CMS Tigers Host Chattanooga Central in TSSAA Sectionals
Friday afternoon the weather was perfect for baseball in Tennessee and did the fans on hand ever get a heck of a game.
The day featured the Central Magnet Tigers (30-11) taking on the Pounders from Chattanooga Central (18-18) at the Tigerplex in Murfreesboro. This time of year in high school baseball, you lose, you go home and that fate awaited one of these teams on Friday. Chatt. Central would draw first blood, hitting a runner home early in the top of the first. The next four innings would bolster stout defense and ace pitching from both sides. But finally when things were starting to look bleak for the Tigers, sophomore, Patrick Norman would get his team on the board after senior, Dylan Jenkins drove in a double in the bottom of the fifth.
The fifth inning would prove to be very fruitful for CMS as they would tally two more runs before the inning was over, crawling out of their offensive funk to take the lead three to one.
With momentum looking to have swung the Tigers way, Chatt Central stayed resilient, putting runners on second and third quickly in the top of the sixth. And as quick as the Pounders got on base, they brought their boys home, evening up the match at three a piece. CMS senior, Chris Johnson compounded his runs given up in the inning when he balked a pitch, sending a man to third. At that point, head coach, Jason Patterson had seen enough and went to his bullpen, calling in fellow senior, James Touchton. Touchton, would immediately reward his coach’s decision, getting his team out of the top of inning without allowing another run.
CMS, needing a response to close out the sixth and head to final inning, the Tigers would answer the call. Earning two runs to match Chatt. Central’s two runs in top of the sixth. The second run was given up to the Tigers due to an unforced error by the first baseman of Chatt., who bobbled a ground ball, allowing the CMS runner an easy jaunt to home plate. Going into the seventh, CMS held a narrow edge of five to three.
As history repeats itself, the Pounders would once again be up to the task. Earning two more runs, getting it to five all and hoping their defense could force extra innings. But the Tigers were having none of that, as No. 14 Dylan Jenkins would round the bases for the second time on the day, this time his score sending his team back to the TSSAA State Tournament for the fifth year in a row. The finale score, CMS six, Chattanooga Central five.
CMS Head Coach Jason Patterson spoke with me after his team’s gutsy win…
Q. “This victory makes it five straight years your club has made it to the big tournament. Can you comment on the sustained success of your program?”
A. “Well for today the success came from the fact that we didn’t panic. Because this was a game where (Chattanooga Central) bounced back and they answered a couple of times and even had the lead to start if off. Even being in that situation we stayed pretty relaxed and were ready to get after it. When you have success, guys come into the program expecting to win and be in spots like this. You see a lot of former players at the game today, it just kind of has a college feel here.”
My next question got slightly interrupted as coach Patterson’s team gave him the celebratory Gatorade bath, so I got a “taste” of the victory as well.
CMS will play again either Tuesday, May 23 or Wednesday, May 24. Their opponent is also TBD.