published Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Sloppy Signal Mountain Eagles survive Chattanooga Christian School

Chattanooga Christian's Brandon Mason gets to second base on an error by Signal Mountain's Garrett Hensley Wednesday in the second inning of the District 7-AA baseball game at Signal Mountain.
Chattanooga Christian's Brandon Mason gets to second base on an error by Signal Mountain's Garrett Hensley Wednesday in the second inning of the District 7-AA baseball game at Signal Mountain.
Photo by Tim Barber.

The best thing for Signal Mountain on Wednesday afternoon was locking down its third straight District 7-AA baseball win.

One of the worst things the Eagles heard afterwards -- coach Bumper Reese had few, if any, kind words -- was that they would have an immediate after school practice this afternoon before hosting upstart Tyner at 6 in a Hurricane Classic opener.

"We had batting practice Sunday afternoon but we were off Saturday. We've played three days in a row, but it's been a while since we practiced," Reese said after deciding on the impromptu fieldwork.

The Eagles survived a sloppy slugfest with Chattanooga Christian, besting the Chargers 14-10 and it was likely the most frustrated Reese has been in his decades-long coaching career.

"This is the first time I've ever had a team score 14 runs and be a nervous wreck," he said. "This is the worst game we've played this season defensively. We pitched OK, and we got some hits."

The Eagles had a double-digit batting performance -- 10 hits including a 3-for-4 effort from Grant Hensley -- but were outhit by the Chargers (11).

However, as sloppy as Signal Mountain was, CCS was worse. The Chargers committed five errors to the Eagles' three.

"It was horrifyingly ugly but it was a huge conference win," Reese said.

Chargers coach Joel Johnson's team is now 10-4 and 7-2 in 7-AA with both losses coming to Signal Mountain.

"We did nothing to keep them from winning," he said. "Anything we could to do help them we did."

In addition to the eight errors, the teams' pitchers issued 12 free passes and threw six wild pitches while hitting two batters.

"I think [CCS and Signal] are normally two pretty good ball clubs. This game was not exactly stellar," Johnson said.

The Chargers fell behind 5-0 but tied it in the top of the second. Signal then proceeded to score seven runs in the bottom half of the inning with just three of them earned. CCS scratched across single runs in the third and fifth innings before getting back within striking distance with three in the sixth.

"That's one thing I really like about this team," Johnsons said. "They never give up, never think they're beat."

Contact Ward Gossett at wgossett@timesfreepress.com or 423-886-4765. Follow him at Twitter.com/wardgossett.

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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