The Central Purple Pounders really never had much of a chance in their non-district baseball game with the visiting Bradley Bears Thursday night.
It all began before the first pitch was thrown when the scheduled starting pitcher couldn't go after a tight back wouldn't loosen during warmups.
Joseph Clark was chosen to pitch less than five minutes before the game was set to begin and it all seemed to go downhill from there.
Clark never found his rhythm as the Bears sent 11 hitters to the plate in the first inning where they scored seven runs. The Purple Pounders never recovered as Bradley headed back to Cleveland with the 12-1 victory in five innings.
The Bears didn't hit any home runs, but they did collect five doubles, including three in that first inning.
Designated hitter Logan Blackwell had the third one and it was the biggest at it drove in Baylor Terrell and Jacob Barnes with the second and third runs.
Terrell's double drove in Caleb Pace, who had ripped a double to deep center to lead off the game.
Tanner Cox had a run-scoring single while Cal Pickel got an RBI when he got hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
The Bears added two more runs in the second and one in the third before closing the deal with two in the fifth.
Bradley starter Chandler Hamilton improved to 3-1 as he went the distance. He had a no-hitter going through two outs in the fourth before Gabe Fomby broke it up with a double down the line in right. Logan Petty then ended his shutout with a single.
Tyler Lowe reached on a walk in the first, but he was the only other Central baserunner until the fourth.
Hamilton struck out two of the final three hitters he faced and finished with eight strikeouts for the game.
"I feel like I pitched pretty well as I was able to hit my spots. Having that seven-run lead early was nice, but I just tried to throw strikes," the slender righty explained.
"We just took what they gave us," added Bradley coach Travis Adams after his Bears had improved to 12-9 overall.
"We did what we were supposed to do, but Chandler did a good job of pounding the strike zone and we made some nice plays behind him. We were able to jump on them early, which was important, but Chandler did his job and maintained his focus," Adams added.
The Pounders had beaten Red Bank twice by one run earlier in the week and Central coach Glenn Carter felt like those two emotional games may have had an adverse effect on Thursday's outcome.
"That's just part of the game. You're up one day and down the next," Carter began.
"The kid who was supposed to pitch had been battling a bad back and simply wasn't able to go today. We had to get someone else ready five minutes before the game began. He had a tough time with his control, but when he threw strikes, they hit it.
"That was just bad timing for us against a good-hitting Bradley team. Their kid pitched a great game, but we'll move on and put the cleats back on tomorrow as we host Cleveland. We beat Red Bank in two one-run games and it's hard to get up after something like that," Carter nodded.
Blackwell was the big hitter for Bradley with three hits, three runs batted in and two runs scored. Two of those hits were doubles.
Terrell and Barnes both finished with two hits apiece while Chandler Duggan, Justin Carpenter and Cox all had one each.
Fomby and Petty accounted for Central's two hits.
BRADLEY 721 02 -- 12 11 0
CENTRAL 000 10 -- 1 2 1
Hamilton and Timmons; J. Clark, Kaylor (1), Morgan (2), N. Clark (4) and Lowe, Mowery (1).
(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@Comcast.net)