Ooltewah Beats McMinn For Wildcat Classic Title

Wolfe, Malcolm, Reed Drive In Two Each In 12-2 Win Sunday

Sunday, March 19, 2017 - by John Hunt

Ooltewah coach Brian Hitchcox always likes entering his baseball team in early season tournaments for several reasons.

First, it’s just good experience and second, it give kids a chance to prove themselves in a situation not involving a district game.  And third, you get to learn more about your team and how different players act and react at different positions and what they’ll do in a tough situation where a split-second decision has to be made.

Just consider it a mission accomplished for Hitchcox and his Owls after they won the 30th annual Wildcat Classic at Hixson’s John Plumlee Stadium Sunday afternoon.

Those key district games begin on Monday as the Owls travel to Cleveland, but the veteran coach answered several questions about his team and you can be sure that he feels a lot better about them now than he did even a week ago.

The Owls are still undefeated after five games, the latest being a 12-2 victory over McMinn County in Sunday’s championship game.

Ooltewah bolted to a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the first and added three more runs in the fourth before wrapping up the win with four in the fifth.  There was one out in that inning when the Owls’ lead stretched to 10 runs to end the game.

“I thought we played well today as we had some good two-strike at-bats,” Hitchcox said after a brief chat with his team afterward.

“We sent a freshman Justin McGill out there to start and really just wanted three innings out of him.  He did his job and Jackson Malcolm did a good job in relief as well.  That early lead always helps, especially when you have a young pitcher throwing, but I thought we ran the bases well and were able to find some holes.

“We like these early-season tournaments as we get to see guys in different roles and it also shows us what we need to work on, but I’m really proud of the way we played this weekend.  Now we can go home and watch basketball for the rest of the day,” he concluded.

The Cherokees got singles from Jake Shamblin and Bradley Hayes in the first inning, but both were stranded when Carson Pope grounded to McGill for the third out.

Ooltewah didn’t waste any time as the Owls sent 10 men to the plate in the bottom of the first to score five runs.

Andrew Manning singled before Sam Zettel and Malcolm both walked to load the bases.  Andy Reed then got hit by a pitch to drive in the first run while an error by the McMinn first baseman allowed the second run to cross the plate.

Trevor Wiggs then flied to left to drive in the third run before Zach Wolfe stroked a two-out, two-run single to right.

The Cherokees scored their two runs in the second.

Roman Lockmiller reached on an error before Zac Rollins got hit by a pitch with one out to put two on.  Drew Phillips then loaded the bases with a sharp single to left.  Ethan Belcher drove in Lockmiller with a sacrifice fly to center while the second run scored when Reed’s throw to third sailed into left field.

Wolfe led off the Ooltewah fourth with a walk before going to third on a double down the line in left by Jake Sullivan.  Manning reached when a deep fly to center was dropped as Wolfe scored the sixth run.  Zettel then drove in Sullivan with a sac fly to left while the final run scored on a single by Reed.

Then in the fifth, the Owls put the finishing touches on the championship win with four more runs.

Wiggs led off by getting hit with a pitch while Wolfe singled to right with one out.  Pinch-hitter Payton Keiser then walked to load the bases before Jake Morrow got a walk for another RBI.  Zettel then got hit by a pitch to plate the 10th run while it all ended when Malcolm’s single up the middle drove in the final two runs of the game.

McMinn County coach Matt Ray wasn’t real excited about Sunday’s results, but he also knows that you’re not going to win every time you play.

“Today was just one of those days,” he began while his players were gathering equipment from the Cherokee dugout.

“In this game, you have to bring it day in and day out.  We just didn’t do that today.  It’s early in the season and late in the week, but I liked our aggressiveness at the plate and I feel good about the way we executed on offense.  We competed hard all weekend and that’s all I ever ask,” he said, knowing that his team has a non-district game at Polk County on Tuesday.

McGill was credited with the win after allowing two runs on three hits.  He also had two strikeouts and no walks. 

Phillips was the losing pitcher after allowing those five first-inning runs.  He gave up three hits and walked two.

Wolfe was the offensive hero for the Owls as he singled twice and walked once while driving in two runs and scoring a pair.

The Cherokees finished with three hits with Phillips single in the second being the third after Shamblin and Hayes singled in the first.

McMINN COUNTY  020 00 – 2 3 3

OOLTEWAH  500 34 – 12 7 2

Phillips, Peterson (2), Belcher (5) and Rollins; McGill, Malcolm (4) and Reed.

(email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@gmail.com)



Covenant's Moore Named USA South Player Of The Week

Covenant volleyball senior outside hitter Ginny Moore has been named the USA South Player of the Week for the period ending Sept. 24, announced the conference on Monday afternoon. It is the fourth time in her career that Moore has earned the honor. It is also the first time this season that a Covenant volleyball player has garnered a weekly honor from the conference. A ... (click for more)

UTC Golfers 10th After 36 Holes At Shoal Creek Invitational

The Chattanooga Mocs are 10th after 36 holes at the Shoal Creek Invitational. The squad shot 1-over 289 over the first 18 today before posting 297 in the afternoon.   The trio of Lake Johnson, Etienne Brault and Will Porter led the early effort carding even-par 72s. Luke Long added a 73 to the team total with Phillip Hickam’s 75 serving as the drop score.   Long ... (click for more)

State Finds Photos Of Guns Used In Lookout Valley Murders On Morse's Phone, But Defense Says It Got Evidence Too Late

Prosecutors said Monday that there were six photos on the phone of Derek Morse of guns tied to the murder of three people at a Lookout Valley trailer park. However, defense attorney Dan Ripper said the phone should have been checked out years ago - not on the eve of the trial. He said he got the photos last Monday - the day before jury selection began. Prosecutor Lance ... (click for more)

Opportunity Zone Begins Effort To Transform 12 Low-Performing County Schools

The Hamilton County Department of Education announced the new Opportunity Zone team that officials said "will ensure every student is post-secondary ready." The schools in this zone are: Brainerd High, The Howard School, East Lake Middle Academy, Dalewood Middle, Orchard Knob Middle, Barger Academy of Fine Arts, Calvin Donaldson Environmental Science Academy, Clifton Hills ... (click for more)

Titans Hide In The Locker Room

This Sunday, as has been widely reported, the Tennessee Titans and the Seattle Seahawks both chose to remain in their respective locker rooms during the playing of the National Anthem at Nissan Stadium.  Besides the fact that the NFL game operations manual has a rule regarding player behavior during the playing of the National Anthem which requires them to stand at attention ... (click for more)

Roy Exum - ‘Let’s Talk Real Life’

In mid-November of 2015, the Missouri football team very unwisely went on strike. A black student had refused to eat until a list of racially-based demands were met. Some on the football team were sympathetic and it quickly morphed into the biggest catastrophe in the annals of higher education. The university would lose hundreds of millions, athletic donations dropped 72 percent, ... (click for more)