By Thomas Sellers Jr.
COLLIERVILLE — The annual Lewis Harris Tournament is a chance for Memphis area baseball teams to get a chance to play competition from across the Mid-South.
Sometimes a match up might be a preview of a potential May showdown. For the visiting Brighton Cardinals, the trip Friday night to the campus of Collierville High School could have been a Class 3A Sectional preview. Cardinal Head Coach Ryan Wood saw his team get off to a good start against the perennial powerhouse Collierville Dragons jumping out 1-0 in the top of the first inning with an Andrew Davis single.
Then the Dragons responded with seven runs over the next three innings leading to a 7-4 triumph.
“We started off a little rocky, made some errors defensively,” Wood noted. “Defense tighten up a little. We’ve got guys who didn’t play a lot due to COVID, that’s not an excuse. It’s a fact. We don’t care, we know that we’re capable of playing at a high level. We showed that tonight. We take a few walks out, we swing at a few fastballs we should have its a different score.
“They’re playing ‘Celebration’ at the end of the ball game, hugging and everything,” he continued. “We want that dog pile going to Murfreesboro that Friday in May. We want to be back here on a Friday with a chance to go to Murfreesboro in May. It don’t matter where they want to meet it could be at a little league ball park.”
The Collierville defeat dropped Brighton to 2-2 on the young season. The Cardinals picked up wins over Harding Academy and St. George’s during the Lewis Harris. Regional foe the Arlington Tigers pulled out a win over Brighton.
After taking an early lead against the Dragons, the Cardinals gave up three runs to Collierville in the bottom of the first inning. The Dragons scored on a pass ball and balk to take the lead 2-1. Then Collierville’s Griffin Baird added to the advantage with a base hit to make the tally 3-1.
Collierville’s road to staying unbeaten and improving to 4-0 overall was paved in the third inning with four runs.
A pair of bases loaded walks brought home two runs to make the score 5-1. Then Trent DeZemplen drove in a run with a single and Thomas Crabtree followed with a sacrifice fly to make the score 7-1.
Brighton fought back in the fourth inning with three runs with the big blow coming off the bat of Kaleb Baskins. The senior drove in a pair of runs with a double to make the score 7-4.
The Dragons brought in a two pitchers to shut down the Cardinals and pick up the win. Despite the loss to Collierville, Brighton is just happy to have a good showing and be back on the field consistently after more than 360 days.
“Positives are we didn’t have to play them as freshmen and sophomores last year because we were going to play them,” Wood said. “The negative of course they didn’t get to play last year. But they all play at a high level whether it’s competitive or travel.
“It’s no different from when you were a Little League kid — catch the ball, throw the ball, throw strikes and hit strikes,” he concluded. “We’re going to be fine. I’m proud of the way they came back against Collierville Down 7-1 to Collierville it’s easy to fold and go ahead and get 10-pieced and go home. We hang on and battle them. They brought in one of their guys to close us out.”