CHS Tennis Thrives in Day #1 of the District Singles/Doubles Tournament

Shlip Patel of CHS tennis

The remarkable season for the Coffee County Central High School tennis teams continued on Friday. Three singles players and a doubles team battled their way into the semifinals of the District 8AAA singles/doubles tennis tournament in Shelbyville.

Shlip Patel and Joseph Sadler each advanced to the boys’ singles semifinals with a pair of wins on Friday.  Patel won his first 2 matches 8 to 3 and 8 to 0.  He will face off against top seeded Kevin Kite of Lincoln County in the semifinals.  Sadler received a first round bye before claiming an 8 to 1 win in the quarterfinals.  Joseph will take on Jack Robinson of Lincoln County in his semifinal matchup.

Kara Roper knocked off teammate Macy Brown in the quarterfinals to advance to Saturday’s semifinals.  Roper claimed an 8 to 6 win in the opening round before knocking off Brown 8 to 2.  Kara will take on Tiffany Spears of Lawrence County in Saturday’s semifinals.

The top seeded doubles team of Lawrence and Riddle rode a bye and an 8 to 4 win over a Lawrence County team to advance to Saturday’s semifinals.  The Red Raider juniors will take on the Shelbyville team of Spencer and Rogers on Saturday.

The Lady Raider doubles Rachel Henley and Anna Herrell knocked off a Franklin County team 8 to 2 in the opening round before falling in the quarterfinals to the top seeded team from Shelbyville.  The team of Baylee Nester and Natalie Elzeer also knocked off a Franklin County duo to open the tournament before falling in a hard fought 8 to 6 matchup to Lawrence County in the quarters.

The tournament concludes on Saturday at Shelbyville’s H.V. Griffin Park.  Semifinal matches get underway at 9 AM.

Lady Raider Softball Drops Pair in Coffee County Classic

Katie Rutledge of CHS softball (Photo by John St. Clair,

Hosting your own softball tournament in the closing days of the high school regular season presents lots of challenges for Coffee County’s Steve Wilder.  Not to diminish the logistics of making sure fields are ready, teams are scheduled, workers are present; Wilder has the task of balancing the chore of winning versus making sure is team is healthy and rested for the final 3 regular season district games coming up this next week.  With that in mind on Friday, Coffee County fans saw varied lineups in the Lady Raiders 2 losses on Friday night.  Coffee opened the day with a 5 to 3 loss to Forrest before closing out the night with a 9 to 8 defeat at the hands of Covington.

Against Forrest, a 1st inning run and a 3 RBI performance from Haley Hinshaw were not enough to overcome a 7 hit attack from the Lady Rockets.  Batting first in the tournament format, Coffee County drew first blood when Hinshaw drove in Raven Rogers in the 1st inning.  Forrest responded with a pair of first inning runs themselves and they never trailed again.  Hinshaw finished with 2 hits and the 3 RBI to be named the Crazy Daisies player of the game.  Katie Rutledge also finished with 2 singles and Tori Bell had a double.

In the night cap against Covington, the Lady Raiders were shut down in their final 2 at bats in the 9 to 8 loss.  In a back and forth game, Covington scored in the top of each inning in the win.  The Lady Raiders were able to tie the game in bottom of the 1st and 2nd innings, before taking an 8 to 6 lead after 3 innings.  But a pair of 2 out rallies in the 4th and 5th innings by Covington was the back breaker.   Katie Rutledge led the Lady Raiders in hitting as she was 3 for 4 including an inside the park home run

Coffee County concludes play in the Coffee County Classic on Saturday with a pair of games.  The Lady Raiders will play Waverly at 11 AM and Warren County at 3 PM.  Thunder Radio will bring you the broadcast of each game.

Download the broadcast at

Westwood Soccer Advances to CTSC Finals with Friday Win

Elliot Sain of Westwood soccer

The Westwood soccer team advanced to their 4th straight CTSC conference tournament final on Friday night with a 3 to 0 win over Fayetteville.  The Rockets got a pair of goals in the first half to seize control of the matchup and Brody Todd was clean in goal to advance the Rockets to Saturday’s finals against St. Andrews.

John Martinez opened the scoring with a goal in the 23rd minute on an assist from Angel Gonzalez.  Elliot Sain made it a 2 to 0 game at the half as he notched an unassisted goal in the 25th minute.  Sain added his second goal in the 44th minute off another assist from Gonzalez.  Westwood will square off against St. Andrews on Saturday morning at 10 AM, that match will take place at Dyer-Bouldin Field.

CCMS Softball Mauls South to Open CTC Tournament

Katie Crosslin of CCMS softball

The Coffee County Middle School softball team opened play in the CTC softball tournament of Friday night with a 16 to 0 win over South Franklin.  Katie Crosslin threw a no-hitter allowing just a single walk as she struck out 6 in a game shortened to 3 innings via the mercy rule.

The Lady Raiders sent 15 batters to the plate in the 2nd inning as they scored 12 runs on 2 hits.  The Lady Raiders walked 7 times in the inning, and 11 times in the game.  Coffee County also got the benefit of 3 Lady Trojan errors.  Coffee County will now face off against Warren County at 12:30 PM on Saturday in the second round.  The CTC Tournament is being held at Warren County High School.

Red Raider Baseball Drills White County

Cade Giles of CHS baseball

The Coffee County CHS baseball team took out the frustrations of a 2 game losing streak on White County on Friday afternoon with a 12 to 1 defeat of the Warriors in Sparta.  The Red Raiders hammered out 12 hits, including a home run from Cade Giles, while holding White County to a single.

Jacob Duncan was masterful on the hill for Coffee County with the 5 inning one-hitter.  After surrendering a first inning run on a walk and a single, Duncan went the distance striking out 4.  Giles finished the game with a single to go with his tater and 3 RBI.  Davis Green and Garrett Eldridge each finished with a pair of singles.  Jacob Langham had a double and reached base twice after being hit by pitches.  Langham scored 3 times as the Raiders improved to 15 and 13 on the year.

Coffee County is back in action on Tuesday when they travel to Murfreesboro to take on Central Magnet.  That game will take place at StarPlex and will get underway at 5 PM.

CHS Soccer Fights to a Draw with Smyrna

Chase Harper of CHS soccer

The Coffee County soccer team battled to a 3 to 3 draw with Smyrna on Friday in a non-district friendly at the Raider soccer field.  After jumping out to a 2 to 0 lead, Coffee County saw the Bulldogs rally to tie the match in the final 3 minutes of the 1st half.  Chase Harper got the first goal for the Raiders in the 7th minute on beautiful crossing pass from Paco Barrera.  Breyer Taylor made the score 2 to 0 in the 14th minute off a free kick from 20 yards out.  The goal ties Taylor with Ricky Ramirez for the career goals record at CHS.

Smyrna found the back of the net in the 37th and 39th minutes to seize the halftime momentum.  Coffee County got another goal from Harper in the 59th off another assist from Barrera but Smyrna pressed the attack to tie it in the 74th to claim the draw.  Coffee County travels to Fayetteville on Monday for another non-district friendly.  They will take on the Tigers of Fayetteville High in a match beginning at 5 PM.

Blues Even Series as Preds Fall in Game Two

Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice and the St. Louis Blues defeated the Nashville Predators, 3-2, in Game Two to even their Second Round series at 1-1. It’s the first loss the Preds have suffered of the 2017 postseason, and a late goal by the Blues sealed the result.

As was the case in Game One, St. Louis tallied twice in the third period, and a 5-0 count in power-play opportunities for the Blues didn’t help Nashville’s cause.

“I thought they played a much tighter game,” defenseman Ryan Ellis said. “Kudos to them, they played a good game too. It’s disappointing to be up halfway through the third there [and then lose], but we have to stay out of the box, maybe get a call here and there and just capitalize on our chances. I thought we came at them down the stretch, but their goalie made some good saves.”

Just as they did in Game One, Nashville struck first when Ellis blasted a shot from the point that deflected off of Colton Sissons, then James Neal, then Jake Allen, and into the net for a 1-0 lead, with the goal being credited to Neal. Late in the frame, Preds center Vernon Fiddler was assessed a five-minute major for kneeing and a game misconduct, and with 20 seconds remaining in the period, Tarasenko evened the score.

Nashville killed the remaining time on the Fiddler major to begin the second, with the two teams combining for just 23 shots through 40 minutes and an unchanged score.

As the third period began, it wasn’t long before Nashville went back on top once more. Cody McLeod laid a hit in the Blues zone to force a turnover, and Ellis blasted a shot – this time untouched – into the top corner for a 2-1 lead. Four minutes later, St. Louis got it back off a scramble in front, just as a power play had expired, to even the score.

Then at the 16:09 mark of the third, it was Tarasenko who converted what proved to be the game-winner, his second of the night. Nashville had a late push, including a deflection off the post in the dying seconds, but Allen stood tall to give the Blues their first win of the series.

“There were things that I liked tonight,” Nashville Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “The bottom line is we have to win hockey games. We didn’t win tonight.”

The Predators will now head home after facing their first true taste of adversity in these playoffs, having lost for the first time. Nashville believes they have more to give than what they saw in the first two outings in St. Louis, and they’ll get that chance beginning Sunday afternoon.

“I don’t think we expected to win 16 games straight and walk off with the Stanley Cup,” Ellis said. “We were bound to lose a game. I thought we played a decent game, but probably didn’t deserve to win with that one, and didn’t win that one. We’ll regroup, refocus and learn from our mistakes, come back stronger next game and be better.”

“There’s no time to be frustrated,” center Ryan Johansen said. “We have a great hockey club in here and we feel like we didn’t play very well in St. Louis for the most part. We had some spurts where we did good things, but we have a whole different level we can get to. We’ll get some rest and try and take care of business at home.”

Miikka Salomaki entered the lineup in Game Two for the first time in the 2017 postseason, recording five hits in 11:23 of ice time. Calle Jarnkrok re-joined the Nashville lineup, while P.A. Parenteau was among the scratches for the Preds.

The series now shifts to Nashville for Games Three and Four, beginning Sunday afternoon at Bridgestone Arena. Game Three comes with a 2 p.m. CT start on Sunday while Game Four is set for 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday.  Thunder Radio will bring you each broadcast as part of the Fifth Third Bank/Nashville Predators Radio Network

Freeman’s HR Caps Braves’ Rallies vs. Crew

Freddie Freeman’s two-run homer in the ninth gave the Braves a 10-8 victory over the Brewers after Atlanta overcame a pair of four-run deficits on Friday night at Miller Park.

The Braves trailed 4-0 after two innings and 8-4 after the sixth, but battled back to tie the game on Kurt Suzuki’s pinch-hit single in the eighth inning before winning on Freeman’s eighth home run in the ninth. Freeman was 0-for-4 on the night before he connected with a Neftali Feliz fastball and lined it 106 mph off the bat, according to Statcast™, to center field.
“I was just thankful to get another opportunity,” Freeman said. “I was pretty terrible for the first eight innings. Usually, when you are feeling bad at the plate and missing opportunities, you want another one just to redeem yourself.”
Before Friday, the biggest deficit overcome by the Braves in a victory this season was two runs.
“It says a lot about these guys and the way they are,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “They’ve been doing that for the almost year that I’ve been here. That’s good to see. Guys had good at-bats, and the bullpen did a good job with the exception of the homer.”
Orlando Arcia and Ryan Braun hit home runs off Bartolo Colon, and Domingo Santana homered off the bench for the Brewers, who have hit multiple home runs in 14 of their first 24 games, including eight games with three or more homers to lead the Major Leagues in both categories. Milwaukee also leads MLB with 43 homers.
The Brewers also lead MLB with eight relief losses, despite entering this series in the top 10 in relief ERA.
“They kept coming,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said of the Braves. “Going down four, they kept at it, they kept putting tough at-bats on us. Give them some credit.”
The Brewers jumped to a 4-0 lead with a second-inning rally capped by Arcia’s opposite-field, three-run home run, but the advantage didn’t last long. The Braves struck right back with four runs of their own, the final three scoring on Matt Kemp’s two-out, bases-clearing double off Brewers starter Chase Anderson.
It was almost a five-run inning, but Brewers second baseman Jonathan Villar managed to glove Nick Markakis’ one-hop rocket to Villar’s backhand side, and threw to first for the final out of the frame.
“Chase has got off to a great start, but we faced him last year,” Freeman said. “We had a game plan that he pitches off that changeup. He kept us down. We got that big inning off of him, but he didn’t make many mistakes tonight.”
All square, again: The Brewers pulled ahead again with two-run homers from Braun and Santana and handed an 8-4 lead to reliever Jacob Barnes, who had not surrendered a run in his first 12 appearances this season. The Braves scored three times in that inning before Corey Knebel doused the rally, then, after Counsell opted for Carlos Torres over returning Knebel to the mound for the eighth, scored again to tie the game at 8 on Suzuki’s two-out single.
“We had the game set up good,” Counsell said. “We were up, 8-4, going into the seventh and had Jacob Barnes throwing. We’ll take that every night. This was a scripted game, really. It just didn’t work out.”
Before Friday, Barnes was one of five Major League relievers to log at least 10 innings without being scored upon.
“Obviously, you never want to give up runs,” said Barnes. “I knew at some point it was going to happen. Ideally it was not going to happen in this kind of situation, in this kind of game. … If you miss your spot just a little bit, [the Braves] are good at fighting it off or just poking it the other way, wherever the pitch is located. They’re just kind of small-ball, and occasionally they’ll hit a home run or whatever. But they’re good at just battling.”
Jaime Garcia will look to continue his dominance of the Brewers when he takes the mound for a 6:10 p.m. CT game on Saturday. The left-hander is 11-6 with a 2.88 ERA in 21 outings (20 starts) against Milwaukee in his career.

Blackburn’s Solid Outing Leads Sounds to Win

The Nashville Sounds used a familiar mix of dominant pitching and the long ball in a 4-1 win over the New Orleans Baby Cakes in front of 7,853 fans at First Tennessee Park Friday night.
The Nashville Sounds used a familiar mix of dominant pitching and the long ball in a 4-1 win over the New Orleans Baby Cakes in front of 7,853 fans at First Tennessee Park Friday night.

Sounds (8-11) starter Paul Blackburn cruised through five shutout innings and was backed by home runs from Mark Canha and Matt Olson in his first win of the season.

Blackburn allowed only two hits on the night – a double in the first, and a single in the fourth that was erased by a double play. The right-hander took a comebacker off the left leg in the fifth but stayed in the game. He was able to finish the inning but threw only 58 pitches on the night.

Nashville’s offense joined the party with a two-out rally in the bottom of the third. New Orleans (8-14) starter Stephen Fife retired the first two batters of the inning before Joey Wendle doubled to left-center. Mark Canha followed with a two-run homer to give the Sounds a 2-0 lead. The blast was Canha’s second in as many days and third in as many games.

The inning continued on Chris Parmelee’s infield single. Moments later, Renato Nuñez lined a double to the right-center gap to score Parmelee and make it a 3-0 game.

Chris Jensen took over for Blackburn and quickly worked a scoreless sixth inning. Matt Olson started the bottom half with a towering home run into The Band Box in deep right field. It was Olson’s third home run of the season.

Lipscomb alum Josh Smith turned in a scoreless seventh inning before giving way to Ross Detwiler in the eighth. Steve Lombardozzi’s two-out RBI double put the Baby Cakes on the board at 4-1.

That’s as close as they’d get as Simon Castro struck out the side in the ninth to earn his second save of the season.

Wendle went 3-for-4 as he continues his Major League rehab assignment and Nuñez had a pair of doubles. It’s the first back-to-back home wins of the season for the Sounds.

Game three of the five-game series is scheduled for Saturday night at First Tennessee Park. Right-hander Chris Smith (0-1, 3.07) starts for the Sounds against right-hander Vance Worley (1-2, 2.66) for the Baby Cakes. First pitch is slated for 6:35 p.m.

CHS Soccer Drops Tullahoma to Retain Coffee Cup, Finish District Season Unbeaten

The Red Raider soccer team welcomed old rival Tullahoma to the Raider Soccer Field on Thursday night.  Coffee County entered the game having locked up the regular season district title, but wanted to finish the season with a perfect district record.  The Raiders were also looking to retain the Coffee Cup trophy for the 3rd consecutive year.  Coffee County used a pair of goals early in the 2nd half to pull away for the 4 to 1 win.

Coffee County jumped out to a 1 goal lead in the John Parigger netted an unassisted goal in the 37th minute to give the Raiders a 1 to 0 lead.  In the second half, Chase Harper netted goals in the 51st and 55th minutes off a pair of assists from Breyer Taylor.  Tullahoma netted a penalty kick in the 56th minute, but Miguel Mendoza found the back of the net in the 63rd minute to give Coffee County their 7th consecutive victory this season and a 6 and 0 district record.

Following the game, the Coffee Cup Trophy sponsored by First Vision Bank, was presented to Coffee County.  Breyer Taylor was named the most outstanding player of the game for Coffee County for the 2nd consecutive year.  Michael Duncan of Tullahoma was recognized as the game MVP for the Wildcats.

The Red Raiders will be back at home on Friday night when they play host to Smyrna in a non-district friendly.  That match will kick off at 7 PM.

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