Independence's Guske (Sub)dues Soddy-Daisy In Ooltewah Invitational

Trojans Fall 8-3 As Eagles Standout Scatters Five Hits, Strikes Out 10

Saturday, March 23, 2013 - by Larry Fleming

Soddy-Daisy was submarined Friday night.

No, a foreign Navy didn’t invade the North Hamilton County community.

But Brandon Guske came.

He saw.

He conquered.

Guske, a right-handed submarine pitcher scattered five hits and propelled Independence High’s Eagles to an 8-3 win over Soddy-Daisy in the Ooltewah Invitational on another cold night for high school baseball.

The classic concludes today, weather permitting, with games scheduled to be played at four sites – Ooltewah, Bradley Central, Red Bank and Soddy-Daisy.

The two semifinal games will be at Ooltewah and Bradley Central, each starting at 4:30 p.m. The championship game is scheduled for Ooltewah at 8 p.m.

There is a 90 percent chance of rain on Saturday with the temperature in the mid-50s.

Guske, who has signed with Freed Hardeman, struck out the first four Trojans he faced and retired the next six before freshman Tre Carter beat out an infield hit in the fourth inning.

The hard-throwing Eagles ace then struck out Andy Wright before giving up another single. However, Carter was thrown out at third base to end the threat.

“I felt great tonight,” said Guske, who struck out 10 and walked none while improving his record to 3-0. “I got in a groove early and the cold didn’t bother me. It wasn’t too bad out here.”

A 6-foot-3-inch, 175-pound senior, Guske was an over-the-top pitcher his first two years at Independence and dropped his delivery prior to the 2012 season. His first game using the new motion was against Ooltewah in last year’s invitational.

Guske remembers that game well.

“We lost 5-1 and I threw a one-hitter, but we made a lot of errors,” he said.

Independence coach Bill Moore suggested Guske change his delivery and when it took hold the young hurler saw immediate returns on his investment.

“As soon as he did it,” Moore said, “his velocity was up, the movement on his ball was up and his effectiveness was up. It was an easy sell.”

A former Independence player, Brian Miller, also used a submarine delivery – a pitcher drops his throwing arm down so far his hand almost touches the ground – and helped Guske make the conversion.

Miller is now a sophomore pitcher at Vanderbilt and he’s 2-0 with a 0.49 ERA in 13 appearances.

“He was very receptive to the change,” Moore said of Guske.

Said Guske: “It took me about two weeks to feel good about it. Brian worked with me and that helped a lot.”

By the time Soddy-Daisy (1-6) got a bead on Guske’s unusual delivery, the Trojans trailed 8-0.

The Trojans scored their runs – all unearned – in the fifth inning.

Austin Hickey reached on an error by Eagles third baseman Cole Cooper and later scored on Cooper’s second miscue of the inning. Caleb Ricketts and Christian Amos each singled. Ricketts came home on Grant Cordell’s sacrifice fly and Amos scored another Eagles misplay.

Wright led off the Trojans’ sixth with a single and after a sacrifice bunt, Guske struck out Hickey and Ricketts to end the inning. Baylor Stewart reached on an error in the seventh, but Guske fanned Cordell and retired Devan DeMatteo on a game-ending fly ball to center field.

Soddy-Daisy coach Jared Hensley, who was restricted to the dugout for arguing umpire calls early in the game, said he’s seen a “handful” of submariners in his time, but rarely with a starting pitcher.

“Most of those guys are relievers,” Hensley said. “Their kid was very effective from the get-go. After we made some adjustments we got to him a little bit, but he dictated the game and the pace of the game early. He was really in a rhythm.”

The Eagles (6-3) – they lost to South Fayette (McDonald, Pa.), 5-1, in Friday’s first game as Michael Fetchett and Justin Foreman combined on a one-hitter – scored a run in the second inning off the Trojans’ Wright. Ben Lee was hit by a pitch and scored on Cooper’s double to right-center.

Ethan Nieman had a run-scoring double and Timothy Wright and Kyle Marshall added RBI singles to extend Independence’s lead to 4-0. Tommy Morren was hit by a pitch and scored on Matthew May’s double to right in the fourth.

Run-scoring singles by Cooper and Morren highlighted the Eagles’ three-run fifth. Marshall scored from third after Aaron Waller’s laid down a bunt. Ricketts, the Trojans’ catcher, dropped the ball when Marshall slid hard into him.

The play caused a nose-to-nose confrontation between the two players and a couple parents – one from each school – duplicated that scene just off the field behind home plate before cooler minds prevailed.

The Soddy-Daisy fan said, “Don’t put your hands on me,” when the Independence fan said something to him.

Moments later Moore walked down to a group of Independence fans and implored them not to say anything to Trojan players.

“We didn’t say anything,” the man told Moore. “They’re the ones talking.”

Independence, located in Thompson’s Station just south of Franklin, raked two Soddy-Daisy pitchers for 12 hits, including four doubles.

All five Soddy-Daisy hits were singles.

“I’m happy with my guys,” Hensley said. “They showed a little fight out there and probably had too much emotion and that’s because I was too emotional and they fed off me. I take fault for that.

“We’ve got to know how to control emotions and turn that into controlled aggression as far as playing the game.”

In other classic games reported to, Red Bank beat Polk County, 6-5, behind a stellar performance by Hagen Wilkey.

Wilkey picked up the win in a two-inning relief stint, belted his fifth homer of the season, added a double and drove in the winning run in the seventh inning.

Tyler Phillips, Ryder Pierce and Gage Winton also had doubles for the Lions.

In Cleveland, Bradley Central knocked off Polk County, 5-2, as Chris Miller registered his second win without a loss. He scattered five hits, struck out seven and neither run allowed was earned.

Brently White went 2-for-4 with one RBI for the Bears (8-2). Jacob Barnes had a double, as did Polk County’s Nolan Bishop.

Host Ooltewah (8-1) got a complete-game effort from right-hander Drew Williams, who gave up seven hits in a 10-1 victory over Franklin.


Independence                   013 130 0 – 8 12 4

Soddy-Daisy                      000 003 0 – 3 5 3

Guske and Nieman; Wright, Thornton (4) and Ricketts.

Saturday’s Schedule

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





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