Versatile senior John Rhodes can impact a baseball game in multiple ways.
Thursday’s Chattanooga Christian game against host Soddy-Daisy in the Ooltewah Invitational was a perfect example.
Rhodes started his team’s scoring in the first inning and ended it with alert baserunning in the seventh as the Chargers came away with a 4-3 victory over the Trojans.
“Baseball is a tough game,” said Rhodes, who was a Mr. Baseball finalist his junior year and has signed a Southeastern Conference scholarship with Kentucky. “Different games have different things happen. Sometimes you get walked and then it’s just getting to the next base. Any way you can cross the plate to help the team’s that’s what you’re looking for.”
The Chargers (4-2) had a 3-1 lead but Soddy-Daisy scored twice in the fourth inning and the game was tied at 3-all after six innings.
Soddy-Daisy’s Hunter Ward, who threw 4 1/3 innings of one-hit relief for starter Garrett Dent, quickly got two outs by retiring Weston Gilbert on a grounder to third and Taylor Arnand on a line drive to short.
Amos Davenport, the Chargers’ starting pitcher, singled to center and Rhodes steamed into third. The throw from center-fielder Spencer Gore was off the mark at second base. Rhodes saw the ball skip away and raced home for what turned out to be the winning.
“John can impact a game in many ways,” Chargers coach Ben Wharton said. “He plays outfield, pitches and plays some shortstop for us. Obviously, there in the seventh there are two out wit nobody on base and they intentionally walk him. Sometimes even when he does nothing, he can impact the game. He’s a big part of our team.”
CCS left-fielder Chase McBryar flied out to center to end in the inning.
Rhodes came on in relief to face Soddy-Daisy’s Gore, who drew a walk and stole second. Shortstop Landon Maynor struck out and second baseman Jacob Jennings grounded out, with Gore winding up at third.
The Trojans’ Harrison Travis was intentionally walked. Rhodes fanned Hayden Maynor to end the game as the game neared the 2-hour, 15-minute time limit.
Soddy-Daisy coach Jim Higgins, who said prior to the game that Rhodes was “the real deal and has been that way since he was really young,” looked back at the key play that led to the Chargers’ game-winning run.
“(Rhodes) winds up scoring because our center fielder can’t hit the cut-off man,” Higgins said. “Little things matter across the board. Baseball will tell on you in a hurry if you don’t play together as a team. We got told on and that’s all right. It’s early in the season and we need to learn these lessons and get better.”
Rhodes hit the second pitch from Dent for a double to right-center field in the first inning. He stole third and scored on Colt Sinor’s groundout.
In the second, McBryar and Sinor, both of whom walked, came around to score on two wild pitches.
Soddy-Daisy, which got a game-tying run in the second when Hayden Maynor walked, stole second and went to third on an error when shortstop Arnand, backing up second base, let the ball get past him and rolled into center field.
The Trojans loaded the bases in the fourth and Zane Guess singled deep in the hole between first and second and courtesy runner Dylan Caldwell scored on the hit and when the ball was kicked into right field, Hayden Maynor came around to score, tying the game at 3-3.
“I thought Davenport pitched a heck of a game in his first start of the year,” Wharton said. “Sinor came in and did a great job for two innings and any time we can get the ball to John in the last inning we’re confident that we can finish the game.
“We didn’t swing the bats as well as I’d like today, but we took advantage of some of their mistakes and scored some runs when we maybe shouldn’t have scored. We put some pressure on Soddy-Daisy. Our guys did things the right way and I’m proud of the way they fought and battled.”
Davenport gave up four hits, three runs and struck out four and walked four in four innings. Sinor worked two innings and put up zeroes except for two walks. Rhodes, in one inning, struck out two and walked two.
Dent was roughed up for three runs on four hits in 2 2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked four. Ward worked the final 4 1/3 innings and gave up one unearned run while fanning two and walking one.
Chattanooga Christian 102 000 1 – 4 3 2
Soddy-Daisy 010 200 0 – 3 4 1
Davenport, Sinor (5), Rhodes (7) and Gilbert; Dent, Ward (3) and H. Maynor.
Soddy-Daisy 4, Silverdale 2: The Trojans bounced back in the second game at Tom Higgins Field, scoring three runs in the fourth inning and relying on a combined five-hitter by Wyatt Warren and Zane Guess to edge the Seahawks.
Jacob Jennings, Harrison Travis and Hayden Maynor each singled in the fourth inning. Jennings scored on an error, Travis stole home and Maynor on Noah Ferguson’s single to center field.
Soddy-Daisy’s fourth run came in the fifth when Spencer Gore was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on Jennings’ two-out single.
The Seahawks scored twice in the fifth on an error and C. Delashmitt’s single.
Silverdale 000 020 0 – 2 5 2
Soddy-Daisy 000 310 x – 4 6 4
T. Junkins and Clift; Warren, Guess (6) and Travis
Ooltewah 10, Brindlee Mountain 0: Austin Aaron threw a five-inning two-hit shutout as the Owls rolled past the visitors from Guntersville, Alabama.
Aaron threw 57 pitches and 45 in the strike zone. He struck out eight and walked none.
Eight different Ooltewah players collected one hit apiece and Chris Bayne and Tyler Phillips each had two RBIs. Phillips also scored twice.
Brindlee’s Shaw (no first name available) had both hits off Aaron.
Ooltewah 16, Warren County 8: The Owls and Pioneers hooked up for a four-plus inning slugfest. When it was over, the two teams combined for 24 runs and 38 hits.
Three Owls – Jacob Robinson, Trevor Dunlevy and Chris Bayne each had three hits. Bayne drove in three runs and Dunlevy two.
Payton Keiser, Colby Taylor, Tyler Phillips and Kael Williams collected two hits and Taylor had three RBIs.
Ooltewah raked the Warren County starting pitcher for 11 hits and 12 runs with 10 being earned.
Robinson pitched 3 1/3 innings for the Owls, giving up six hits, five runs – four were earned – and struck out two and walked two. Steven McHone finished up and yielded five hits, three runs and fanned one and walked three.
Warren County 110 33 – 8 11 3
Ooltewah 205 81 – 16 17 1
Ward, Melton (4), Rivers (4) and Bottoms; Robinson, McHone (4) and Wells
Bradley Central 12, Brindlee Mountain 0: Riley Black, Jake Thompson and Ashton Simmons combined to throw a five-inning no-hitter against the Lions.
Riley worked two innings and struck out five and walked two in his short stint on the mound.
Thompson pitched the third, striking out one and walking one.
Simmons threw the final two innings and fanned three and walked none. The threesome combined to throw 65 pitches with 43 strikes.
Thompson went 2 for 2 at the plate, including a home run, and drove in three runs. He also scored twice. Eight other Bears collected singles.
Brindlee Mountain 000 00 – 0 0 1
Bradley Central 650 1x – 12 10 0
Knepper, Compton (4) and Riddle; Black, Thompson (3), Simmons (4) and Standifer
(Contact Larry Fleming at email@example.com and on Twitter @larryfleming44)