Temperatures were in the 70s. The sun was shining.
It was an atypical day for Hixson’s annual Wildcat Classic baseball tournament, which often in the past has been played through temperatures in the 40s and drizzling rain.
Red Bank slept through its first game Saturday, falling 7-1 to Sequatchie County, and didn’t really come to life until the seventh inning of its second game when the Lions scored four runs to edge Boyd-Buchanan 7-5.
Even with District 6-AA games Monday and Tuesday, the win likely saved the Lions from a Sunday practice.
Red Bank got off to a good start with season-opening wins over Central on Monday and Tuesday but since has struggled to halve its next four games.
“I don’t know if it is a matter of them getting back down to earth. I think it’s a little harder than they thought it would be,” said perplexed Red Bank coach Trey Hicks, who was disgruntled despite the comeback. “The kids have to learn to push over the hump whether it’s a tough game or a bad day. I can’t do it for them.”
Tyler Stott struck out two in the third inning and was close to escaping a bases-loaded jam, but Andrew Peace wouldn’t let him. Peace chased home two runs with a single to center. Red Bank tied it in the fourth on a single to right field from Ryder Pierce, but Boyd-Buchanan took the lead again in the bottom of the sixth. John Hale got his first hit of the day, a single to right, to score two Buccaneers.
The Lions then scored four in the top of the seventh, thanks to a couple of Bucs miscues, and Bryson Burnette pitched out of a bases-loaded jam to get his first win of the season. Burnette opened with two saves.
“It looked like a picture-perfect game going into the seventh inning, but we have them some extra outs and they took advantage,” Boyd-Buchanan coach Josh Rider said.
Bradley Central and East Hamilton will play for the championship at 2 p.m. today at Hixson.
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 ...