Lookouts Beat Shuckers (And The Clock), 7-6

Tuesday, June 14, 2022 - by Joseph Dycus

While the jewelbox of a stadium next to the river shone bright, the surrounding area lay in darkness. An undercurrent of tension ran through the final few innings of Chattanooga’s 7-6 win over the Biloxi Shuckers, as team GM Rich Mozingo said power could go out at the stadium at any moment. A transformer had exploded nearby at Broad Street and Aquarium way, knocking out power for surrounding areas. 


“It was kind of hectic, because we saw a fire outside the stadium and it was getting weird,” infielder Ivan Johnson said.

“Things were getting smokey. I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m trying to get out of here as qu”


Smoke was just beginning to billow when the game began. Brandon Knarr was a gamer of a lefthanded hurler, but the Lookouts weren’t fooled by anything he threw in the first inning. Things started decently enough, with Mike Siani fouling out. Matt McLain laced a single into left to kick things off, and then Isiah Gilliam grounded out to cancel out that single. 


Getting that elusive third out proved to be quite the task for Knarr though. First was a Michael De Leon grounder into left field, and then a TJ Hopkins low grounder into center to score Gilliam. Next was recent callup Alex McGarry, who once again singled to left, scoring De Leon to make it 2-0. 


Ivan Johnson capped off the four-run first in style. He got a hold of a Knarr offering and drove it into right. Hopkins and McGarry both crossed home plate as Johnson motored along the basepaths. It wasn’t until he got to third and slid around the tag that he stopped with a triple. 


“I was just trying to get a couple of bases, but I saw him bobble it in right field,” Johnson said. “So I just kept going.”


Brandon Williamson carved through some innings, but his inability to throw strikes also bit him in the butt at times. He walked three through three innings and only struck out one, relying on contact and sure gloves to get outs. Things unravelled in the fourth, as Tristen Lutz doubled, Thomas Dillard walked, and Brent Diaz drove in Lutz with a single into left. 


Later in the inning, Williamson balked runners over to second and third. Matt McClain didn’t help Williamson’s cause when he muffed what would generously deemed a Yelson Coca single to short to help another run go across the plate. Regardless, Williamson got yanked for a fresher Michael Byrne with one out in the fourth. 


McLain was handed a bad hop on another Biloxi single to short, with the ball bouncing over his head and into the outfield grass for the Shuckers’ third run of the game. In the bottom of the fourth, James Free got two of those runs back in grand fashion.


Smoke from the nearby fire, along with crushing humidity and unrelenting heat, gave the impression Free’s bat was made of fire and brimstone. One could almost see sparks flying off it as he belted a two-run homer 396 feet over the wall to put the Lookouts back up 6-3. 


Byrne’s fifth inning was far more turbulent than his first, and once again McLain gave up a hit on what was probably a playable ground ball. A wild pitch scored a runner a few seconds later to cut the Lookouts’ lead to two runs. Cam Devanney then popped a flyball to center to score another, and Byrne got a visit from pitching coach Rob Wooten. 


Righthanded reliever Pedro Garcia was far more successful, afterward, throwing two scoreless innings and striking out two. After him came flamethrower Julio Pinto, who gave up a RBI double to the powerful Joey Wiemer to tie the game. But that was all the damage done by the Shuckers.


The Lookouts got one hard-earned run to win the game in the bottom of the inning. First Urbaez singled to right, and then James Free slapped a grounder through a gap with a full count. After Siani fouled out, Matt McLain loaded the bases with a fullcout walk to load the bases.


Isiah Gilliam, for the third Lookout in a row, got the Biloxi pitcher to throw three balls and two strikes. He laid off the all-important final pitch, and he walked in the game-winning run. Ricky Karcher got through the ninth as the Lookouts exited the stadium with the lights still on.




SHUCKERS        000 320 010 – 6  12  1

LOOKOUTS        400 200 01X – 7  12  1






Do you have an opinion on this article, or have a story you believe needs coverage? You can contact the author at Joseph.A.Dycus@gmail.com or on Twitter at @joseph_dycus.

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