After more than five decades as a player or coach, very little surprises Baylor baseball coach Gene Etter. For a guy who has seen or done most all of it, the veteran skipper was pleasantly surprised Tuesday.
His Red Raiders hit the ball well, especially in the middle of the lineup, and opened their season with 10 hits in a five-inning, 14-2 victory at Boyd-Buchanan.
"Oh, no, we haven't hit well at all," Etter said. "Our preseason games were all low-scoring, so this was a welcome sign."
Boyd-Buchanan pitchers struggled at times to find the strike zone and walked seven, but when they hit the strike zone, Baylor was ready.
"It was both," Buccaneers coach Josh Rider said. "They're a good team and they're going to win a lot of games. They had a plan and hit the ball hard."
Three of the Red Raiders -- No. 2 hitter Colton Jumper, No. 3 hitter John Tipton and No. 5 hitter Zach McKelvey -- had multiple hits. McKelvey was most impressive with a double and two singles bringing home three runs.
"He has definitely improved," Jumper said. "Zach's always been a sound first baseman, but he's also a big, strong guy that can hit it well."
Tipton matched McKelvey with his double and two singles and also stole a base, scored two runs and knocked in a couple.
Jumper was 2-for-2, stole a base and scored four runs although batting in the two-hole for the first time in his career.
"We were sound in the field but we got a lot of good preseason work," he said. "This was a good performance all around."
Jumper was one of five pitchers Etter employed as he readies the Red Raiders for the Scenic City Classic, which starts Thursday. Each got an inning of work. Buddy Lindsey had been penciled in as the starter but had to miss the game, so Etter went with a committee.
"It wasn't bullpens for the guys, but we want to make sure we're ready for this weekend's tournament," he 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 ...