Looking for a return to the Class A state baseball finals, Boyd-Buchanan wrapped up its second District 5-A championship Thursday, beating Grace Academy 10-0 on Clayton Parker’s five-inning no-hitter.
The Buccaneers didn’t get a hit until the fourth inning but led 2-0 and then broke the game open with six fifth-inning runs.
“Sometimes when you have played somebody three times and beat them, you tend to relax a little,” said Josh Rider, the former assistant in his first year as the Buccaneers’ head coach.
Grace, which came back through the losers bracket and eliminated regular-season runner-up Silverdale Baptist, never got its head above water, and coach Ruston Pierce isn’t sure the Golden Eagles ever will if Boyd-Buchanan’s in the other dugout.
Grace, 0-4 against the Bucs this year, will have to get through 6-A champion South Pittsburg on Monday to have another chance at Boyd-Buchanan — if the Bucs beat 6-A runner-up Marion County.
“I’d love another shot at them, but I’m not so sure they would,” Pierce said, flipping a thumb in the direction of his players.
Pierce was somewhat disgusted.
“They don’t believe they can beat [Boyd-Buchanan]. We wasted a phenomenal effort by a kid out there throwing his guts out,” he said.
The Golden Eagles’ Trey Sartain hadn’t thrown in a month, but the sidearm-delivering righty definitely had the Bucs’ number until he tired.
“Their pitcher was very effective, and we were fortunate that they kicked a couple around a little bit,” Rider observed.
“I can only hope we played this way today because they were looking ahead to Monday,” he said.
To be fair, Grace ran into a buzzsaw. Parker (7-0) walked two and hit another to load the bases in the first inning but struck out the next two to escape his self-constructed jam.
“As always, he battled, although this wasn’t his best outing,” Rider said. “It was good to get him out there and to see him work out of some jams.”
The junior struck out five and had the Golden Eagles popping up or pounding the ball into the ground, mostly with fastballs up and down and in and out of the strike zone.
“He was throwing 88-89 [mph] in the first inning and couldn’t locate the strike zone,” said Clay Parker, his father and the Bucs’ pitching coach. “He backed off a little and settled in.”
Parker missed a good portion of the season with a torn post collateral ligament in his knee.
“He’s just now getting into midseason form. When he came back, he was pitching just an inning or two at a time,” Rider said.
John Hale and Austin Bailey had two-run singles for the Bucs. Hale also stole two bases.
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 ...