Hixson Blanks Central For 6-AA Baseball Title

Mulkey, Prewitt Pace 2-0 Win In Championship Game

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 - by John Hunt

The Hixson Wildcats beat the top-seeded Central Purple Pounders twice this week in the District 6-AA baseball tournament and senior left fielder John Mulkey was the hero both times.

It was his arm in Monday's 2-1 victory as he threw out a man at third to end the game on a double play after making a spectacular running catch.

Two days later it was his bat that keyed Hixson's 2-0 victory as the Wildcats captured their first tournament title since 2005.

"We came out with a lot of momentum and got key hits when we had to have them," Mulkey said after the Wildcats had improved to 21-11 with the shutout win.

"I didn't have a very good first at-bat as I struck out, but I adjusted after that and did what I needed to do," he added.

Mulkey, the number-eight hitter in the Hixson lineup, drove in the first run in the fourth with a two-out single up the middle.  Gill Brown, who had reached on a Central error to lead off the inning, advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Bradley Burris before Mulkey came through with two outs.

Then in the bottom of the sixth (Hixson was the home team since they came out of the winners bracket), Burris beat out an infield single with one out before going to second on a groundout by Conner Atwood.  Mulkey came through in the clutch again as he beat hustled down the line and beat out an infield hit as Burris raced around to score.

Two runs were more than enough for senior right-hander Alex Prewitt, who pitched one of this best games of the season as he improved to 6-1.

"We came through again, but he key for me was just hanging in there.  I was pumped and ready to go.  This may have been one of my best games of the year," he nodded.

Prewitt limited the Purple Pounders to just two hits.

Dakota Fowler led off the first with a single while losing pitcher Bret Hardy led off the Central sixth with a single.  On  both occasions, they advanced to second on perfectly-executed sacrifice bunts, but both were stranded as Prewitt retired the next two hitters in both innings.

It must have been a pleasant trip down memory lane for first-year Hixson coach Colton Green, who was a member of this team back in 2008 when they advanced to the region the last time and also in 2005 when they won their last tournament title.

Green has been pushing all the right buttons and making all the right calls as the Wildcats have enjoyed one of their best seasons ever.

"It was a good one," the soft-spoken coach said following the game that lasted just 92 minutes.

"Alex did what he's been doing all season as he put up another zero.  That last run was huge as it kept our momentum going, but pitching and clutch hitting have been the key for us all year and that was the case again today.

"I knew it would be another close game, but this was probably his best game considering the situation," the coach said about Prewitt.

"And it's always nice to play at home in the first round of the region," he concluded with a smile.

Central coach Glen Carter has said that his team's lack of offense has been its biggest problem all year.  Such was the case again on Wednesday.

"We just can't hit.  Two hits just won't win a baseball game.  When my guy only gives up two runs, you should be in a good position to win...unless you only get two hits," Carter said after his team dropped to 17-19 for the season.

"We had three leadoff hitters get on and they all got sacrificed to second, but we never got another hit to get them in.  We're just not swinging the bats with authority and we have no approach at the plate, so it's frustrating.

"On a more positive note, we won the game we had to win last night, so that took the pressure off of today's game.  We're still playing and that's the bright spot for us," Carter added.

While Prewitt was the winner with his second straight complete game of the tournament, Hardy was tagged with the loss despite allowing just five hits and four walks.  He also had five strikeouts.

Prewitt allowed two hits and two walks while also hitting a pair.  He finished with four strikeouts.

Hixson will be at home on Monday for the opening game of region play against the Loudon-Sequoyah loser while Central will be on the road the same day at the home of the District 5-AA winner.

CENTRAL   000 000 0 -- 0 2 2

HIXSON     000 101 x -- 2 5 0

Hardy and Lowe; Prewitt and Gilkey.

(email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@Comcast.net)


Sale Creek Stays Alive In Class A With Two Wins; Central Loses, 2-0

MURFREESBORO – Sale Creek won twice in Class A softball on Thursday while Central suffered its first loss in the Class AA division of the state softball tournament being played at the Starplex here. Faced with overcast skies and a nagging wind on an unusually cold spring day, Sale Creek had to battle its way back through the loser’s bracket after losing 6-1 to the Forrest Lady ... (click for more)

Bucs Come Up Short In 4-1 Loss To Grace In Class A Baseball

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Boyd-Buchanan had a mission Thursday. Beat Knoxville Grace twice. The first half of the plan worked out brilliantly when the Bucs scored three runs in the eighth inning, two on Cade Evans’ clutch double, and knocked off the Rams, 6-3, in the TSSAA Spring Fling Class A state baseball tournament. However, Grace threw a wrench in the Bucs’ scheme ... (click for more)

Board Of Regents Board Meets Wednesday To Approve New Chattanooga State President

The Tennessee Board of Regents will convene a special called meeting at  9:30 a.m. CDT next Wednesday to receive recommendations for presidential vacancies at community colleges, including Chattanooga State, and the director position at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Covington/Ripley.  The finalists to replace longtime leader Jim Catanzaro are: ... (click for more)

New CARTA Service To Enterprise South Industrial Park Has "Medium" Success So Far

CARTA officials said its new bus service from downtown to the Enterprise South Industrial Park is meeting with "medium" success thus far. Lisa Maragnano, executive director, said there have been 313 riders on the routes that began at the first of the month. That includes 241 getting aboard downtown in the early morning and 72 riding from Enterprise South in the afternoon. ... (click for more)

Don't Make A Mockery Of Memorial Day

We're told Memorial Day is the day to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in order that we, as Americans and others around the world, might live free, unshackled (invisible or otherwise) and without oppression. But how is that so when so many in America continue to be denied those freedoms? Others whose family and friends made the ultimate sacrifice? Their surviving families ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Chincoteague Mourns ‘Dude’

In the span of a person’s life, there are some things that simply can’t be explained to be totally understood. And of all the spectacles I have ever personally witnessed, one of the best is that day in late July when they “pen the ponies” at Chincoteague Island, Va. I’m serious. Over 50,000 people watch every year as volunteer “Saltwater Cowboys” swim the wild ponies to the mainland ... (click for more)