Bradley Punches Ticket To The Boro; Bears Down Riverdale, 8-2

Bradley Bats Boom In 4-AAAA Sectional Win

  • Friday, May 17, 2024
  • Joe Cannon
CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- The Bradley Central baseball Bears will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the program's only TSSAA State Championship with a return trip to the Spring Fling after ripping through seventh-ranked Riverdale Friday afternoon.

 

Punching their 10th ticket to a State Championship tournament, "Papa Bear" Travis Adams, who was the starting shortstop on the 1994 state tile run, watched his 17th-ranked Bears
roar past the Warriors 8-2 to earn the return trip.

 

"So proud of our boys and coaches!, proclaimed Coach Adams. "What a great environment to play in! Ethan Wilds really stepped up when it was his time and Brody Casteel closing was clutch as well," he praised his pitching combo."

 

"We had several big hits throughout the line up by everyone! Looking back at how we started the season (0-5) to where we are now (28-8) is a testimony to how hard the boys work and really how our assistant coaches work as well," the Bear mentor remarked.

 

"Proud' is the only word I can come up with now. They (the players) love each other and it’s a special group for sure. I tell every team each year that each team has an opportunity to make a mark on Bradley baseball history and this group is making their own!"

 

Ironically each winning teams in the best-of-3 series put eight runs on the scoreboard.
After getting just one hit while being shutout 8-0 in Thursday's opener, Bradley bounced back for an 8-4 win in the nightcap to force Friday's finale.

 

The Bears will now prepare to open the Class 4A State Championship Tuesday at 7:30 against second-ranked Arlington (31-5), at Oakland High School in Murfreesboro. Bradley and the Tigers are in the same end of the bracket with 12th-ranked Nolensville (31-9) and Oak Ridge (27-14-1).

 

The other end of the tournament has top-ranked Farragut (36-5) taking on No. 24 Beech (25-16), while fourth-ranked Clarksville (38-9) awaits the winner of the Cleveland (24-13) and No. 10 Siegel (31-12) series, which was in Game 2 at presstime.

 

After a heartbreaking 3-2, nine-inning loss on Thursday, the Blue Raiders need to shoot down the Stars today and again on Saturday to their fifth Spring Fling. In their previous state tournaments the Bears had runner-up finishes in 1980, '91 and their latest in 2019. Bradley finished third in 1993, fourth in 1983, '60 and '61, plus in the Top 5 in 2007.
 
BEARS 8, WARRIORS 2

 

While Wilds shutout the Riverdale bats for the first five frames, allowing just two hits, the Bradley bats got started early and continued to hit throughout the contest. The Bears opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second when Cleveland State signee Hank Adma and junior Spane Bristol laced back-to-back one-out singles.

 

Northwestern football signee Tito Williams brought the pair when he toasted the Warrior right fielder for an opposite-field triple. Sophomore Tyler Cook tacked on a big solo home run just inside the left field foul pole in the fourth and sliced a two-run double between the Riverdale first baseman and the bag as part of a five-run fifth.

 

Junior Colby Stott opened the 5-spot with a double and after a one-out intentional walk to Lee University signee Alex Brew, junior Jaxon Humble stroked a RBI singles. After UTC football signee Luke Keith drew a walk, Cook delivered his two-bagger. The younger Adams added a run-scoring single to cap the rally.

 

After back-to-back singles to open the top of the sixth, a Bear error allowed Riverdale (38-12) to get its goose egg off the board on a pair of bases-loaded walks. Casteel came on in a bases-loaded situation and nobody out in the sixth and after struggling a little with the two freebies, settled down to strike out four of the final six Warrior batters, plus senior right fielder Teigan Cassada made his second tremendous catch of a shot over hit head in the seventh frame.

 

Hank Adams went 3-for-3 at the dish, driving in a run and scoring once, while Cook was 2-for-3 with his dinger and double for a trio of "ribbies" and two runs scored.

 

Game Summary
TSSAA Sectionals
at McKenzie Baseball Complex

 

Riverdale                  000     002    0 — 2  5  1
Bradley Central        020     150    x — 8  9  2
 Morton, Pugh (5), Mathews (5) and Nichols; Wilds, Casteel (6) and Stott.
WP: Ethan Wilds. LP: Hayden Morton. HR: Tyler Cook (BC). 3B: Tito Williams (BC). 2B: Colby Stott, Cook (BC). RBI: Liam Goodhart, Jaxon Pridgen (R); Cook 3, Williams 2, JaxonHumble, Hank Adams (BC). Records: Riverdale 38-12; Bradley Central 28-8.

 

(Contct Joe Cannon at joe.cannon@clevelandbanner.com)

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