Cole Brand gave up his first home run as a pro pitcher Saturday.
“He hit it 500 feet. It sounded like a rifle shot. I didn’t even turn around. I think I asked the umpire for another ball before it got out of the infield. That’s how sure I was that it was gone,” said Brand, the former Bradley Central pitcher who’s in his second season with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Brand said the home run wouldn’t count against him because it was an extended spring game. He didn’t even bother to get the guy’s name.
“All I know is that he was a [Class] AA guy down here on a rehab assignment,” he said.
Brand is again working as a reliever. Cardinals brass feel he has more of a closer mentality and like the fact that he has a fast tempo (between pitches).
“I’m working on what they tell me to work on, primarily my off-speed stuff. They want it breaking through the zone rather than into the zone,” he said.
He saw one pitching chart where a coach had clocked him at 95 mph and another coach told him he had hit 96.
“I hump up every now and then just to show I have it,” he said.
5-AAA schedule set
While most of the others have scheduling meetings this week, District 5-AAA’s schedule is set. The tournament will be played at Walker Valley.
There are two games on Thursday with Cleveland, Bradley Central, McMinn County and Rhea County playing to see who will advance to a best 2-of-3 against regular season champion Soddy-Daisy. The other best 2-of-3 is set with Walker Valley to meet Ooltewah.
On Thursday Cleveland will play Bradley at 5 and Rhea meeting McMinn at 8 in single-elimination games. The winners will then meet on Friday with that winner advancing to play Soddy-Daisy at 1 p.m. Saturday. The first Ooltewah-Walker Valley game is to begin at 4.
Cleveland’s Murray still available
Some recruiters have looked at versatile Cleveland standout Derek Murray but he has yet to receive any offers.
The 6-foot-2 senior is the Blue Raiders’ No. 3-hole hitter and was hitting better than .350 at last report. He has played catcher, first base and third base in addition to pitching.
Jumper leaps into picture
Sophomore Colton Jumper is now in the Baylor pitching mix after getting his first start over the weekend in a series with Father Ryan.
Jumper got the call in the Raiders’ 24th game of the year and threw 5 1/3 innings of shutout ball as the Red Raiders took two wins in their three-game series at Father Ryan.
Meigs surprise costs Polk
Meigs County pulled off an upset Saturday, winning at Polk County. The 3-2 victory puts Polk County on the road for a first-round game in the District 5-AA tournament.
Meigs will host Sweetwater at 5 in a single-elimination game with the winner then traveling to top seed Sequoyah for a 1 p.m. Saturday game. Defending champion Polk, which finished third, will play at McMinn Central at 1.
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 ...