Experienced pitching was at a premium to begin the season at Central, but beyond Brandon Davis, coach Glen Carter didn't know for sure where he was going to turn.
Then possible starter Colton Morgan suffered a severely sprained ankle two days after team tryouts.
Another possible pitcher, Dominique Brown, who is primarily a center fielder, suffered a sliced finger on the play at the plate when he got stepped on accidently by the opposing catcher.
"They super-glued it because they wasn't enough skin there to do stitches," Carter said. "Still, he looked like he had a lollipop stuck to his finger."
But there was, in a dark sort of way, some fortune for the Pounders staff. Michael Holland, who'd been sidelined already with a fracture of the middle finger on his pitching hand, was headed for home after Central's win over East Hamilton early last week.
"He swerved to avoid a deer, hit the shoulder of the road and his car flipped back to front two or three times," Carter said.
Holland walked away from the wreck with just a few scratches.
"Doctors told him he had a concussion and that he'd miss a couple of weeks but that's nothing when you think what might have been," the coach said.
Central remains in the thick of the 6-AA race, which figures to come down to the Pounders, Red Bank and East Hamilton.
Whitley at Hixson
Drew Whitley has assumed the duties of pitching coach at Hixson, which is coached by Ted Mulder.
Whitley was most recently head coach at Tennessee Temple University.
"I'm glad to have any help, but I'm really glad to have somebody that has baseball knowledge," Mulder said. "He already he has taught the kids some different aspects of the game. He has taken a burden off of me, and his joining us has allowed me to do some other things. To have somebody with baseball knowledge fall in our laps was great for us."
Berea, Ohio and an Illinois team (Walther Lutheran) will join the Central Invitational field when the tournament begins Thursday.
Chattanooga area teams joining the host Purple Pounders are Hixson, which will help host the tournament; East Ridge, Cleveland, East Hamilton, Signal Mountain, South Pittsburg and Hamilton Heights. The top teams in each pool will advance to a 2 p.m. championship Sunday at Central.
Greg Bartley looking
Greg Bartley, who was named to succeed Whitley when he was relieved of his duties at Temple, is putting a special recruiting emphasis on local athletes with strong Christian principals.
The ex-Chattanooga Lookout and former head coach at Sequatchie County said he knows there is plenty of talent in the Chattanooga area and he intends to be out finding it.
Winner East Hamilton had three all-tournament picks plus VMP Logan Templeton in last week's Wildcat Classic at Hixson. The Hurricanes' all-tournament team members were Brandon Williams, Patrick Parris and Hayden Williams. Kody Ward, Jacob Maynard and Jonathan Hodges represented runner-up Bradley Central; Taylor Martin and Ryder Pierce made it for Red Bank and Sheldon Brogden and Michael Luketic for Notre Dame.