Tyner Hands Hixson First 6-AA Loss, 2-0, Behind Butler's 3-Hitter

Battle, Ross Deliver RBI Hits To Spoil Strong Effort By Wildcats' Prewitt

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - by Larry Fleming

In a high school baseball game pitting two of the three top teams in District 6-AA, Tyner’s Rams had just enough hitting to break up a pitching duel between two impressive right-handers Tuesday night at John Plumlee Stadium.

Tyner’s Chae Butler got the best of Hixson’s Alex Prewitt, throwing a three-hit shutout and Sea-Sea Battle and Jalen Ross provided clutch hitting as the Rams posted a 2-0 victory to hand the Wildcats their first district loss of the season.

Prewitt, who went into the game with a 4-0 record, scattered six hits and struck out 10 in a tough-to-swallow loss. He fanned at least one Tyner batter in all seven innings.

The Rams improved to 12-8 overall and 6-1 in district play. Hixson fell to 13-8 and 6-1.  Both teams are one-half game behind Central’s Purple Pounders (8-1), who beat Red Bank, 5-4, on Tuesday.

“We’ve put ourselves in position to do something good in the district,” Tyner coach Rob Flowers said. “We split with Central and we need to get back-to-back wins against Hixson to stay in this thing.”

The Rams host the Wildcats on Wednesday to wrap up the home-and-home series. Game time is 7 p.m.

“We didn’t come out ready to play tonight,” Hixson coach Michael Green said. “We get them again (Wednesday) and we need to play better. We still have to play Central and they have to play Red Bank. We’re still in it.”

The Rams got singles by Jalen Ross – he went 2-for-3 in the game – and Sadik Spence in the first and second innings, respectively, but still were scoreless against Prewitt, who was efficient in throwing 87 pitches, including 67 strikes.

In the Rams’ decisive third inning, C.J. Ryals, batting ninth in the order, reached on shortstop Chase Jones’ throwing error that pulled first baseman Andrew Rollins off the bag.

Battle smashed Prewitt’s first pitch for a triple to center field that Tanner Moylan chased down at the fence and Ryals easily scored the game’s first run.

“That’s another notch on my belt,” Battle said. “It was a fastball right down the middle and my dad – he played at Brainerd – always tells me to see the ball, hit the ball.”

On his next delivery, Prewitt unleashed a wild pitch and Battle scrambled to second. Two pitches later Ross punched a run-scoring single to left field and the speedy Battle scored to stretch the Rams’ lead to 2-0.

“Now we have to do it again (Wednesday),” Battle said.

Although Butler was dominant at times, the Wildcats caused him some jittery moments throughout the well-played game, which was completed in 1 hour and 43 minutes.

“Chae pitched a heck of a game,” Flowers said. “Sea-Sea got that big hit in the third and Chae kept his head when Hixson put some runners on base, especially in the fourth.”

The Wildcats were patient and made Butler work. The big right-hander went to either 3-1 or 3-2 counts on 11 batters, including four in the fourth inning when Hixson had its best chance to score.

Prewitt started the inning with a groundout – the count was 3-2 – to Ross at shortstop.

Butler walked Rollins on a 3-1 pitch. Butler struck out Austin Gilkey on a 3-2 fastball, but walked Gill Brown on a 3-2 offering.

Bradley Burris slashed a sharp single to right field – the first hit off Butler – and Drake Parker fielded the ball and came up throwing. Rams catcher Bryan Wilson snagged Parker’s perfect one-hop throw and tagged out a sliding Rollins at the plate to end the inning.

“Hixson fought hard all night and Parker made a great throw from right field on that play,” Flowers said. “If he doesn’t do that and Hixson scores, it could have changed the game.”

Green agreed.

“That was a tough one,” he said. “Up to that point we had one hit and you’ve got to send him Rollins, test the (right fielder). The kid just made a great throw.”

Not only did Parker’s sensational throw home thwart Hixson’s rally, it appeared the game-changing play took away the Wildcats’ momentum as well.

Butler, who tossed 61 strikes among his 110 pitches, struck out John Mulkey and Conner Atwood to start the fifth, but walked Moylan. Jones grounded out to end the inning.

In the sixth, Butler sandwiched strikeouts of Prewitt and Gilkey around an infield hit – a line-drive rocket by Rollins that struck third baseman Willie Stewart on the left wrist – and retired Brown on a pop to second baseman Spence, who earlier on Tuesday was named to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association’s Class AA All-State basketball team, to continue the shutout performance.

“I felt strong and my teammates were backing me up,” Butler said. “I was working hard on every pitch, but always felt good out there.”

Butler needed just 26 pitches to get through the fifth and sixth innings.

He was downright nasty in the seventh.

Butler whiffed Burris and Mulkey to start the inning. Atwood slapped a single to left to extend the Wildcats’ hopes for a rally.

Pinch-hitter Logan Rigsby, who played right field the entire game while Atwood served as the designated hitter, went down swinging to end the game.

Butler struck out nine and walked six, but allowed just one runner – Rollins – to pass second base. And he was thrown out at the plate.

“We didn’t play so well early on this season, but we’re coming together now and we’re winning together as a family,” Butler said.

Butler’s pitching counterpart, Prewitt, was upbeat even though he and the Wildcats came up short in the crucial series opener.

“I was trying to mow them down, but they got a couple hits that scored runs – and it was just that one inning – and we just couldn’t hit the ball. We needed to swing the bats better. Their pitcher is good, but we made him look a lot better. They shut us down.”

Tyner                          002 000 0 – 2 6 0

Hixson                        000 000 0 – 0 3 1

Butler and Wilson; Prewitt and Gilkey.

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


Seniors Lead Lady Vols Past UGA, 70-59

Tennessee returned to its winning ways on Thursday night with a 70-59 victory over Georgia. The Lady Vols (24-4 overall, 14-1) bounced back after their first conference loss of the season at #2 South Carolina on Monday with a well-balanced performance at Stegeman Coliseum. Senior  Cierra Burdick  posted a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. It was Burdick's ... (click for more)

Dalton State Basketball Clinches A Tie For SSAC Title

The (6) Dalton State basketball Roadrunners (25-3, 15-2 SSAC) clinched a share of the conference regular season championship Thursday night with a 24 point, 83-59 win over College of Coastal Georgia. The Mariners connected on 8 of 12 free throw attempts in the first half to stay within two points of the Roadrunners at 38-36. Coastal Georgia was held to just two of 16 second ... (click for more)

Case Against Red Bank Officer In Beating Of Hispanic Man To Go To Grand Jury

The Hamilton County District Attorney General’s Office has reviewed the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation report regarding Red Bank Police Officer Mark Kaylor and the case will be submitted for consideration by the Hamilton County Grand Jury next week, District Attorney Neal Pinkston. Officer Kaylor was seen on his squad car dash-cam hitting an Hispanic man seven times while ... (click for more)

Rodriquez D. Jones, 23, Shot On Glass Street Early Friday Morning

Rodriquez D. Jones, 23, was shot early Friday morning on Glass Street.   Chattanooga Police responded at approximately 2:30 a.m. to  2211 Glass Street (corner of Glass Street and Dodson Avenue) for  a call of a person shot and upon arrival found a single individual suffering from a single gunshot wound.  The victim was found at 2208 Glass Street ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Has Always Been A Battleground Between Good And Evil

From the thousands slain in nearby Chickamauga Battlefield during the Civil War…  To the launching point of the Cherokee Indian’s Trail of Tears…  To the lunch counter sit-ins led by Howard School students — the only high school student sit-ins in the nation — during the Civil Rights Movement…  To Walter Cronkite calling the polluted Southern industrial town ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our 92-Year-Old Victim

It is with great pride, and far greater relief, that I can report a “caretaker” is far different than a “boyfriend.” A story out of Memphis earlier this week morphed into a virtual fireball that had such power it appeared on the front page on a London newspaper and other news outlets all around the world when it was reported by the Associated Press a 28-year-old man had assaulted ... (click for more)