With six loses in the seven games previous, Adams also hopes the 15-0 pounding of Chattanooga Central will serve as a catalyst heading into District 5-AAA Tournament play this weekend.“We needed a game like this to remind us of what we are capable of doing,” he explained. “We follow our pitching and defense. when those things are on, we are on. This was a good all around game and a good way to go into the district.”
Bradley will face Soddy-Daisy in the opening game of a best-of-3 series Saturday at 4 p.m. in the 5-AAA semifinals. The district tournament will get under way Thursday evening at Rhea County High School with Walker Valley taking on McMinn County at 5 and Cleveland facing the host Eagles at 8.The Bear seniors stole the show Tuesday evening accounting for 11 of Bradley’s 13 runs batted in, seven of nine hits and 12 of the team’s 15 runs scored, not to mention 12th graders Cole Brand and Corey Cabrera combined to strike out 10 Purple Pounders and didn’t give up a hit in the five-inning affair.
“Cole set the pace and Corey came on and did just as great in shutting them down,” praised Coach Adams of the all-district pair. “Our seniors led our offense. We were patient at the plate and took advantage of what they gave us (13 free passes) and got some big hits with runners in scoring postion.” After Bradley favorite Brett Whitehead threw out the ceremonial first pitch, Brand, who had fired a seven-inning “no-no” against Muskogee, Okla., on opening day in Florida, toed the rubber for the first three innings. The Clemson signee struck out five, while walking three and hitting a batter, while picking up his eighth win in nine decisions this season.
Cabrera took the hill in the top of the fourth with the score standing at 4-0 and closed the door with five Ks of his own, including the last four batters he faced. An outstanding center fielder as well, Cabrera made a diving catch on a line-drive bullet fired into right-center field by the first batter of the game, plus speared a line drive on a shot up the middle while on the mound.At the plate, Cabrera reached base all four times, scoring a trio of runs after drawing a pair of walks, getting hit by a pitch and stroking a single. The Bear leadoff hitter also stole two bases.
Brand reached three times in four tries with a pair of free passes and a two-run double. He also scored twice.Senior Jake Smiley led the hit parade for the home team with a pair of doubles, a single and a walk to drive in a total of four runs, plus he scored three times.The remaining two Bear seniors, Wes Loscudo and Brandon Fisher, also provided an offensive spark each reaching base twice, scoring twice and combining for five RBI. Both drew a walk plus Loscudo launch a “too high” shot that easily cleared the 345-foot left-center field fence, while Fisher laced a two-run single.After scoring solo runs in its first two at bats, Bradley tacked on a pair in the bottom of the third on Loscudo’s two-run blast.
The real excitement came in the bottom of the fourth when seven free passes and five hometown hits, including three consecutive doubles by Brand, Smiley and junior Kody Ward, led to 11 Bear runs.Ward and sophomore Dylan Johnston had the only non-senior hits in the victory. Both walked once, scored twice and drove in a run in the contest.
BRADLEY CENTRAL 15, CHATTANOOGA CENTRAL 0
Chattanooga Central 000 00 — 0 0 1
Bradley Central 112 (11)x — 15 9 0
WP: Cole Brand (8-1) 3 IP, 5 Ks, 0 H, 3 BB, 1 HBP, 0 ER. Corey Cabrera 2 IP, 5 Ks, 0 H, 1 BB, 0 ER. HR: Wes Loscudo (BC). 2B: Jake Smiley 2, Cole Brand, Kody Ward (BC). RBI: Smiley 4, Loscudo 3, Brandon Fisher 2, Brand 2, Ward, Dylan Johnston (BC). Records: Chattanooga Central 8-14; Bradley Central 19-12-2.