By Chris Yow
NASHVILLE — Each time Columbia Academy found success on offense Monday night, Christ Presbyterian Academy had an answer.
Cade Reynolds provided the hosts’ biggest — and most decisive — response when he launched a two-strike pitch over the right-center wall and lifted his team to a 7-4 win over the Bulldogs in Division II-A District 3 play.
Reynolds’ three-run home run in the fifth inning rallied the Lions from a 4-2 deficit.
“The pitch was a low and away changeup, and he went (opposite field) with it,” Columbia Academy coach Richie Estep said. “Sometimes you just have to tip your cap; that guy can hit.”
University of Tennessee signee Kavares Tears took the loss, giving up five runs on just two hits but walking seven Lions. He also struck out eight hitters in the game.
Both hits surrendered by the lefthander were home runs.
“I was still trying to find the zone in the third, fourth and fifth innings,” Tears said. “Sometimes as the game goes on, you’ll get the corners, but it really felt like if it wasn’t right down the middle, I wasn’t getting it.”
Following his team’s first loss of the season, Estep echoed his senior leader’s comments.
“CPA is a really good hitting team. They already make you throw another pitch by fouling off pitches. They’re probably the best team in the state at that,” Estep said. “So when you’re hitting your spots and not getting the call and you have to throw another pitch, it takes the fight out of you.”
The Bulldogs (7-1, 4-1) struck out looking seven times in the game, something Estep’s team is not known for doing, and prompted several comments from the Columbia Academy dugout.
“That pitch they were getting is unhittable,” he said. “When nobody is swinging at that pitch, it’s not a strike. If both sides were getting called and rung up, that’s fine.
“I just felt like the kids didn’t decide the game tonight.”
The Bulldogs took a 2-1 lead in the third when Tanner Ham got a two-out single and Landon Prentice walked. Tears was hit by a 1-1 pitch following a trip to the mound by CPA catcher Cade Law. Max Ballard promptly doubled to score Ham and Prentice.
CPA (6-3-1, 3-0) tied the game on a J.J. Williams homer in the fourth before Columbia Academy regained the lead in the fifth with another two-out rally.
Damon Toombs singled home Prentice and Tears with a ground ball through the right side of the infield on a full count. A pair of walks loaded the bases for the Bulldogs, but the guests couldn’t cash them in.
CPA added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth to seal the Division II-A District 3 win.
“CPA got us, and they’re very good. We feel like we outplayed them tonight, it just didn’t say it on the scoreboard,” Estep said.
The two teams are set to meet at Columbia Academy on Tuesday with the varsity game tentatively scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m., but could be moved to earlier in the day as weather dictates, Estep said.