Bradley Central needed help going into its Tuesday night game with newly crowned District 5-AAA champion Ooltewah.
The Bears, in a battle for the district's No. 3 tournament seed with an outside shot at No. 2, didn't expect that help to come from the host Owls, however.
After enduring nine hit batsmen and earning nine walks, however, Bradley left Ooltewah with another mark in the win column and an unexpected 14-5 victory.
"I've never been involved in a game like that with a quality opponent," Bradley coach Travis Adams said. "I mean, here we are in the top of the sixth battling to tie it up and then we get the lead [3-2 in the seventh] and it was all of a sudden their wheels fall off."
The Bears sent 19 men to the plate in the seventh inning and scored 13 runs on seven hit batters, five walks and just four hits. It took 38 minutes to play the half-inning.
There will be little time for celebration. While Ooltewah has completed its district schedule, Bradley still has games Monday and Tuesday with Rhea County.
"This one is history. Celebration? Not very long," Adams said.
Ooltewah appeared to have the game in hand with Jackson McClain giving up just two hits -- one of the infield variety -- and two runs. He departed after the fourth, though, due to a pregame decision, giving way to Kevin Dupree.
"It's a shame we messed it up for Jackson," Ooltewah coach Brian Hitchcox said. "We left the bases loaded a couple of times -- didn't give him much offensive support -- and then you feel like you're in pretty good shape relieving him with a Division I [Middle Tennessee State] signee. It just didn't work out."
Dupree, who went two innings, was charged with three earned runs, but it was just the tip of the iceberg. Four teammates followed him to the mound and surrendered 11 earned runs in the top of the seventh.
Bradley center fielder Cal Pickel, the Bears' No. 8 hitter, had three RBIs, and each came when he was hit by a pitch. It was simply that kind of night for the Owls, who did get a three-run homer from Dupree in the bottom of the seventh to close the gap to 14-5.
"Our mode of operation is that we pitch it pretty good, play defense pretty good and we're inconsistent offensively," Hitchcox said.
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 ...