CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Bradley Central jumped out to a big lead Monday night against Soddy-Daisy and Bears right-hander Ty King took care of the rest.
King scattered five hits and struck out nine as Bradley Central beat Soddy-Daisy, 8-1, to wrest sole possession of first place in District 5-AAA away from the Trojans at Toby McKenzie Baseball Complex.
“When you’ve got eight runs it’s pretty easy,” King said. “I felt good, threw strikes and my defense was there for me.”
Bradley Central (7-3 overall) and Soddy-Daisy (7-4) went into Monday’s game with 3-1 district records, but the Bears now have a one-game edge over the Trojans – at least for a few more hours.
The two teams continue the home-and-home series Tuesday night at Soddy-Daisy, with the first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m. It should be another frigid night on the hill at Soddy-Daisy High.
“There’s a little pressure on us to win Tuesday and salvage a split,” Trojans coach Jared Hensley said. “At the same time, it’s a long season. If something goes wrong (Tuesday) it’s not the end of the world.
“Is there an emphasis on the next game? Absolutely. We want to win District 5-AAA and expect to do that. But it’s got to start Tuesday.”
The Bears raked Trojans starter Hunter Maynor for five runs – only one was earned – in the second inning. Maynor gave up two hits, but his defense committed three errors.
Jordan Timmons and Baylor Terrell had run-scoring hits for the Bears in the inning, giving King a big cushion to work with.
In the third, Timmons had a run-producing double and Cal Pickel’s two-out hit to center pushed two more runs across.
Timmons went into the game hitting .118 (2 for 17), but his 2-for-3 effort pushed the average up 93 points.
That was more than enough runs for King, who struck out nine and walked two while picking up his third win without a loss this season.
“Getting those five runs felt better than good,” King said. “I’ve thrown pretty good for the most part so far, and the secret is throwing strikes.”
King threw 85 pitches with 54 going for strikes.
While mostly known as a dominating fastball pitcher, King kept the Trojans off balance with some tantalizing off-speed offerings.
That pattern worked brilliantly for King except in the fourth inning when Soddy-Daisy scored its lone run and collected three of its five hits off the Bears’ right-hander.
Soddy-Daisy catcher Dillon Clift started the inning with a double to center and with two out Christian Amos singled Clift home. Gavin Rogers followed with a hit to left, but King struck out Baylor Stewart to end the threat.
“He’s done a real good job this year,” Bears coach Travis Adams said of King. “People think of him as a dominating fastball guy, but when he gets the off-speed stuff going that’s when he’s really tough.
“Soddy-Daisy is a pretty good fastball hitting team. Ty is a battler and we played well behind him. I thought if we could scratch a couple runs I’d feel good. When we extended the second inning and bot the big league, all I wanted us to do was make plays behind him, and we did.”
King allowed just two base runners – Hickey drew a one-out walk in the fifth and Rogers singled to left to start the seventh – both runners were stranded where they started – and the lanky junior registered five of his nine strikeouts over the last three innings.
While Adams said King did another masterful job on the mound, the Bears’ offense put Soddy-Daisy in a hole.
“It probably tied their hands on a few things and those errors were costly in a game like this,” he said, “when you’ve got a guy on the mound setting the tone. Ty had to be stingy with runs. I wanted us to make sure we didn’t make mistakes, give them extra outs and didn’t walk people.
“To win the opener is good, but we’re not done. I’ll be a tall task at Soddy-Daisy (Friday).”
Soddy-Daisy 000 100 0 – 1 5 4
Bradley Central 053 000 x – 8 5 0
Maynor, Amos (4) and Clift; King and Timmons.
(E-mail Larry Fleming at email@example.com)