Brentwood Academy jumped to a five-run lead, but Eagles baseball coach Buddy Alexander didn't think that was enough with his team playing Baylor at Baylor.
Neither did the Baylor reserves, and they were right. The Red Raiders rallied to win 8-7 and earn a berth in the TSSAA Division II state tournament this week in Murfreesboro.
"Morale was slipping, and then we got two walks and a couple of swinging bunts. The non-starters got into it and then everybody got up," Baylor catcher Spencer Craig said.
"I was glad to get a five-run start, but I didn't think it was enough," Alexander said. "I knew it would take every run we could get."
The Red Raiders scrambled back, finally taking a 7-6 lead in the fifth inning on Craig's sacrifice fly to right field, making a winner of Brandon Robertson, who had just been cleared by doctors from a shoulder injury and pitched a three-inning relief stint.
"It's the first time he's been able to pitch in a long time. He just hasn't been able to throw," veteran coach Gene Etter said.
Etter then turned it over to pitching surprise John Tipton, who pitched the final two innings for the team's 21st win. He got the first-game win in Friday's doubleheader split.
"Seeing Tipton on the mound the last few weeks with a lead of any kind makes us feel good about it," Etter said.
Tipton had not been penciled in as a pitcher early in the year, but injuries forced Etter's hand.
"Up till the third inning we hadn't been hitting. After that inning [when the Raiders scored four], I knew the bats were coming alive," Tipton said.
In the third, Baylor's Will Crimmins walked and Jackson Cooper was hit by a pitch. Colton Jumper's infield single loaded the bases, and Taylor Maxey's fielder's choice brought in the first run. Tipton got an RBI single, one run scored on an error at the plate and Robertson plated another with a groundout.
The Raiders tied the game in the fifth when Crimmins singled and stole second. Cooper then singled, and when he stole second, Crimmins sailed home.
Baylor got the lead on a fifth-inning hit by Hunter Holland and Craig's fly and added a big insurance run when Jumper led off the sixth with a double and was sacrificed to third by Maxey before Lindsey's looping single into right field.
Brentwood Academy starting pitcher Hunter Wood went 2-for-3 with a double.
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 ...