A tournament is often an opportune time for coaches to get a look at their future, and Signal Mountain's Bumper Reese had to like what he saw Saturday.
Pushing for a third-place finish in the Hurricane Classic, Reese turned to Lee Nagle and the freshman left-hander picked up his first varsity baseball victory in the Eagles' 11-3 win over Grace Academy at Grace.
"It was his first varsity start, and he also got his first varsity hit," Reese said.
That second-inning single also gave Nagle his first RBI.
"The kid's one solid little muscle. He may not weigh 150 pounds, but he gives you everything he's got," the coach added. "He wants to be a Navy SEAL, and I'd bet money he makes it."
Nagle gave up five hits and two earned runs in five innings of work. He struck out three and walked only one.
The tournament lost its Thursday games due to inclement weather, so the championship was based on points and was nailed down early Saturday by Silverdale Baptist Academy, which was unbeaten in its four games.
"The weather turned off good and that was a plus," said Steve Garland, coach of official tournament host East Hamilton. "Congratulations to Silverdale. They have a good club; and thanks to Silverdale and Grace for hosting the tournament. Hopefully we'll be able to host the tournament on our own field next year."
The Hurricanes are still without a home facility and again are playing their home games at East Brainerd Youth Association, Ooltewah Youth Association or Chattanooga State.
Signal Mountain's team was bone weary when it left the field Saturday evening, having played back-to-back doubleheaders for the first time this season. But the Eagles, a streaky bunch this year, started another win streak with the victory over Grace, which followed a 10-0 pummeling at the hands of East Hamilton.
"We started off with four losses, came back to win nine in a row, then lost three before we won one and then lost to East Hamilton," Reese said. "I'm sure the guys are tired, but our game better get better quickly."
Signal plays Chattanooga Christian on Monday and Tuesday with at least a share of the District 7-AA championship on the line.
Players named to the all-tournament team were Silverdale's Spencer Mossburg (MVP), Colton Rogers, Joey Szollosi and Josh Bankston; East Hamilton's Hunter Smith, Landon Pauls and Nic Auger; Signal Mountain's Chris Feemster and Charlie Trageser; Sale Creek's Zack Pugh; and Grace's Austin Powell.
Powell and Dave Jensen had two hits each in the final game Saturday, while Feemster led the Eagles by going 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Contact Ward Gossett at firstname.lastname@example.org 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 ...