Boyd-Buchanan Crushes Forrest, 11-1, In Class A State Baseball

Murrell Powers Pounding Of Rockets: Bucs Hurlers Allow Three Hits

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 - by Larry Fleming

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Boyd-Buchanan scored six runs in the second inning and cruised to an 11-1 six-inning victory over Forrest behind the three-hit pitching of unbeaten Brandon Willingham on Tuesday in the first round of the TSSAA Class A state baseball tournament at Middle Tennessee Christian School.

Nathan Murrell sparked the Bucs’ early uprising with a run-scoring double in the first inning and a two-run single in the second. Hunter Payne, who struck out to start the second, singled to left to drive in two runs in that inning.

“I was glad to get us going,” Murrell said, “and everyone started hitting after that.”

Jim Cardwell had a sacrifice fly and Seth Rogers, who walked with one out to trigger the six-run outburst and eventually scored on catcher Austin Harber’s throwing error, one of six miscues the Rockets committed in the run-rule shortened game before a packed house at Joe Baron Field.

Boyd-Buchanan (29-9) advances to the second round on Wednesday and will play Jackson Christian (35-7) on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. Eastern time. Jackson Christian edged Goodpasture, 3-1.

“If you’re going to win a state tournament, you’ve got to win that first game,” Bucs coach Josh Rider said. “It’s very difficult to come out of the loser’s bracket.”

That’s exactly what Forrest (28-13), which knocked off No. 2-ranked Summertown in the sectional to reach the state tournament, must do – come out of the loser’s bracket.

“I’m not making excuses,” Forrest coach Chris Parker said, “but we’re a small, rural, country school and all our kids live within 15 minutes of the school. It’s hard to be in a game against a lineup of all-stars from all over Chattanooga.

They got six runs in the second inning and when you’re playing on an uneven field it’s hard to come back from that. I’m trying to be the voice of all the other public schools. We’ll regroup and come back (Wednesday).”

With plenty of run support, Willingham picked up his 10th win of the season without a loss. Willingham and reliever Josh Antwine, who started the game behind the plate, combined on a three-hitter.

Willingham walked four – three in the first two innings – and struck out one. He relied on a flawless defense that turned two double plays to help him out. Two of Willingham’s walks were in the first inning, but the hard-throwing right-hander induced a double-play grounder that stranded a Rockets runner at third.

“Defense was the real story of this game,” the big sophomore said. “There’s not a better defense in the state than ours.”

The Rockets put two runners on in the second, but Willingham got out of the inning with his first strikeout. He gave up a leadoff single to Alex Brewer, whose three-run homer beat Summertown last week, to start the third, but Willingham retired the next three on a pop-up and two groundouts.

With one out in the fourth, Forrest’s Slayton Wild walked, went to third on Kennedy Mathis’ double and scored on a groundout.

“I was nervous early in the game,” Willingham said, “and I didn’t have my good stuff. I think the nerves played a part in that. The nerves spiked again when they got some runners on and they finally got a run in the fourth.”

Josh Antwine, who started the game behind the plate, came on in relief to pitch the fifth. He struck out Brewer, gave up a single to Jacob Daughrity and Landon Jones hit into a double play.

“I thought Brandon struggled and didn’t really pitch well,” Rider said. “His 10th win was pretty good though. And the ninth against South Pittsburg that got us here was pretty good, too.”

The game was decided in the second inning.

The Bucs, out of the same District 5-A that produced championship finalist Silverdale in 2013, had taken a 1-0 lead in the first when Jim Cardwell was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on Murrell’s double to right field.

An inning later, Skyler Anderson walked and raced to third when an attempted pickoff throw from pitcher Kennedy Mathis sailed wide for an error. Seth Rogers and Antwine each walked on 3-2 pitches.

Cardwell’s sacrifice fly to right pushed Anderson home and Rogers scored on catcher Austin Harber’s throwing error.

Cade Evans reached on an infield hit and Murrell ripped a single to right to score Evans and Antwine, stretching the Bucs’ lead to 5-0.

Colby Morgan followed Murrell’s hit with a single to left, E.J. Matthews reached on another infield error and Payne hit to left scored two more runs.

“That inning started with our seven, eight and nine hitters getting walks and the eight and nine guys were down 0-2 in the count,” Rider said. “The bottom of the lineup set the tone for that inning.”

The Bucs, stretching their winning streak to 16 games, put the TSSAA mercy rule into effect with a four-run sixth inning.

Anderson walked and Rogers singled ahead of Antwine’s groundout. Cardwell was hit by a pitch a second time and Evans’ bunt was misplayed by pitcher Johnathon Lykins, allowing Rogers to score the Bucs’ eighth run.

Cardwell stole third and scored on a wild pitch and Morgan’s RBI double ended the game.

“The bottom half of our lineup is always stout,” Willingham said. “We’ve got tough guys to get out from one through nine.”

SUMMARY

Forrest                                    000 100 – 1 3 6

Boyd-Buchanan                     160 04x – 11 7 0 

Mathis, Byrd (2), Garvin (3), Yelensky (4), Lykins (5) and Harber. Willingham, Antwine (5) and Antwine, Payne (5)

(E-mail Larry Fleming at larryfleming44@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @larryfleming44)

 


Lookouts Bounce Back Wednesday With 9-3 Win Over Suns

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Chattanooga Lookouts broke a 3-3 tie with a five-run seventh inning on the way to a 9-3 win over the Jacksonville Suns in front of 3,154 at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville Wednesday night. After falling to Jacksonville Tuesday, Chattanooga bounced back with a big win Wednesday. The win moved the Lookouts to just four games behind division leading ... (click for more)

Covenant Women Announce 2016-17 Basketball Schedule

The Covenant women's basketball team, under fourth-year head coach Sarah Harris, has announced its schedule for the 2016-17 season. The Scots will play 24 regular season games, including 14 USA South games and 10 non-league contests. Covenant, which went 10-15 in 2015-16, opens the year at home on Nov. 15 against regional foe Sewanee at 5:30 p.m., inside Barnes Physical Education ... (click for more)

Jury Awards 25 City Police Personnel Total Of $562,000 On Claims That Pay Plan Was Not Followed

A Chancery Court jury on Wednesday gave a verdict totaling $562,000 for 25 city police personnel who filed suit almost five years ago alleging that the city never lived up to terms of a 2010 pay plan. Attorney Stevie Phillips, who tried the case along with Janie Parks Varnell, said, "The jury awarded each officer what we had asked for to the penny." She stated, "These 25 members ... (click for more)

TDEC Defends Its Operation Of Septic Permit Office In Bradley County; Backs Hank Thompson

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) defended the operation of its septic permit office in Bradley County, including the work of manager Hank Thompson. The Bradley County Commission is studying whether to take over the operation of the office, saying there have been a number of complaints against Mr. Thompson and that he recently kicked Commissioner ... (click for more)

Alexander Should Do Something About The Affordable Health Care Act Price Increase - And Response (3)

Re:  Alexander's remarks about Tennesseans not affording "Affordable Health Care Act" prices Mr. Alexander,  Your message stated, Tennesseans can't afford a 44 percent to 62 percent increase in the Affordable Care prices.  I simply ask, as Senate Health Committee chairman, why don't you do something about it?  Don't tell us something most know already.  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: 40 Questions About ‘Blue Bags’

No. 1 – Did you know that one in every five of the 42,000 children in the Hamilton County school district is what the experts call “food deprived?” No. 2 – Can you get your arms around the fact that a huge percentage of those 8,400 children get little, if nothing, to eat from Friday at lunch until they return to our schools on Monday? No. 3 -- Did you know that you – just ... (click for more)