Bingham Leads Central Past Red Bank, 6-1

Senior Southpaw Strikes Out 12 In Season Opener For Both Teams

Monday, March 12, 2018 - by John Hunt
  Central pitcher Andrew Bingham.
Central pitcher Andrew Bingham.
- photo by M. A. Locke

It was overcast and cold with temperatures in the mid 40s.  Add some agonizing gusting winds and you had a perfect day for prep baseball season to begin.

That was the case at Red Bank Monday night in a key season-opener with District 6-AA foe Central. It was a dedicated group of fans who attended the game and most were wrapped up in blankets and whatever else they could find to stay warm.

The visiting Purple Pounders seemed to handle the inclement weather better than the hosts as they won the game by a 6-1 final behind senior Andrew Bingham, who opened his final season with a dozen strikeouts.

Central jumped on the Lions early and scored three times in the first inning.  Bingham was in control the entire game and only in the final inning did he allow his first earned run or his first walk.

“We didn’t hit the ball like we’re capable, but we executed when we needed to,” said the 18-year-old senior southpaw after he had made the final putout of the game when a Red Bank runner tried to score from third on a wild pitch.

“I felt pretty good for it to be the first game of the season, but the key was hitting my spots,” he added.

Central coach Glen Carter knows that Bingham is capable of doing big things on the mound.  Give him an early lead and the challenge for the other team just becomes that much more difficult.

“When we score early runs, that takes the pressure off the pitcher, but Andrew was on and pitched really well today,” the veteran coach suggested.

“It’s cold, March baseball, so who knows what will happen on the first day of the season.  We just had to be ready to make the plays and I told our defense to be ready when the ball was hit to them.  We aren’t going to have a lot of big innings, so it’s small ball for small guys.

“I thought we did a good job of taking what was offered and it helped to get that early lead,” he added.

The Purple Pounders didn’t waste any time getting the lead as they promptly loaded the bases and those first three guys all scored.

Andrew Merriweather led off with an infield hit before Sebastian Gayton reached on the first of six Red Bank errors.  Bingham then loaded the sacks when he reached on a bunt single before Jonathan Alston drove in the first two runs with a single to left.

Austin Ford then drove in the third run with a sacrifice bunt and the guys from Harrison were on their way.

Bingham singled again in the third and scored Central’s fourth run on another Red Bank mistake while the guys in purple added their final two runs in the sixth.

The Lions struggled to get anything going as centerfielder Madox Wilkey reached three times with a single in the first, a double in the fourth before getting hit by a pitch to lead off the seventh.  He was finally able to score when catcher Eli Massengale reached on an infield single with the bases loaded as the hosts were able to avoid the shutout.

But even in that final inning when Austin Culpepper followed Wilkey with a single and Murphy Emery walked to load the bases, Bingham was more than able to make big pitches when they counted most.

He struck out Taylor Culpepper and Jacob Landers for the first two outs and was on the receiving end of catcher Kyle Murphy’s perfect relay to nail Austin Culpepper for the final out after he attempted to score on the wild pitch.

Red Bank coach Jason Henderson was a man of few words following his team’s first game.

“We just didn’t execute and that’s about all there was to it,” he said after dragging the infield with the Red Bank gator.

“Physical mistakes hurt, but tomorrow’s another day.  We aren’t going to worry about this game as we’ll just focus on the next one,” he said.

While Bingham was the winning pitcher, fellow senior southpaw Izak Sullivan certainly deserved a better fate after suffering his first loss.

Sullivan allowed six hits and struck out nine in five innings.  He was replaced by Chaz Eich after the first three hitters in the sixth reached.

Bingham and Wilkey were the only two players to get two hits.

CENTRAL  301 002 0 – 6 6 1

RED BANK  000 000 1 – 1 4 6

Bingham and Murphy; Sullivan, Eich (6) and Massengale.

(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@gmail.com)



Teague Returns To UCRA Glory, Wins Round #5 Wartburg Speedway

The United Championship Racing Alliance returned to the Wartburg Speedway west of Knoxville Saturday night for the rescheduled “Mayhem 40” $2,000 to-WIN event. Round #5 of the $16,000 Championship season for 604/Crate race-teams saw many new faces racing, with one ole familiar, showing the way around his home track. Jake Teague of Petross, Tn. captured the checkers as ... (click for more)

Tennessee-Georgia All-Star Softball Classic Set For Tuesday

The Tennessee-Georgia All-Star Softball Classic, the oldest of the Stump on Sports All-Star Series, will see its 21st version take place Tuesday night as the annual doubleheader will begin at 6 p.m. at Chattanooga's Frost Stadium.  Team Tennessee will be coached by Tim Couch from Silverdale Baptist Academy, who guided the Lady Seahawks to their first ever TSSAA state championship ... (click for more)

Attorney Davis Says Other Driver In Styles Case Pulled Gun While Driving Wildly; Denies Radio Host "Blacked Out"

Attorney Lee Davis said the other driver in a Friday road rage incident in Hixson pulled a gun on radio personality Jeff Styles while driving wildly.  He denied that the talk show host blacked out.  Jeff Styles, who was shot in the forearm, was charged with aggravated assault and vandalism. The other driver, Nickolas Bullington, was not charged. Police said ... (click for more)

Gerald McCormick Pulling Out Of House Race

Former House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick has decided to pull out of the House District 26 race and take a position with an engineering firm in Nashville. He told the Chattanooga Times Free Press the move would still give Republicans a seven-day window to find a replacement as the election nears. His wife, Kim, earlier took a position with the State Board of Regents in ... (click for more)

Will Chattanooga Miss Another Reinvestment Opportunity?

In April, First Tennessee Bank and the National Community Reinvestment Coalition announced an agreement on a $3.9 billion reinvestment plan for economic development in low to moderate income communities under the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act. The Chattanooga Times Free Press soon followed with an article reviewing the plan in depth. The plan presented Chattanooga, as well as ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Are We Like Nazis?

Four years after William Styron’s best-seller ‘Sophie’s Choice,’ had achieved the highest height of an atrocity that the literary world had known at the time, a little girl who was birthed the same year as the book (1979) was cast as Meryl Streep’s daughter in the movie. The four-year-old blonde knew nothing about evil, not to mention the Holocaust, but she became enamored with ... (click for more)