East Hamilton and Tyner squared off in an old-fashioned baseball slugfest Tuesday night at Chattanooga State Community College.
Three hours and 16 minutes later, the Hurricanes walked away with a 20-13 victory that kept them tied with Central for the District 6-AA lead.
“We got 250 (yards) on the ground and 280 through the air and coach (Ted) Gatewood (the Hurricanes football coach) will probably fire the defensive coordinator, but give a raise to the offensive coordinator,” Garland said. “We were fortunate to win by a touchdown.
“If we get stops on third down we might get fans out of here before 3 hours and 16 minutes.”
Garland, the Hurricanes highly successful football defensive coordinator, saw his baseball squad blow most of an early 13-run lead and finally got a strong relief effort from Nic Auger that quieted the tenacious Rams’ bats over 3.2 innings.
“Wow!” Garland said, getting back to a baseball analysis of the wild game. “That wasn’t even baseball. Credit the Tyner Rams, they never quit. I think Chae Butler, Sadik Spence, Ahmad Johnson, C.J. Ryals, Bryan Wilson and Mike Haywood can play.”
East Hamilton (13-7, 10-0) scored eight first-inning runs.
Tyner came back with three in its second inning.
The Hurricanes then piled on eight more runs in their half of the second.
The never-say-die Rams, however, torched the Hurricanes with a 10-run third to cut what appeared to be an insurmountable lead to 16-13.
“Obviously, we got behind the eight ball pretty quick,” first-year Tyner coach Rob Flowers said. “We gave them the first couple innings before we settled down and started hitting the ball. I’m proud of the way we fought.
“The bottom line is we have come a long way in a short period of time and I’m proud of my men.”
A small gathering of fans saw something Tuesday that doesn't happen that often on the diamond.
The teams needed 1 hour, 25 minutes to play two innings.
They used 2 hours, 10 minutes to complete three.
After five innings, the teams had played five minutes shy of 3 hours.
When Matt Milita, the fifth Hurricanes pitcher, retired the Rams 1-2-3 in the seventh, those weary fans finally headed home.
East Hamilton’s win completed a two-game sweep of the Rams, who fell, 6-5, on Monday.
The Hurricanes have two district series remaining. They take on Brainerd on April 15-16 and battle coach Glen Carter’s Purple Pounders on April 22-23.
Central plays Red Bank on April 15-16 before the showdown with East Hamilton.
The Hurricanes raked Tyner starter Isaiah McIntosh for eight runs on three hits, four walks, a hit batsman, two wild pitches and two errors while sending 12 batters to the plate in the first inning.
Milita had a two-run double and Matty Henshaw and Kyle Cox added RBI singles to highlight the first of two eight-run uprisings. Six of the runs were earned.
McIntosh and Wilson had run-scoring singles and a third runner scored on an error as Tyner began is long climb back in the second against Hurricanes starter Andrew Thompson.
East Hamilton again sent 12 to the plate in the second to push the lead to 16-3.
Austin Gatewood clubbed a two-run triple, Hunter Owen had a RBI triple and Tanner Ungos and Milita added run-scoring singles.
The Hurricanes battered Mike Haywood for eight hits – two triples and six singles – in the inning. All eight runs were earned.
Tyner (7-8, 4-6) wasn’t ready to fold its tent, though.
The Rams forced the Hurricanes to use three pitchers – Peyton King, Quinn Griffith and Auger – in the top of the third.
Ryals started it with a double and he scored on Butler’s single to left.
Then the runs just kept coming as the Rams added five singles to Ryals’ double. Tyner got runs on singles by Haywood and Wilson. Three more came in on two Hurricane errors, a passed ball, a bases-loaded walk to McIntosh and Seametrus Battle’s sacrifice bunt.
Auger came on in relief with one out in the inning. He sandwiched strikeouts around Wilson’s hit to quell the Rams’ rally.
Auger retired nine of 12 batters he faced, including six strikeouts.
“We had walked a few before I went in and I just wanted to throw strikes,” said Auger, who gave up two hits but more importantly kept Tyner from scoring. “I didn’t care if I struck them out, I wanted to put the ball in play and not walking people. If they hit the ball, I trust my defense to make play the plays.
“I got behind a few batters, but battled back. Tyner had some battlers up there, too. They surprised us. They’re a different team from last year.”
Flowers, who played high school baseball at Calhoun (Ga.) High School and came to Tyner from Cleveland High to teach history and coach baseball, said East Hamilton did what it needed to win the game.
“Credit them,” he said. “They played a great ballgame (Monday) night and again tonight. We just didn’t make plays when we needed to, but we’ll get there.”
In a game that produced 33 runs and 33 hits, a combined six players had two hits. Hunter Parker, Cox and Landon Pauls each scored three times. Gatewood had three RBIs.
Tanner Ungos was hit by a pitch twice and walked once. He also reached on an error and a single and stole three bases – the Hurricanes swiped seven bases. The Rams stole six bases, two each by Ryals and Haywood.
The two pitching staffs combined for 15 walks and 13 strikeouts.
Tyner 03(10) 000 0 – 13 11 3
East Hamilton 880 220 x – 20 12 4
McIntosh, Haywood (2), Johnson (5) and Wilson, Butler (2), Johnson (2), Montgomery (5); Thompson, King (3), Griffith (3), Auger (3), Milita (7) and Waters.
(E-mail Larry Fleming at email@example.com)