February 24, 2014

Prep sports: Bartley leads Lions to win over Dalton

This past football season, Christian Heritage School senior Nich Bartley was the big-play wide receiver the Lions went to again and again.

He could prove just as reliable on the diamond this spring if Monday night’s 15-14 win against visiting Dalton is any indication.

Bartley went 3-for-4 with two RBIs — his two-out RBI single in the sixth inning put Christian Heritage ahead for good — and earned the win on the mound with a shutdown performance over the final 1 1/3 innings.

He struck out Dalton’s final batter of the sixth inning with the bases loaded, then struck out two and yielded a groundout in a 1-2-3 seventh.

This past season, Bartley earned all-area, all-region and all-state honors on the gridiron after hauling in 70 catches for 1,214 yards and 15 touchdowns.

“He’s got that great mentality,” said Lions coach Noah Stokes, whose team improved to 3-0 with the non-region victory. “In terms of football, he was a playmaker. He’s just a competitor, and we think this closer role fits well with his personality. He was humming it and he’s got a good breaking ball, too.”

Dalton (0-1) took a 13-7 lead with a six-run fifth. After the Lions responded with five runs in their half of the inning to make it 13-12, Dalton answered back with a run in the sixth — but in the bottom half, Christian Heritage had just a little more offense on a cool night when rough-around-the-edges defense was the rule.

Dalton committed four errors, while the Lions made seven.

“We were down 13-7 at one point and it looked like (Dalton) was taking control,” Stokes said. “But to our kids’ credit, they didn’t want it to end that way so they made the plays they needed to make. We didn’t play as solid of defense as we hope we will. We were uncharacteristically sloppy.”

Also at the plate for the Lions, Chandler Coley went 3-for-3 with an RBI, Chase Tidwell had a three-run double, Sam Sikes had a two-run single, Ian Robbins was 2-for-4 and Tyson Cooper doubled.

Coley started and worked three innings, allowing seven runs (three earned) on five hits and four walks while striking out two. Trevor Brown allowed seven runs (four earned) on three hits and five walks.

Dalton was led by Tyler Britton, who went 3-for-5 with five RBIs, and Grant Sane, who was also 3-for-5, including a double. Cole Shelton was 2-for-4 with four RBIs, while Maddox Houghton had a hit, walked twice and scored three runs.

Catamounts starter Dakota Tankersley was pulled after one inning — he allowed two unearned runs and as many hits while striking out one — and Kaleb Hill took the loss after working 2/3 of an inning, allowing one run on two hits with one strikeout. Tucker Sumner and Sam Stepp also pitched for the Cats.

“We threw three freshmen and I started three freshmen,” Dalton coach Shane Ramsey said. “We’re young and our youth showed at times. ... We need games like this to see where we’re at and what we need to work on. I would rather have won, but we battled and I think we’ll be fine.”

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