Owls Slug Their Way Past Polk County, 12-2, In Ooltewah Invitational

Morrissey, Binder Smash Home Runs; Bucs Fall To Cleveland In Opener

Friday, March 22, 2013 - by Larry Fleming

Cleveland got it all started.

Ooltewah helped put the first day of the eighth Ooltewah Invitational to bed.

The Blue Raiders scored four unearned runs in the sixth inning and held on to beat Boyd-Buchanan, 9-6, in the tournament’s opening game at Bradley Central’s Toby McKenzie Baseball Complex.

On a cold, breezy day, Cleveland (2-6) turned right around and played bitter rival Bradley Central, losing to the Bears, 9-5. When that game started the temperature was hovering around 43 degrees.

Down I-75 at Bud C. Ball Field on the Ooltewah High School campus, the host Owls unleashed their version of power-ball and hammered Polk County, 12-2, in a game that ended after five innings on Brody Binder’s three-run home run and the temperature having dipped to 38.

“They hit some rockets against us,” Polk County coach Michael Carter said. “They get a runner on here, a runner on there and then it’s a missile off White Oak Mountain.”

In other first-day games, Soddy-Daisy (1-5) won its first game of the season by beating South Fayette (Pa.), 14-4, behind Caden Ricketts’ superb offensive – he accounted for eight runs; and Sequatchie County knocked off Red Bank, 6-5, scoring an unearned run in the seventh inning for the win.

The tournament continues Friday at four sites – Ooltewah, Soddy-Daisy, Bradley Central and Red Bank – with eight more games. The semifinals and championship game are scheduled for Saturday, weather permitting.

Cleveland led 2-0 after three innings, thanks to Connor Mitchell’s run-scoring single and Jay McIntire’s RBI double.

The Buccaneers pulled even at 2-2 in the top of the third inning on run-scoring singles by John Hale and Austin Jackson. Colter Parker got the inning started with a double and scored on Hale’s single.

Hale made his 2013 debut, but clearly is still not 100 percent after suffering a broken left ankle during the football season. He went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and scored twice. He also pitched in relief. After collecting his third straight hit in the seventh, he left the game, hobbling to the dugout.

“John came on in the fourth inning and minimized the damage,” Boyd-Buchanan coach Josh Rider said. “He did a good job and Jim (Cardwell) had a good start. We should have backed up our pitchers better than we did.”

The Blue Raiders got to Cardwell for three runs in the fourth, and it could have been worse.

Kimsey Bell got the scoring parade started with a run-scoring single to left. Koltyn Plumb, who singled to left eventually scored on a bases-loaded walk and Reed Allison, who was hit by a pitch, later scored on Hale’s wild pitch.

After Bell’s hit, Hale came to the mound from right field, while Cardwell shifted to center field. Hale struck out Jake Wyrick for the second out, walked Taylor Thompson and whiffed Wyrick to end the inning.

“We got timely hitting with runners on base,” Cleveland coach Teddy Carson said. “It wasn’t pretty, but the important thing is we got the win.”

The Bucs cut the deficit to 5-4 when Parker and Hale delivered RBI singles that chased Mitchell, the Blue Raiders’ starter. With none out reliever Colin Tippitt struck out Austin Bailey and retired Hunter Payne and Josh Antwine on fly balls to the outfield.

“I was happy with our pitching,” Carson said. “Tippitt really did a good job in the fifth by not giving up any more runs.”

Cleveland stretched the lead to 9-4, scoring the four unearned runs after two were out in the sixth.

Wyrick reached on Payne’s error in left field to extend the inning and Thompson was safe after striking out on a wild pitch. Wyrick and Thompson scored on McIntire’s single, ahead of a walk to Michael Henderson. Plumb then ripped a two-run double to left field.

Parker, who pitched the seventh, struck out Mitchell to end the inning.

Boyd-Buchanan got run-scoring hits from Bailey and Cardwell in the seventh, but it wasn’t enough.

“We gave up several (five) unearned runs off some costly errors,” Rider said. “It was a frustrating game.”

Ooltewah gave starter Kevin Dupree a 4-1 lead – Chase Morrissey and Jared Ryan each had run-scoring singles in a three-run second inning – and the Owls skewered the Wildcats with five more runs in the third.

Drew Williams’ double – a blue-darter to left – pushed two runs across, Morrissey crushed a two-run homer, his second of the season, to left and Ryan walked and later scored on a throwing error to give the Owls a 9-2 lead.

“I got a fastball up and in,” Morrissey said, “and put a good swing on it. That took away any momentum they had at the time.”

In Ooltewah’s fifth, Zach Thompson and Logan Fugate had back-to-back singles and catcher Brody Binder rocketed a three-run homer to left for the 10-run lead that brought on the TSSAA mercy rule and ended the game.

It was Binder’s first home run, and he also took a fastball up out of the park.

“I had gotten one earlier in that at-bat and fouled it off,” he said. “I thought if I got another one I’d have a good chance for some RBIs. In the fourth inning, the (home plate) umpire told me, ‘Hey, you guys need to score three more runs and get us out of here.’ ”

The Owls pounded out nine hits and Dupree, making his first start since coming out of the Tullahoma game with a slight arm problem, scattered three hits and struck out five.

“I felt fine,” Dupree said.

Carter thought Dupree threw extremely well.

“He’s got a nice arm,” the Wildcats coach said. “He’s going to play college baseball at a good school (Middle Tennessee State University) for a reason.”

Ooltewah coach Brian Hitchcox, hoping to direct the Owls (7-1) to their fourth invitational title, said his players made good adjustments at the plate.

“Probably from top to bottom that’s the best we’ve hit the ball all year,” he said. “We’ve been leaving some (runners) out there, but when this team gets good at-bats we can put pressure on opposing pitchers.”

The Bradley-Cleveland game was halted after 4 ½ innings due to the 2-hour, 15-minute time limit for tournament games up to the semifinals.

Ryan Blair, the winning pitcher, helped his own cause with a 3-for-3 effort that produced three RBIs, two coming home on a double in a three-run third inning.

Jacob Maynard had two hits, including a two-run single in the Bears’ three-run fourth. Maynard’s first-inning double gave Bradley Central (7-2) a 1-0 lead.

Eric Powers went 2-for-3 for the Blue Raiders.

Up at Soddy-Daisy, the Trojans got a career-day for Ricketts, who went 3-for-4 with two doubles and 5 RBIs and he scored three runs.

“That’s a pretty good day,” Trojans coach Jared Hensley said in a telephone interview.

Ricketts’ offensive outburst backed a five-hit pitching effort by sophomore Matt Rivera, who made his first career varsity start. In 4.2 innings, Rivera struck out three and walked four.

Christian Amos and Grant Cordell each went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and Eddie Wright scored three runs.


Boyd-Buchanan               000 220 2 – 6 10 2

Cleveland                            011 304 x – 9 7 3

Cardwell, Hale (4), Parker and R. Smith; Mitchell, Tippitt (5) and Plumb.

Polk County                       101 00 – 2 4 1

Ooltewah                            135 03 – 12 9 0

Carter, Wimberley (3) and Hammons; Dupree and Binder.

Ooltewah Invitational

Thursday’s Results

Sequatchie County 6, Red Bank 5

Ooltewah 12, Polk County 2

Soddy-Daisy 14, South Fayette (Pa.) 4

At Bradley Central

Cleveland 9, Boyd­­-Buchanan 6

Bradley Central 9, Cleveland 5

Friday’ Schedule

At Ooltewah

Franklin vs. Cleveland, 6:30 p.m.

Franklin vs. Ooltewah, 8:30 p.m.

At Bradley Central

Polk County vs. Boyd-Buchanan, 5 p.m.

Polk County vs. Bradley Central, 7:30 p.m.

At Red Bank

Lawrence County vs. Sequatchie County, 5:30 p.m.

Lawrence County vs. Red Bank, 8 p.m.

At Soddy-Daisy

Independence vs. South Fayette, 6:30 p.m.

Independence vs. Soddy-Daisy, 8:30 p.m.


At Ooltewah

Boyd-Buchanan vs. Ooltewah, 11 a.m.

Possible match-up game, 1:30 p.m.

Semfinal No. 1, 4:30 p.m.

Championship at 8 p.m.

At Bradley Central

Franklin vs. Bradley Central, 11 a.m.

Possible match-up game, 1:30 p.m.

Semifinal No. 2, 4:30 p.m.

At Red Bank

Independence vs. Red Bank, 11 a.m.

Match-up vs. Plainview (Ala.), 1:30 p.m.

Possible match-up game, 4 p.m.

Match-up vs. Plainview (Ala.), 6:30 p.m.

At Soddy-Daisy

Lawrence County vs. South Fayette, 11 a.m.

Soddy-Daisy vs. Sequatchie County, 1:30 p.m.

Possible match-up game, 4 p.m.

(E-mail Larry Fleming at larryfleming44@gmail.com)



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