published Sunday, March 31st, 2013

Boyd-Buchanan Bucs win rain-hampered title

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    Boyd-Buchanan's Nathan Murrell stands at third base in the rain as spectators gather under shelter behind during their Lookout Valley Yellow Jacket Baseball Classic game against South Pittsburg on in Chattanooga. The game was called because of rain.
    Photo by Doug Strickland.
    enlarge photo

Like most teams in the Chattanooga area, Boyd-Buchanan has had its fill of cold and inclement weather.

The Buccaneers baseball team certainly didn't want to see it Saturday after ringing up three consecutive wins in Lookout Valley's Yellow Jacket Classic.

Mother Nature couldn't have cared less and her steady showers canceled the Bucs' chances to win the tournament outright.

"Well, I guess we won it by default," Bucs coach Josh Rider told his team once umpires called the game with South Pittsburg in the top of the second inning.

Actually, the Bucs would have had to lose to the Pirates -- and by seven runs -- to squander the championship. If that had happened, and South Pittsburg was down to fumes in its pitching staff, then Franklin Road Academy, a Buccaneers victim early in the tournament, would have won the title on run differential.

Boyd-Buchanan wanted this one to go on to further flush the ill effects of a slower than anticipated start to the season. The three-game tournament streak lifted them above .500 and they left Lookout Valley two games above .500 at 6-4.

"The pitcher has been good most of the way, but we hadn't played great defense and our offense had been lacking," Rider said. "We're finally playing like I had envisioned."

Part of the reason for the slow start could have been injuries. Veteran John Hale had been slow to come around after ankle surgery from an injury sustained in football season and catcher Thatcher Smith is still relegated to pinch- and courtesy-running due to a broken wrist. Hale got his first stolen base Saturday before the game was called and Rider is confident that Smith will be cleared this week, which could bolster his outfield and his catching while adding another bat to the lineup. "It will give us two good catchers and he can help in the outfield," the coach said of Smith, who may share duties behind the plate with Reid Smith.

The Buccaneers open District 5-A play Monday at Arts & Sciences.

In a surprise game earlier in the day, host Lookout Valley's Levi Wallace limited powerful Rockwood to just six hits and two runs. Rockwood entered the tournament leading the state in runs scored.

Boyd-Buchanan's Nathan Murrell led the all-tournament team as its MVP. He was joined by Buccaneers teammates Hunter Payne, Jim Cardwell and Colter Parker, South Pittsburg's Tyler Reed and Jake Stone, Rockwood's Tyler McGill, Lookout Valley's Levi Wallace and Franklin Road Academy's Joe Mattson, Keeling Hunter and Matt Hissong.

Contact Ward Gossett at wgossett@timesfreepress.com or 423-886-4765.

about Ward Gossett...

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 ...

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