Bulldogs fall to Richland

Friday, May 4, 2012
Cornersville catcher Cody Blackburn tags out Richland's Andrew Jones at home plate in the top of the fifth inning after receiving a throw from first baseman Jacob Griffis. Photos by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

The Cornersville Bulldogs fell into the loser's bracket of the District 11-A tournament on Tuesday night after dropping a 7-4 decision to the fifth seeded Richland Raiders at home in the first round of the tourney.

With the two teams splitting the regular season series, the Raiders held a tenuous 2-1 lead through the first four innings of Tuesday's contest but broke the game open by scoring five runs in the top of the fifth to forge a 7-1advantage before staving off a late Bulldog rally attempt.

Bolstered by their fifth inning explosion, Richland finished with 10 hits and five walks against two Cornersville pitchers to go along with one Bulldog error.

Cornersville third baseman Zach Richards throws out Richland's A.J. Pettus at first base in the top of the second inning.

Cody Jordan and Donnie Gavin notched two hits apiece to pace the Raiders offensively and drove in three and one run respectively.

CHS starting hurler David Looney suffered the loss on the mound, allowing seven runs on 10 hits and four walks over five innings to go along with six strikeouts.

Cornersville (10-14-1) tallied with nine hits against Richland staff ace Carson Edwards, but drew no walks and struck out nine times while Richland didn't commit an error.

Catcher Cody Blackburn did the most damage at the plate for the Bulldogs by going 2-for-4 with a homerun and 2 RBI. Joe Stocstill and Andrew Giles both registered two hits and scored a run for the Bulldogs as well, while Neil Davis, Jonathan Douglas, and Jacob Griffis each had one hit with Davis driving in a run.

"Richland hit the ball well, but we also made some mistakes in the field and that's not a good recipe for success," said CHS coach Ben Putman. "Behind (Garrett) Ring from Mt. Pleasant, Edwards is probably the second best pitcher in the District and we still scratched four runs across against him. Last year in the tournament our bats got hot. We need our bats to get hot again if we going make it out of the District because in the tournament you need to score some runs."

The Raiders grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a RBI double by Jordan before tallying a run in the fourth thanks to a Jordan Hale RBI single to open up a 2-0 advantage.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Bulldogs got their bats going and plated a run on two hits to narrow the gap to 2-1. After Stocstill led off the fourth with a single and advanced to second on a Zach Richards sacrifice bunt, Davis knocked him in by lacing an RBI single into left centerfield.

Things, though, went awry for CHS in the top of the fifth, as Richland crossed home plate five times in the frame with the help of a Andrew Jones RBI single, a Gavin RBI double, a bases loaded walk by A.J. Pettus, and a Jordan two-run single to stretch their lead to 7-1.

Cornersville left a man at third in the bottom of the fifth, but plated a run in the sixth to trim the deficit to 7-2. After reaching base on a two-out infield single and advancing to second on a wild pitch, Giles moved to third on a single by Douglas before racing home when Douglas got caught in a rundown between first and second.

Blackburn closed the gap to 7-4 in the bottom of the seventh by blasting a two-run homer over the left field fence after Griffis singled to lead off the inning. Stocstill then singled with two outs to momentarily keep the Bulldogs' faint comeback hopes alive, but Edwards retired the next CHS batter on a groundout to end the game.