East Hamilton Rides Henshaw, Woods To Win Over Ooltewah

Hurricanes' 2-1 Victory Creates Four-Team Logjam At Top Of 5-AAA

Monday, April 07, 2014 - by Larry Fleming

East Hamilton’s Matty Henshaw threw a dominating three-hitter, freshman shortstop Nicholas Woods went 3-for-4 and drove in both runs as the Hurricanes edged Ooltewah, 2-1, in District 5-AAA baseball action Monday night at A.C. Bud Ball Field.

The Hurricanes (13-6, 5-2) took the first game in a home-and-home series that will conclude on Wednesday at Chattanooga State at 6 p.m. The game was scheduled for Tuesday but Chattanooga State coaches informed Hurricanes coach Steve Garland the field would still be too wet to play.

East Hamilton’s victory creates a four-team logjam at or near the top of the district standings among four two-loss teams. Soddy-Daisy has a 6-2 record. East Hamilton and Ooltewah are each 5-2 and Bradley Central is 4-2.  

“In my opinion, this was an important win coming in the first game against them,” Henshaw said. “Hopefully, this sets the tone for another win when we play them again.”

Henshaw (2-0) retired the first nine before Ooltewah catcher Brody Binder crushed a towering home run to left-center field on the first pitch of the fourth inning for a 1-0 lead.

But that was the only damage the Owls (10-6, 5-2) managed off Henshaw, who struck out five and walked one in a complete-game duel with Ooltewah left-hander Logan Fugate.

“I was very proud of Matty,” East Hamilton coach Steve Garland said. “He had a slow start to the season, but he’s found his rhythm in the last three games, giving up just one run in 21 innings, all in district games.”

Henshaw threw 89 pitches, 57 for strikes.

Only two Owls got hits off the smooth-throwing right-hander and the other seven hitters in the lineup went 0-for-21.

“I wanted to pound the (strike) zone and make them hit what I was throwing,” Henshaw said. “I never changed that plan, but props to Body for hitting that one ball out.

East Hamilton center-fielder Hunter Parker drew a two-out walk in the fifth, stole second and went to third on a wild pitch before scoring on Woods’ single to center and tying the game at 1-1.

Parker opened the seventh with a double to center field where Bryson Owen chased the ball down – he fell to his knees in a pool of water left by overnight rain. Matt Milita’s bunt pushed Parker to third and he scored on Woods’ third straight single of the game.

Hunter Owen followed with a line-shot double down the left field foul line. Owls outfielder London Elrod retrieved the ball as Woods rounded third and fired to shortstop Mitch Duncan, who turned and threw a strike to Binder at home for the tag on Woods ending the inning, 

It was a sweet performance for Woods, whose older brothers Zack and Jeremy played at Ooltewah during their high school days.

“This really feels great,” Woods said. “I watched Ooltewah play most of my life and I know a lot of their guys. I was seeing the ball well and hit it well tonight.”

Garland likes what he’s seeing from his newcomer this season.

“Nicholas was clutch tonight,” the coach said. “He’s really fit in with this team and he’s playing like a veteran.”

Henshaw worked out of a bases-loaded mess in the sixth, inducing freshman Bradley Malcolm into an inning-ending groundout.

The Owls went down in order in the seventh – Owen flied out, Kyle Kapherr grounded out and London Elrod struck out.

Binder collected two of Ooltewah’s three hits and Hayden Bradley had the other one, a two-out, fourth-inning single.

“(Henshaw) worked us away and found his spots,” Binder said. “And their defense played great behind him. It was just one of those games. We hit the ball right at their guys and they didn’t. That’s baseball.”

The Owls suffered their fourth one-run loss and second in a row. On Saturday, third-ranked Siegel ran it winning streak to 14 games with a 1-0 win over Ooltewah, which got only three hits against the once-beaten Stars.

Owls coach Brian Hitchcox had no trouble praising Henshaw and his own pitcher, Logan Fugate.

“Credit Henshaw for dictating the game,” Hitchcox said. “He pretty much dominated every inning except one and didn’t giving us many scoring opportunities. It was really more of what he did than what we didn’t do.

“Fugate pitched well enough to win. They got back-to-back walks and scored their first run and got some hits in the seventh when they scored again. And our defense played well enough, too. But when you get only three hits you’re not going to beat a good team.”

Fugate, who allowed five base runners over the first four innings, yet still had a shutout going, gave up all nine East Hamilton hits. He struck out nine and walked four – he fanned five Hurricanes in the first three innings.

The Owls’ No. 1 starter threw 116 pitches, 71 for strikes. Despite facing five hitters in the seventh, Fugate threw only 11 pitches, eight in the strike zone. He failed to strike out a Hurricanes batter in only one inning – the fourth.

Henshaw singled with one out in the fourth. However, Matt Watters lined out to right-fielder David Lopez, who whipped a throw to first to nail courtesy runner Nick Gratigny – he was off and running when the ball was hit – trying to get back to first for the double play.

Ooltewah simply failed to muster enough offense in support of the senior left-hander.

“But I gave up nine hits and I didn’t think I threw that well,” Fugate said. “At the end they started hitting the ball really well. To lose the lead was tough and hard to deal with because nobody likes to lose.”

Offensively, Fugate, one of the Owls top hitters, went 0-for-3. He lined out to second in the first, flied out to center in the fourth and reached on Woods’ error in the sixth.

“Other than Brody, nobody really swung the bat well,” Fugate said. “I think we should have jumped on Henshaw’s fastball a little quicker. I think we were scared and let the nerves get to us a little bit because it was a rivalry game.

“Everybody was trying to do too much.”

East Hamilton                       000 010 1 – 2 9 1

Ooltewah                              000 100 0 – 1 3 0

Henshaw and Fahler; Fugate and Binder.

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



UTC's Brown, Boaz Win Flight B Doubles At Mercer

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men’s tennis team returns from Mercer with some hardware after this weekend’s action.  UTC’s sophomore duo of Derek Brown and Austin Boaz won the Flight B doubles tournament. Brown and Boaz lived up to their No. 1 seed in the draw with a win in the finals today.  They defeated Georgia College’s Pedro Ecenarro and Mattia ... (click for more)

Weekend Prep Soccer Round up

The Baylor girls soccer team played St. Benedict in the Rivals Soccer Tournament in Memphis.  Neither team would find the net, ending in a 0-0 tie.  "It was good that we had two shut-outs in the three games,"  Baylor head coach Curtis Blair said.  "We must continue to find ways to win games that are close. We will get back to work on Monday and try ... (click for more)

Person Shot Sunday Morning On Englewood Avenue

One person was shot on Sunday morning in North Chattanooga. At approximately 9:18 a.m., the Chattanooga Police Department responded to a gunshot wound call at 1049 Englewood Ave. involving one victim. T he victim was transported to a local hospital suffering from a non-life-threatening gunshot wound. Chattanooga Police ask anyone with information regarding ... (click for more)

North Carolina Man Dies In Rafting Incident On The Ocoee River

A 50-year-old North Carolina man died Saturday morning when the raft he was aboard overturned in the Ocoee River. The victim was Gary Brown of Clayton. Mr. Brown and five other occupants along with a guide were ejected after the raft they were navigating overturned in a rapid.   The victim was unresponsive when he was recovered from the water further ... (click for more)

Dirt Decision At Camp Jordan May Come Back To Haunt East Ridge Councilmen

Wow. I thought the arrival of Bass Pro Shop would help bring East Ridge back to a position of prominence in the Chattanooga area, but the Council proved otherwise last night.  To the council - There is a reason that the developers want that dirt: It's valuable . You currently own it and the developer wants it. Bass Pro has already agreed to set up shop. They were going ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Switchings Are Nothing New

As best I can remember, I was switched with “tree branches” in at least five different Southern states when I was growing up. These seemingly endless and quite deliberate incidents of corporal punishment were not just doled out by my parents but others got into the act -- my grandmother, my aunts and or whoever else felt I deserved a whacking. There were even some notable African-American ... (click for more)