to second. Chavis drew a walk, then he and Duggan stole second and third base respectively. Pippinger delivered a two-out single to bring them both around to score.
POUNDERS 9, BEARS 3
In the tournament opener, fielding errors put Bradley in a hole it couldn’t get out of.
After Chavis walked, stole second and third and scored on a fielder’s choice in the top of the first, a trio of Bear miscues let the host Chattanooga Central squad score three times in the bottom of the first.
The Purple Pounders added another run in the second and three more in the third to go up 7-1.
Chavis delivered a two-run single in the top of the fifth to plate Duggan and Pickel, but Chattanooga Central got those runs back in the bottom of the sixth when Gabe Fomby “jacked” one over the left field wall.
Despite not giving up an earned run, Barnes got saddled with the pitching loss, giving up five hits in two innings of work.
Chavis went 2-for-3 at the dish, while Barnes, Terrell, Blair and Pickel each singled.
Bradley Central 102 003 2 — 8 5 1
Hixson 010 000 0 — 1 2 1
WP: Chris Miller (1-0) 7 IP, 3 Ks, 1 BB, 2 hits, 1 ER. LP: Parker Tyo. 2B: Charles Chavis (BC). RBI: Chavis 2, Caleb Pippenger, Jacob Maynard, Jacob Barnes, Jacob Fowler, Brently White, Cal Pickel (BC). Highlights: Chavis 2-2, 2B, BB, 2 RBI, 1 run; Pippenger 1-2, 2 BB, RBI, 1 run; Ryan Blair, 1-1, 2 HBP (BC). Records: Bradley Central 4-1; Hixson 0-6.
Tullahoma 303 104 6 — 17 15 0
Bradley Central 010 100 0 — 2 8 2
WP: Scott Jones. LP: Nate Mills (0-1) 4 IP, 1 K, 3 BB, 8 hits, 7 ER. HR: Tullahoma 4. RBI: Ryan Blair (BC). Highlights: Caleb Pippenger 3-3; Blair 1-3, RBI; Jacob Fowler 1-3, Brently White 1-3, Baylor Terrell 1-3 (BC). Records: Bradley Central 4-2; Tullahoma 6-0.
Bradley Central 113 002 1 — 8 8 2
East Hamilton 130 000 0 — 4 5 4
WP: Ty King (1-0) 6 IP, 4 Ks, 3 BB, 5 hits, 4 runs 2 ER. LP: Hunter Smith. HR: Jacob Maynard (BC). RBI: Caleb Pippenger 3, Maynard 2, Jacob Barnes 2 (BC). Highlights: Pippenger 2-4, 3 RBI; Maynard 2-4, HR, 2 RBI; Barnes 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Charles Chavis 2 BB, reached on error, 2 SB, 3 runs (BC). Records: Bradley Central 3-1; East Hamilton 2-3.
Bradley Central 100 020 0 — 3 5 4
Chattanooga Central 310 302 x — 9 12 0
WP: Tristan Wood. LP: Jacob Barnes (0-1) 2.1 IP, 0 Ks, 0 BB, 5 hits, 4 runs, 0 ER.HR: Gabe Fomby (CC). 2B: Dylan Jones, Fomby (CC); RBI: Charles Chavis 2 (BC); Fomby 4 (CC). Highlights: Chavis 2-3, 2 RBI, run, Ryan Blair 1-1, run; Cal Pickel 1-2, run (BC); Fomby 3-4, HR, 2B, 4 RBI, Dominique Dawson 3-4, 3 runs (CC). Records: Bradley Central 2-1; Chattanooga Central 3-0.