Bears' Standifer Flirts With No-Hitter In 2-1 Win Over Hurricanes

Pitching Gem Enables Bradley Central To Split Opening 5-AAA Series

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - by Larry Fleming

Brett Standifer has been widely acknowledged as one of the top quarterbacks in District 5-AAA – early at Soddy-Daisy and this past season at Bradley Central – over the past two years.

It might surprise area sports fans that Standifer looked like a seasoned veteran making another start in a sterling baseball career on Tuesday.

Well, fans who don’t know Standifer well would be wrong.

Standifer, a senior, flirted with a no-hitter for 5.2 innings, finished with a three-hitter and pitched the Bears past East Hamilton, 2-1, in District 5-AAA baseball action at Chattanooga State.

In his first varsity high school start.

“Actually, I didn’t play high school baseball my sophomore and juniors year (at Soddy-Daisy) and only threw in a handful of games in relief my freshman year,” Standifer said after his complete-game gem against the Hurricanes.

Bears coach Travis Adams, whose team dropped an eight-inning, 7-6 decision to East Hamilton on Monday in Cleveland, didn’t know what to expect from Standifer, but got a sterling performance that was nothing short of impressive.

“Since Brett has been a quarterback, he’s used to being on stage,” Adams said. “He was really impressive. When he first came out we took baby steps with him in the bullpen and working on mechanics. He located the ball well and we know what a competitor he’s always been.”

Standifer lost his no-hit bid with two out in the sixth inning when center fielder Hunter Parker beat out a bunt single. Standifer then retired Hunter Owen on a fly ball to right field to end the inning.

He lost the shutout in the seventh when East Hamilton’s Nick Fahler walked and pinch-runner Garett Stone went to second on Quinn Griffith’s single up the middle and scored on pinch-hitter Josh Aslinger’s single to right.

Standifer fielded pinch-hitter Garett Owen’s bunt and threw home where catcher Kyler Lynn made the tag on a head-first sliding Logan Hammond, who was running for Griffith, for the second out.

Standifer got leadoff batter Matt Milita on a foul popup to first to end the game.

“I know several of those guys over there because I played with three or four of them on the same summer league team,” Standifer said. “I knew some of their weaknesses and all I was trying to do was locate my fastball, which I threw four out of five times all night.”

Said East Hamilton coach Steve Garland, “Golly bum. I coached Brett in the summer when he was 14 and I know he’s got a lot of talent. I also knew he took a couple of years off from high school ball. You would expect to see some rust.”

There was no sign of a layoff.

Standifer faced 18 batters over five innings – three over the minimum. The three Hurricanes runners reached on a walk, fielder’s choice and a fielding error. He retired East Hamilton in order in the second, third and fifth innings and went two outs into the sixth before giving up the first hit.

Standifer walked five and four came on 3-0 pitches. He went 3-1 before issuing the other walk.

“Brett was able to harness his aggressiveness and that was also impressive,” Adams said. “I’m proud of his effort. You just can’t say enough about that.”

Adams visited Standifer on the mound in the sixth, but went back to the dugout as he came out – alone.

“At the least I wanted to give him a chance to finish the game his way,” Adams said. “From the fifth on, we were going inning by inning. He said he felt good. He sure wasn’t going past seven this early in the season because his pitch count was getting up there.”

Standifer threw 89 pitches – 48 strikes and 41 balls.

Garland said the Hurricanes, making their District 5-AAA debut this season after moving up from a successful run in District 6-AA, can benefit from the split in one key category.

“This wasn’t the outcome we wanted tonight,” he said, “but it was good to see the quality pitching we saw this early. I told the guys welcome to 5-AAA. This was a great series, two games decided by one run, and we’ll see this type of competition the rest of the year. Every time out is going to be a battle.”

Bradley Central (1-1, 1-1) collected eight hits off two East Hamilton (1-1, 1-1) pitchers – starter Zach Thomas and reliever Ethan Hollingshead. Bears third baseman Logan Blackwell went 3-for-4, all singles.

The Bears scored an unearned run in the fifth off Thomas. With one out Jacob Barnes reached on a fielding error by shortstop Nicholas Woods and went to third on back-to-back walks to Standifer and Hunter Rogers.

Barnes came home on Lynn’s sacrifice fly to left.

The eventual winning run came in the sixth.

Second baseman Chandler Duggan led off with a single to left field and advanced to second and third on Hollingshead wild pitches. On a one-one pitch to Cal Pickel, Hollingshead uncorked another wild pitch in the dirt that got past Fahler and Duggan scored easily.

NOTE: East Hamilton first baseman Austin Gatewood, an all-state football player who signed with East Tennessee State University, will not play baseball this year after undergoing labrum surgery after being asked why the big left-handed slugger was not in Tuesday’s lineup.  

LINESCORE

Bradley Central                      000 011 0 – 2 8 1

East Hamilton                                    000 000 1 – 1 3 1

Standifer and Lynn; Smith, Hollingshead (5) and Fahler.

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


Bryan College Releases Men's Soccer Schedule

The Bryan College Men’s Soccer team has released its schedule for the 2016 season. The Lions pieced together an impressive campaign last year, capturing the 2015 Appalachian Athletic Conference Regular Season crown with a notable 13-5-2 overall record and 8-0-1 record in conference, bettering their previous four seasons.  Last year the Lions proved their ability to hang ... (click for more)

UTC Track And Field GPA Tied For 12th

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women’s track and field team tied for 12th in the nation with a 3.57 GPA the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association announced today.   The Mocs tied with Arizona State and DePaul on the list that included 221 Division I teams. San Francisco posted the highest GPA at 3.68 followed by Portland (3.671), ... (click for more)

Baylor School Tennis Coach Charged With Buying Meth In Whitfield County, Ga.

A Baylor School tennis coach has been arrested on charges of buying meth in Whitfield County, Ga. Philip Johnson, 51, of Ooltewah, was taken into custody on Thursday and charged with attempt or conspiracy to violate the Georgia Controlled Substance Act, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and use of a communication facilities during drug transactions. ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Whiskey Company To Construct Large Distillery At Former Site Of Newton Chevrolet

The Chattanooga Whiskey Company has begun construction on a larger production distillery in the former Newton Chevrolet property at the corner of MLK Boulevard and Riverfront Parkway near the Tennessee River. Once fully operational, the Riverfront Parkway facility will be capable of producing upwards of 14 (53-gallon) barrels per day, making it one of the largest craft bourbon ... (click for more)

Judge Steelman Was Unfairly Criticized In Handling Of School Bus Driver Rape Case - And Response

We are blessed to have freedom of speech in our society, but I am always amazed at the number of folks who voice such strong antagonistic opinions about things without any apparent first-hand knowledge.   As any who wish to criticize the system should know, people get arrested and charged for criminal offenses every day.  The ultimate charge and penalty which results ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Vote For Rhonda Thurman

After studying the Hamilton County School Board quite harshly during the last seven most-tumultuous months in its history, it is only proper that I share my belief that Rhonda is its Most Valuable Player. Four of the school board’s nine members are up for re-election, with Rhonda facing capable opponents in Jason Moses and Dr. Patti Skates in District 1, but let’s never forget that ... (click for more)