The Chattanooga Lookouts are finishing games whenever they can these days.
C.J. Retherford's two-out single to left field in the bottom of the 11th inning scored Blake Smith and Anthony Jackson to propel the Lookouts to a 12-11 victory over the Tennessee Smokies on a steamy Sunday afternoon at AT&T Field.
Chattanooga's fifth straight victory was a completion of Saturday night's contest that was halted by thunderstorms after seven innings with the game deadlocked at 8.
"Everybody wants to play, and I think that's the key," Retherford said after being mobbed by teammates. "Nobody wants to go home. Even when it's raining, everybody is ready for them to call it back on."
Chattanooga defeated Tennessee 4-1 Friday night in a game rain ended after eight innings.
The Lookouts went after their sixth consecutive triumph in Sunday's regularly scheduled game, but the Smokies rolled to an 8-4 win. Chattanooga is now 18-12 in the Southern League's second-half race and 50-48 overall this season.
Retherford's heroics in the suspended game followed a Logan Watkins RBI single up the middle in the top of the 11th that provided Tennessee an 11-10 lead. Kyle Russell flied out and Griff Erickson grounded out to put Chattanooga on the brink of defeat, but Smokies relief pitcher Casey Harman allowed a single to Smith and walked Jackson and Matt Wallach to load the bases for Retherford.
Tennessee had taken a 7-0 lead Saturday night before the Lookouts roared back to tie, and the Smokies went ahead Sunday with a two-run 10th inning on Chad Noble's pinch-hit bloop single to right that scored Watkins and Jae-Hoon Ha. The Lookouts extended the game in the 10th when Rafael Ynoa singled to right to score Smith and Jackson.
"We don't give up," said Retherford, who has played previously at AT&T with Birmingham and Mississippi. "They scored seven and then we got to seven. They scored and we scored. Everybody just fights, fights, fights."
Ethan Martin was the Lookouts' starting pitcher in the scheduled game and struck out five in three innings, but he gave up two runs in the fourth and four in the sixth. Michael Burgess and Junior Lake each doubled in the sixth for the Smokies, combining for three RBIs.
Amazingly after this past week, the storms stayed away.
"The weather here has been crazy lately," Lookouts reliever Steven Ames said. "It seems like it's sunny every morning and something comes out of nowhere later in the day."
Said Retherford: "These storms won't be on the radar, but they show up."
Chattanooga is off today and hosts Birmingham on Tuesday night. Matt Magill (8-4, 4.06 ERA) is scheduled to start the opener on the mound for the Lookouts, with Cameron Bayne (7-9, 6.37) scheduled for the Barons.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...