The Cornersville Bulldogs are a resilient group of ball players and it showed Tuesday down in the Santa Fe valley when they scrapped and clawed for nine innings before coming out on the winning end of a 7-5 win.
After defeating MCHS for the first time ever last Thursday, the Bulldogs had an immediate letdown Friday, losing to Cascade 8-1.
"It's always tough coming to Santa Fe, they always play us tough," said Cornersville head coach Brent Adcox after the ballgame.
Adcox added, "Give our kids some credit, they showed some guts. Even when we were down, they never got shook."
Two lefties started the game, Lucas Lasster for the Bulldogs and T. J. Thompson for the Wildcats and both hurlers pitched solid ballgames before leaving the contest.
Lasster went five innings, giving up 6 hits, three runs (2 earned), struck out 5, and walked 3.
Thompson lasted seven innings, giving up 5 runs (4 earned), struck out 8, surrendered 6 hits, and walked 5 before leaving with the game tied at five.
The pitching was masterful for three innings before the Bulldogs broke through with the game's first run on a John Brewer one-out, long knock to right field in the top of the fourth for a 1-0 CHS lead.
Santa Fe tied the game in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single by Trent Thomas that scored Zach Roche.
Lasster reached first on error, leading off the fifth inning and Aaron Crowell walked to put runners on first and second with no outs. Thompson got a strikeout for out number one before uncorking a wild pitch that put the runners on second and third.
Mark Lane slammed a 2-1 pitch to center field that scored both runners, putting Cornersville up 3-1. The Bulldogs loaded the bases on walks to Mikey Adams and Chuck Bassham before Thompson got out of the jam.
Nick McElhaney doubled to leadoff the Wildcat fifth and Ben Thompson followed with an RBI single to left. Thompson reached third on a fielder's choice by T. J. Thompson and scored on another fielder's choice RBI by Billy Peters, tying the game at 3.
Cornersville rallied with two down in the sixth on a double by Crowell and an RBI single to right field by Stephen Dalton, putting Cornersville back in front once again at 4-3.
Lasster left the ballgame and Crowell went to the mound where Santa Fe's Adam Ebbling rudely greeted him with a homerun to right, re-knotting the contest at 4. Crowell reared back and struck out the side, sending the game to the 7th inning.
The Bulldogs came right back, re-taking the lead on a long homerun over the center field fence with one-out by Chuck Bassham.
The bottom of the 7th was wild, windy, and wooly as the Wildcats loaded the bases with no outs.
Crowell whiffed the next hitter before Ebbling sent a high fly ball into shallow right field that fell to the earth after blowing four different directions. Bulldog right fielder Abel Singleton picked the ball up and threw to second for a force out, but the runner scored from third, tying the game again.
After Adcox went out to argue for an infield fly rule call, the umpires made the call, but the runners remained in the same spots on the bases. Crowell extended the game, striking out Dylan Hall to end the inning.
There was no scoring by either squad in the 8th inning and the sun began to set over the valley. This was troublesome for Adcox because the Santa Fe field does not have lights and he urged his squad to get the job done, now.
Bassham walked in the leadoff spot and Brewer followed with a sharp single to left, putting Bulldogs on first and second.
McElhaney got a strikeout for the first out and he looked like he would get the second out too when Chase Bassham bounced a ball directly to shortstop Seth Staggs who threw to third, but the ball hit Chuck Bassham in the helmet to load the sacks with one out.
Lasster came up and delivered in the clutch, drilling a laser to left that scored Bassham and Brewer for a 7-5 Cornersville lead.
Crowell slammed the door shut in the bottom of the inning, striking out the side to end the ballgame as the light faded to darkness. The win was the first of the season for Crowell.
Adcox and his squad celebrated and the coach said, "Those Santa Fe kids never quit. They are a scrappy bunch. They kept pressuring us more and more, but I knew if we got another chance at the end there that we would win."