Brett Standifer pitches Bradley Central Bears past East Hamilton

Brett Standifer pitches Bradley Central Bears past East Hamilton

March 12th, 2014 by Ward Gossett in Sports - Preps

Bradley Central's Caleb Pace connects with the ball in front of his dugout, before the ball is caught for an out, against East Hamilton at Chattanooga State on Tuesday.

Photo by C. B. Schmelter/Times Free Press.

Making his first varsity pitching start, Brett Standifer got and gave more than he expected Tuesday.

The senior right-hander threw a no-hitter for 5 1/3 innings and finished with a complete-game two-hitter in Bradley Central's 2-1 District 5-AAA baseball victory over East Hamilton.

"He hadn't thrown since his freshman year. I had no idea what to expect," Bears coach Travis Adams said following the game at Chattanooga State. "He's so competitive that it can sometimes get the best of him, but he overcame it, settled in and pitched well."

Bradley's starting quarterback may now be looking at a two-sport college career once he arrives at Division II Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

"My [football] recruiter told me if I was throwing it well that he'd come get the baseball coach to come take a look, so two sports might be an option," Standifer said.

Hunter Parker beat out a bunt with a runner aboard to break up the no-hitter in the sixth, but Standifer pitched out of it with a baserunning blunder and a pop fly to right. He walked four but only the fourth pass -- to the Hurricanes' Nick Fahler -- came back to bite him on a single by pinch-hitter Josh Aslinger.

He had only three strikeouts but settled in after walking two batters in the first, facing just 17 batters from the second through sixth innings.

"I didn't have that many strikeouts, but the defense behind me made plays all night," Standifer said.

A fastball pitcher, he threw an occasional curveball, but the key was the command of the fastball.

"Coach [Matt] Day had talked to us all week about locating our fastball," he said.

"All we're asking from our guys is that they pitch to contact and keep the ball down," Adams said. "I'm very proud of this effort."

The Bears squeezed across a run in the top of the fifth. Jacob Barnes reached on an error, moved to second and then to third on consecutive walks to Standifer and Hunter Rogers. Kyler Lynn then launched a sacrifice fly to deep left.

They got an insurance run in the sixth when Chandler Duggan singled, advanced to third on two passed balls and then scored on a wild pitch.

East Hamilton, which committed a pair of crucial baserunning errors, had a potential tying run canceled at the plate when Standifer fielded a bunt and threw to catcher Fahler with one out.

The win soothed some of the hurt Bradley endured Monday night in a 7-6 extra-inning home loss to the Hurricanes after leading 6-1. Each team now is 1-1 overall and in district play.

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