Slaughter Slugs, Moriarity Pitches Red Hawks Past Bears 14-2 In Baseball Sectional

Saturday, May 19, 2018 - by Larry Fleming

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Stewarts Creek’s approach Saturday to what it started on Friday was quite simple and dramatically effective.

Bombs away, boys.

The Red Hawks (21-15) were hitting laser shots all over the Toby McKenzie Baseball Complex field, knocking dents in the fences and in one case clearing it while routing Bradley Central, 14-2, in a Class 3A sectional blowout that produced Stewarts Creek’s third straight trip to the state tournament.

Sophomore Sam Slaughter was the Red Hawks’ lead bombardier. Slaughter went 3-for-4, scored three times and drove in six runs to power the team’s 13-hit attack. He had a three-run double in a four-run third inning and added a three-run missile that soared over the right-field fence and probably rolled down to the old site of the Cleveland Speedway in South Cleveland in a four-run fifth.

"We felt confident because they had their best guy going and we wanted him," said Slaughter, who has four homers this season. "We've been here twice and won both games to get to state. It's a very good environment because the fans are right on top of you. This game was a blessing from God."

Even Slaughter’s clothesline blast that went for a single banged off the right-field fence.

It was an awesome display of hitting prowess by the youngster.

"We had no answer for them tonight," Bradley coach Travis Adams said. "They were hitting pitches on the ground out of the park. I can't really say what we did or didn't do, but they hacked away at the plate and they don't get cheated. They've got some tough outs.

"That ball their kid hit out of the ballpark was a first-pitch curveball. It was a missile. I've seen maybe two balls to out to right because it just doesn't carry."

Stewarts Creek will have to be reckoned with at state if they keep up their smash-mouth offensive attack. The Red Hawks reached the title game in 2017, losing to Brentwood, 5-3.

"This has been our best offensive year," Red Hawks coach Mike Bartlett said. "Before we were dominantly a pitching and defense type team, with some clutch hitting. But now we're deep in our lineup from one to nine.

"And Sam is a strong kid and once he figures out his swing, and this sounds funny, but he's got some flaws. If he gets the barrel on the ball, just watch out."

Jacob Hamblen and pinch-hitter Logan Hanks in the fifth inning delivered three hits out of the No. 8 slot in the Red Hawks’ lineup. At No. 9, Jake Alexander went 2-for-4 and scored twice. Chase Vondohlen was 2-for-3 batting second behind Slaughter.

With so many players contributing at the plate, it was like Stewarts Creek used a carpet bombing assault on five Bradley pitchers.

When play resumed Saturday after heavy rain postponed the game Friday night, Bradley starter Riley Black got the final out of the first inning on one pitch.

Then Bradley got its first crack of the Red Hawks’ starting left-hander Aaron Moriarity.

Leadoff batter Dylan Standifer ripped a single to left field and Pete Williams followed with a hit. Caden Sherlin tried to bunt, but popped the ball up. Moriarity appeared to catch the ball, but dropped it. Alertly, he threw to third for a forceout and Bryson Givens fired to second to complete a double play.

Andy Bunch walked and Riley Black singled to center, but Sherlin was thrown out at third.

That took momentary Bradley momentum and buried it.

"I thought we'd have the bases loaded and no outs," Adams said. "If we could have done something there it would have been at least an answer to them. It's tough and I'm proud of these guys. We had a great year and they overachieved. Early in the year I don't think anybody was picking us to make much noise at all. They got hot and I ran with it. Tonight was a little more than we could handle."

The Red Hawks, who also beat Bradley, 1-0, in Cleveland for their first state tournament appearance in 2016, got a RBI double from Camden Manning on Friday in the top of the first inning.

After Slaughter's big bases-clearing double in the second, he belted the three-run homer in the third.

Stewarts Creek added two more runs in the fourth on Bryson Givens' single to center. In the fifth, the Red Hawks pushed the score to "mercy rule" territory with their second four-run outburst.

With the help of an error, Stewarts Creek scored on a bases-loaded walk, the second hit batsman, a sacrifice fly and a hit.

Moriarity checked the Bears on four hits. On Wednesday, they clobbered Cookeville 15-3 to earn a spot in the sectional.

"When you get run support like I did tonight, it gives you a lot of confidence," he said. "I just tried to put the ball in the strike zone and let the defense make plays. It was a big relief to get out of that first inning."

Said Bartlett of his lefty, "He pitches our second game against Jefferson County to get us into last year's championship game. He's had a couple of so-so outings, but that was him at his best tonight. He competes and throws strikes. That's the third big game he's won for us this year."

Linescore

Stewarts Creek        143 24 – 14 13 1

Bradley Central       002 00 – 2 4 1

Moriarity and Vondohlen; Black, Bunch (2), Thompson (4), Prock (5), Giovengo (5) and Taylor.

(Contact Larry Fleming at larryfleming44@gmail.com and on Twitter @larryfleming44) 


Lee Hosts Kay McDaniel Tennis Clinic

The 27th annual Kay McDaniel Summer Tennis Clinic, held at Lee University, concluded with nearly 400 participants. Children ages 6-13 came from 25 cities to learn from director Kay McDaniel and 43 other instructors. According to Ms. McDaniel, participants not only learned how to play tennis, but were taught life skills and Christian principles that will impact their lives off ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Area Swim League

CHATTANOOGA AREA SWIM LEAGUE BLUE DIVISION: 1. Ooltewah 5-0; 1. Stuart Heights 3-1; 3. Signal Mountain 3-2; 4. Dalton 1-4; 5. Calhoun 0-5. RED DIVISION: 1. Catoosa  4-0; 2. Country Club 4-1; 3. Fairyland 2-2; 4. Cleveland 1-3; 5. Big Ridge 0-5. WHITE DIVISION: 1. Red Bank and Waterdogs bot 4-1; 3. Ridgeside 2-3; 4. Cumberland 0-5.  TUESDAY'S RESULTS ... (click for more)

All School Board Members But Rhonda Thurman Approve Going Ahead With Equity Study

All County School Board members except Rhonda Thurman said Thursday afternoon they are in favor of pushing ahead with an equity study sought by new Supt. Bryan Johnson. Ms. Thurman said she was "tired of bullying tactics by outside groups" such as UnifiEd and Chattanooga 2.0. She said the 132 people who signed a letter in support of the study include people "with deep pockets" ... (click for more)

CARTA Set To Launch One Of Nation's 1st Full-Size All-Electric Transit Buses

ARTA has taken delivery on one of the nation's first full-size all-electric transit buses. Officials said the bus may be ready for the road in about two weeks after some final touchups, including adding a radio. Only one other city - in Washington state - has this type bus on the road. Chattanooga will be the first in the country with three of the models. Two others are ... (click for more)

The Boss, Claude Ramsey

I try not to overuse the word great, but we lost a great man today, Claude Ramsey. I had the pleasure of serving under him as director of Commercial and Industrial Properties for 14 years while he was the Hamilton County Assessor of Property. He was probably the smartest person I have ever known. He was tough but patient, kind, caring and compassionate. He knew how to get ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Not A Blessed One

When I read, to no great surprise, that 132 of Chattanooga’s “leaders” had signed a letter in support of “socioeconomic integration” in Thursday’s Times Free Press, there were two things that were immediately obvious to me: Not a blessed one would have (a) written such a letter on their personal stationery, and (b) not a blessed one would have ever voted for the current president ... (click for more)