Clarksville got hits to score runs.
Central got hits to get on base, but nothing much happened after that.
That’s why Clarksville is still unbeaten.
Clarksville, ranked No. 3 in Class AAA in the first Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association poll posted on coachT.com, rode the five-hit pitching of Brady Cook over six innings and timely hitting to a 7-1 win over Central in the Pounder Classic on Thursday.
The tournament is scheduled to continue today at Central and Hixson High fields, weather permitting. There is a 90 percent of rain – up to a half-inch – for Friday morning and then the threat drops to 30 percent in the evening.
“Friday doesn’t look so good,” Central coach Glen Carter said. “If we can’t play, we’ll skip over to Saturday’s schedule and try to play Friday games if possible. I’ve got Ooltewah’s field on standby. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
The championship game is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. on Saturday.
Friday presented a sunny day with gusting wind throughout the game pitting the Wildcats and Pounders.
Clarksville (11-0) made the most of nine hits – the Pounders, ranked ninth in the Class AA TBCA poll, committed three errors – to keep their season-opening winning streak alive. The Wildcats were coming off a 14-4 victory over Clarksville Northwest and scored 24 runs in their last two games.
Cook came within one out of posting the team’s fourth shutout this season, but two errors led to Central’s lone run in the sixth inning.
“Brady’s a senior and he is pitching like a senior,” Wildcats coach Brian Hetland said. “He threw a lot of strikes and located his fastball and breaking ball well. He didn’t throw his changeup as good as usual, but got it going later on and did a great job.”
Cook wasn’t overpowering – he had seven strikeouts and walked one – but he kept the Pounders off balance and unable to string together hits that would produce runs.
“We’ve struggled with the bats for a week,” Carter said. “We’re swinging at bad pitches and watching the good ones go by. I challenged our guys after the game to start hitting the ball better. I told everybody, even those guys who haven't played a lot, that if you start hitting, I'll put you in the lineup.”
Cook may have had something to do with that lack of offensive production by the Pounders (8-6).
Dakota Fowler, the Pounders’ starting pitcher, doubled to lead off the first inning, but was stranded at third.
Matt Ford started the second with a single, but was forced out at second and Central got nothing else.
Scout Morgan opened the third with a hit, Joseph Clark singled with two out and Cook struck out Gabe Fomby to end the threat.
Cooke retired the Pounders in order in the fourth. He gave up a walk to start the fifth, but retired the next three.
Clark reached on an error, Fomby singled and Tyler Lowe reached on an error that produced Central’s only run in the sixth. Lowe was thrown out trying to steal second and Cook whiffed Ford and Hayden Kaylor.
“I struggled hitting my spots in the first inning,” Cook said. “As I settled in my change started working and that’s what I like to throw in a jam. The change gets me out of a lot of trouble. That’s definitely my out pitch.”
Mitch Muhlada, who had been the designated hitter, came on in relief in the seventh and gave up a leadoff single to Bret Hardy to start the seventh. But Scout Morgan grounded out, Caleb Morgan struck out and Fowler flied out to end the game.
“Brady is in our top three rotation,” Hetland said. “He pitched a lot last year as a junior and he’s been through some battles. I thought he did a good job and our catcher (Gabe Bowling) handled things nicely. I thought they had a good thing going out there.”
The Wildcats, who went 24-13 last season and won the District 10-AAA title before losing to Mt. Juliet in the Region 3-AAA semifinals, picked up two runs off Fowler in the third on a fielder’s choice by Donnie Everett and RBI single by Muhlada.
Fowler walked three in the inning and two scored.
Clarksville’s Teal Young laced a one-out single to left in the fourth and Luke Chilcutt followed with a triple to right field, pushing the Wildcats’ lead to 3-0.
The Wildcats struck for two more runs with two out in the fifth.
Everett singled and eventually scored on Bowling’s infield hit. When Ryan Streeter, a courtesy runner for Bowling, was caught in a rundown between first and second, Muhlada scored from third.
Both runs were unearned and Cook had a 5-0 cushion.
Mosteller’s single to center produced Clarksville’s final run.
“Dakota (a sophomore) did great and kept us in the game as much as he could,” Carter said. “He went out down 5-0, but if we get some hits it’s probably 5-3 or 5-4. If we had gotten runners in early it would have changed the complexion of the game. With us putting no pressure on them, they were getting their outs and then going up there getting hits while we weren’t.”
While the Pounders made three errors, they did wipe out for runners during the game.
Lowe, Central’s catcher, threw out two base runners at third. Fowler picked off two runners – one at first and one at second.
“I thought I did acceptable today,” Fowler said. “I was hitting my spots, but that’s a good hitting team over there. They put the ball in play and executed plays. It might have been different if we had made a few more plays. But they’ve got a good hitting team.”
Clarksville 002 121 1 – 7 9 2
Central 000 001 0 – 1 6 3
Cook, Muhlada (6) and Bowling; Fowler, Kaylor (6) and Lowe.
At Central High School
Murray County (Ga.) vs. Central, 3:30 p.m.
Clarksville vs. Key West (Fla.), 5:45 p.m.
Murray County (Ga.) vs. Cleveland, 8 p.m.
At Hixson High School
Gwinett vs. Northeast, 3:30 p.m.
Georgia Gamers vs. Hixson, 5:45 p.m.
Georgia Gamers vs. Gwinett, 8 p.m.
(E-mail Larry Fleming at email@example.com)