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)         

Dalton State Golfers Jump To Sixth In Coaches Poll

NORMAN, Okla. –  Oklahoma City claimed nine of 10 first-place votes to remain No. 1 in the Bushnell Golfweek NAIA Coaches Poll. The defending national champions have been the top-ranked NAIA team for four-straight polls.    Texas Wesleyan earned the remaining first-place vote. British Columbia was third and followed by Wayland Baptist, Victoria,  ... (click for more)

Road Runners Fifth And Sixth At Sand Shark Invitational

HARDEEVILLE, Sc. - The Dalton State cross country teams had a strong day on Saturday in the Sand Shark Invitational, hosted by the University of South Carolina-Beaufort in Hardeeville, SC.  The women's team finished a solid 5th while the men came home in 6th.  The women's race comprised of 27 teams and the men's race had 23 teams competing.  All-American Emily ... (click for more)

Mayor Berke, Lacie Stone Were At Swanky New York City Hotel While Bobby Stone Was Plying The River

Mayor Andy Berke's top advisor Lacie Stone accompanied him on a trip to New York City on April 12-13 and they ended up at a swanky spot where Ms. Stone's husband, Bobby, had taken her before. They sat at the Stones' favorite table.   Bobby Stone, who has accused his wife of having an affair with the mayor, has said that Lacie Stone told him that she and the mayor kissed ... (click for more)

Fire Displaces Family Of 7; Blaze Ruled Accidental

No injuries were reported in connection with a house fire on Saturday afternoon that displaced a family of seven. The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm at 4:11 p.m. and responded to 3308 Dodson Ave. with five fire companies. Captain Wadie Suttles with Engine 4 said heavy fire was showing when the first firefighters arrived on the scene. As additional firefighters ... (click for more)

Please, No Short Term Vacation Rentals In My Neighborhood

Approval of the short term vacation rental item on the City Council agenda for Tuesday  will be the next step toward commercializing our residential properties and communities to benefit those more interested in making money than preserving an old, well-established, rich community of like-minded families.    Anything requiring a business license is ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Kelly Could Win It

I am neither a sleuth nor an odds maker but I’d say there is about a one-in-three chance that Interim Hamilton County Department of Education Superintendent Kirk Kelly could become the permanent superintendent of our public schools next Thursday. I am assured something squirrelly is happening on our newly-seated school board. It has been seven months since the last superintendent ... (click for more)