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No-Hit Combination

TRA vs MunfordBy Thomas Sellers Jr.

Tipton-Rosemark Academy ace Connor Alexander pitched four no-hit innings on opening day against Munford.

Tipton-Rosemark Academy ace Connor Alexander pitched four no-hit innings on opening day against Munford.

ARLINGTON – The Tipton-Rosemark Academy bats were quiet among the fanfare of opening day at Bolton Baseball Field.
But thanks to the Rebel pitching duo of starter Connor Alexander and relief man Nathan Whitley, the Munford Cougars’ lumber was dead silent. The TRA pair combined for a no-hitter in the Rebels’ 6-0 victory March 10.
“We didn’t have a good approach today at all,” TRA Skipper Brad Smith said. “We’ve done a good job of that but didn’t show it today whatsoever. We only had two hits. We didn’t get much to hit early in the game.
“We scored all our runs early in the game, but we didn’t have much to hit,” he continued. “You don’t want to chase bad ball in order to get hits. They gave us a gift early in the game.”
Munford Head Coach Jason Johnson brought a young team to the field for opening day after graduating 12 seniors. The Cougars featured freshman pitcher George Cundiff on the mound.
Cundiff kept some of the veteran Rebel batters off balanced, but missing the zone a few times led to walks and some hit batters.
TRA put three runs on the board in the first inning courtesy of two bases loaded walks and a passed ball.
The Rebels scored three runs once again in the next inning when Conner Sanders drove in Houston Hall with a ground ball.
A Munford throwing error made the score 5-0. And when Xen Penny drew a walk, the Rebels went ahead 6-0.
Meanwhile Memphis signee Alexander was dealing to the young Munford lineup with six strikeouts in his four innings of work. TRA catcher Jacob LaFosse had Alexander mixing up all four of his go-to pitches to keep the Cougars hitless.
Then Whitley took to the mound for the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. LaFosse changed the strategy with similar results.
“Our pitchers Connor Alexander and Nathan Whitley combined for a no-hitter in the game on opening day,” Smith said. “You can’t ask for anything better than that. That’s a credit to them two for competing on the mount as hard as they can. And it’s also a credit to our catcher JL anytime you can catch a no-hitter, you have a lot to do with it as well.”
Although Opening Day 2014 goes down in Rebel History as a combined no-hit victory, Smith said the win was a combination of good pitching, solid defense and taking gifts at the plate. He wants to see his offense get going like it was in February.
“We just have to go out there and worry about you and not the other team and compete,” he said. “You try to win every pitch of every inning in every game. That’s what we try to do. If you do that, you’re going to have some wins.
“We have to get more focused at the plate,” Smith concluded. “Some of our guys didn’t go up there with a plan. We’ve been swinging it well in our scrimmages. But I don’t know, the first couple of innings I felt we were going through some jitters. It’s the first game of the season. We have to get the nerves out. Hopefully this game we got the nerves out.”

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