Travis Adams wasn't a very happy fellow after Bradley's first baseball game at Central Friday night.
However, the veteran coach was feeling a whole lot better about three hours later.
The Bears got off and running earlier in the week with a sweep of District 5-AAA foe and crosstown rival Cleveland, but the wheels sort of fell off on Friday afternoon when the host Purple Pounders whipped the Bears by a 9-3 final in the second day of action in Hixson's Wildcat Classic.
Sophomore Ty King restored order in the nightcap with an 8-4 victory over East Hamilton. The slender 6-3 hurler went six innings and allowed just four hits while walking three and striking out four. Things started off kind of rough in the first two innings, but he finally settled down and pitched a pretty good game.
"I felt pretty good out there, although I was having a tough time locating my fastball," he explained after the Bears' post-game meeting in the outfield.
"I just wanted to go out and do my best, but since I was having trouble keeping my fastball down, I relied more on my curve and that was the key," the soft-spoken righty added.
Bradley scored a run in the top of the first when Caleb Pippenger's single drove in Charles Chavis, who had reached on a one-out walk and stole second.
The Hurricanes knotted the score in the bottom of the inning. Austin Gatewood doubled to left-center and scored when another fly to right was dropped.
The Bears regained the lead with another run in the second. Baylor Terrell walked with one out and went to second on a bad pickoff attempt. Cal Pickel's infield single advanced him to third and Terrell scored when the Bears pulled off a double steal as he beat the throw from second to home.
King got his first strikeout to lead off the bottom of the second before he hit Tanner Ungos. Back-to-back walks to Matt Milita and Hunter Parker loaded the bases before Tyler Waters ripped a two-run single to left. Parker then scored the third run when Waters' hit was misplayed.
East Hamilton's lead was 4-2 at that point, but Bradley batted around in the third and scored three runs to take the lead for good.
Chavis, who started at second base for the Hurricanes last year before transferring to Bradley, reached on a boot by the East Hamilton second baseman. Jacob Maynard ripped a single to left and both scored on a double off the fence in right-center by Jacob Barnes.
Barnes later scored on a two-out single by Ryan Blair as the Bears took the lead for the last time at 5-4.
It stayed that way until the sixth when Pippenger applied the back-breaker with a two-out, two-strike, two-run single to center.
Maynard added an insurance run with a solo homer to lead off the seventh.
While King had struggled in the first two frames, he settled down to retire nine consecutive Hurricanes before Hunter Owen led off the sixth with a single. King then got three straight pops to the infield to leave Owen stranded at first.
Nate Mills came in to close the game in the seventh for Bradley and things got a little interesting before he finally retired the side.
Parker and Gatewood both got hit by pitches before Landon Pauls was walked with two outs to load the bases. The tying run was at the plate for the Hurricanes, but Mills got a grounder to short from Owen and the game ended when Chavis tossed to Brently White at second for the final out.
Needless to say, Adams was really happy with the way his slender sophomore responded against a pretty good East Hamilton team.
"Ty is a competitor, although he's quiet and reserved most of the time and doesn't show much emotion. This was a pretty big challenge for him, but he stepped up in a big way.
"Baseball is a game of peaks and valleys and we had to get ready to play again after playing so poorly against Central. Our approach was lax against Central as we just weren't prepared and we lost in every phase of the game.
"Ty set the tone in the second game as he did his job. I know we can play a whole lot better and I'm sure that our hitting will come around. What we have to do is tighten up on defense. Of course, we had a couple of clutch hits tonight. That's how you win close games," Adams added.
East Hamilton coach Steve Garland wasn't very pleased after his team lost twice on Friday, including a blowout loss to Tullahoma earlier in the day.
"It's still early and this is a process, but this was kind of a sloppy game on our part. I don't want to take anything away from Bradley, but we made far too many mistakes and our approach at the plate left a whole lot to be desired.
"We're fairly young, but we're still looking for our identity. I know it's a long season and we just want to be playing well at the end," Garland added.
Jacob Fowler joined Pippenger, Maynard and Blair as Bradley players with two hits apiece. Barnes and Pickel had the other two.
Chavis didn't have a hit, but he walked twice, reached on an error and scored three runs to make life miserable for his former teammates. He also made several spectacular plays at short, which included making a long running catch of a foul ball down the line in left.
Parker, Waters, Gatewood and Owen all had one hit each for the Hurricanes.
This tournament continues on Saturday with games scheduled at Hixson and Central. The championship is set for 2 p.m. on Sunday at Hixson.
BRADLEY 113 002 1 -- 8 10 2
EAST HAMILTON 130 000 0 -- 4 4 2
King, Mills (7) and Pippenger; Smith, Crowden (3), Parker (7) and Waters.
Central 9, Bradley Central 3
Central's Gabe Formby had a home run among his three hits and drove in four runs for the Purple Pounders in their debut game in the Wildcat Classic. Dominique Dawson had three hits and three runs scored for 3-0 Central.
Charles Chavis had two hits good for two RBIs for Bradley Central (2-1).
BRADLEY 100 020 0 -- 3 5 4
CENTRAL 310 302 X -- 9 12 0
Barnes and Pippenger; Tristan Wood and Poole.
Other Wildcat Classic scores:
Greater Gwinnett Christian 12, Hixson 2 :Editsch HR, 2B, 5 RBI.
Greater Gwinnett Christian 11, Signal Mountain 3
Tullahoma 15, East Hamilton 2
Tullahoma 14, Ooltewah 5
Tullahoma at Hixson, 10 a.m.
East Hamilton vs. East Ridge at Central, 10 a.m.
Bradley Central at Hixson, 12:45
East Hamilton vs. GCB at Central, 12:45
Bradley Central vs. Tullahoma at Hixson, 3
Ooltewah vs. Signal Mtn. at Central, 3
GCB vs. East Ridge at Hixson, 5:45
Ooltewah at Central, 5:45
GCB vs. Tullahoma at Hixson, 8
Pool A winner vs. Pool B winner, 2
(Email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)