Although a starter as a sophomore, Brody Binder still walks in the baseball shadow of elder brother T.J., who already has signed scholarship papers with Troy University.
Brody stuck a foot out of the shadow Tuesday night, though, driving a sharp grounder through the hole on the left side to bring in the winning run as host Ooltewah beat Walker Valley 11-10 in eight innings. The Owls avenged a Monday loss to the Mustangs.
Brody had put the bat on the ball four times and walked once but had no hits to show for it.
"I think that's the first walk-off hit I've had, and it's a pretty good experience," he said. "One-upped him? Yeah, I guess I did tonight, but they didn't really give him much to hit."
T.J. reached base five times and scored a couple of runs, but he was walked twice and got hit by a pitch three times.
"I do as much as I can," the younger Binder said of playing behind his brother. "It's sometimes hard to live up to, but, yeah, he drives me to be better. He really does."
Tuesday's game included 21 hits by the two teams. It lasted more than three hours.
"That's the most beautiful ugly win I have seen," Ooltewah coach Brian Hitchcox said. "We have a long way to go."
But all along Hitchcox kept telling his Owls, beginning when they fell behind 5-0 after an inning and a half, that somebody had to be mentally tough enough to make a play.
That toughness showed in the bottom of the second when the Owls rallied to take a 7-5 lead, thanks in large part to Kevin Dupree's three-run homer. They got three runs later when T.J. Binder walked, Dupree doubled and Jared Ryan and Chase Morrissey singled.
Walker Valley tied the game in the fourth on a double by Bobby Towne, a walk and three wild pitches and rallied again for a 10-10 deadlock on a single by Kamren Barnes, a double from Logan Longwith and a sacrifice fly from Matthew Simmons.
Neither the Owls nor the Mustangs could muster enough offense in the sixth or seventh innings although Ooltewah left two runners on in the sixth.
The Mustangs failed to get a baserunner in the top of the eighth and leadoff hitter Drew Toth reached on a one-out error. He moved to second on a passed ball and to third on a wild pitch, setting the stage for Brody Binder's winning hit.
"We got a baserunner, then we got a break and then we got a big hit," Hitchcox said.
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...