Signal Mountain broke out new jerseys Monday afternoon, but coach Bumper Reese may be tempted to send them back.
One of the more superstitious coaches in area high school baseball, Reese might have been using the new shirts to break a string of jinxes that had left the Eagles with a 6-7-1 record entering their District 7-AA game against Notre Dame.
It was, though, neither jinx nor luck of the Irish that led to Notre Dame's 5-2 win.
"They executed and we didn't," said Reese, whose club will host the same Irish at 5 this afternoon.
"It's like in the bottom of the sixth when they scored their [fifth] run. They try to move a runner over to third on a bunt. The guy didn't get the bunt down, but he hit [a two-strike pitch] to the right side, so they still accomplished what they wanted."
Josh Moore, who had led off with a double to left-center field, then scored when a throw home was mishandled.
The guy who got Moore to third was Chase White, who had a sacrifice bunt in the fourth. He finished 0-for-2 but had, in baseball lingo, two quality at-bats in three appearances.
White also was the winning pitcher, going the distance with nine strikeouts. He allowed one hit through the first four innings and finished with a five-hitter. He got better support than his counterpart -- Reese's son, Braxton, who also had a five-hitter.
Both of the Eagles' runs were earned -- one a solo homer by Sam Boyette -- but just when it looked like Signal had him on the ropes, White gritted his teeth and came up big.
"We were probably one hit away from running him out of the game. They had a guy warmed up," Reese said.
The Eagles loaded the bases in the sixth and Boyette, who was 2-for-2, worked White for a walk that brought in his team's second run. However, White, who already had one strikeout in the inning, struck out two Eagles to end the rally.
"He thrives on moments like that," Notre Dame coach George Oleksik said.
The Irish jumped ahead on the first pitch of the game when Nick Chambers homered just to the right of the scoreboard in center field. Pat Ward was hit by a pitch and came around to score in the third and hit a two-run single in the fifth.
The win keeps Notre Dame close in the 7-AA race although first may be out of the question after the Irish dropped two games to current leader Sequatchie County last week.
"I'd say [first] is out of reach, at least for us. Sequatchie would have to lose at least three and us win out," Oleksik said.
The Irish are at least tied for second with Grundy County, whom they'll face later this month.
Contact Ward Gossett at email@example.com or 423-886-4765.
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...