Eagles end Bulldogs' dream season
There air was heavy with playoff atmosphere in Lawrence County Monday night in the first round of the Region 6-A Tournament and the two combatants, Cornersville and two time Class-A state champion Summertown played to the last breath with the host Eagles winning a 1-0 heart stopper.
"There is no shame in that," said Cornersville head coach Ben Putman. "That (Summertown) is a great baseball team. That is a fantastic baseball team and we gave them a run for their money for sure."
Cornersville twirling southpaw Lucas Laster was brilliant, hurling six perfect innings and striking out fifteen Summertown batters in the ballgame before surrendering a seventh inning leadoff walk to Kegan Roberts, a sacrifice bunt by Jimbo Ramsey, and a walk on to region final base hit by Blake Phillips.
"There is nothing you can say about Lucas' performance," said Putman. "You just pat him on the back and tell him, we should have got you a run."
Laster struck out the first five Eagle batters he faced in the game and would go on to whiff fifteen out of eighteen in six innings.
In the fifth inning, with two outs, Cornersville shortstop Dillon Bean preserved Laster's perfect game when he made a spectacular diving snag of a line drive off the bat of Austin York.
It was Bean in the top of the fifth who almost gave Cornersville a 1-0 lead when he singled to right with two outs, but Jonathan Douglas, who had got on with a bunt single and stole second base, was gunned down at the plate to end the inning.
Putman said about his decision to send Douglas, "You can second guess, but with two outs, I had my fastest guy out there at second and they had to make a perfect play and they made it. I would do it again, I would do it again."
Summertown's Thomas Huddleston was also in control on the mound in the complete game win as he scattered six Bulldog hits, while striking out eight and walking none.
All of Cornersville's hits came with two outs and Putnam said, "We had more guys on then they did and we had more hits than they did. We outplayed them except in the clutch. We never got a chance to bunt them over and play small ball which you have to do against a pitcher like that."
Bean had two hits in three at bats for the Bulldogs and Cody Blackburn, Douglas, Abel Singleton, and Laster had one base knock apiece.
Not many observers outside of the Cornersville locker room expected the Bulldogs to go this far and Laster said after the game, "I made a really good pitch and he made a really good hit, there is nothing you can do. I don't think anybody expected us to be here and this is the most exciting team I have ever been on."