Dawgs end Trojans' region run
After winning their first ever District tournament title four days earlier, the Cornersville Bulldogs (18-13) made history once again on Monday night when they rallied to defeat the Collinwood Trojans 8-5 at home in the first round of the Region 6-A tourney.
Having never won a Region tournament game, Cornersville appeared to be in dire straits early on and trailed 5-1 through the first one and a half innings of play.
Bats on fire
The Bulldogs, however, saw their bats catch fire and crossed home plate seven times over the next four frames while Cornersville starting pitcher David Looney held Collinwood (27-10-1) scoreless the rest of the way.
With their win over the Trojans, Cornersville advances to the Region 6-A title game where they will host District 12-AA champ Summertown on Wednesday night.
After scoring 14 runs against Columbia Academy in their last outing, the Bulldogs continued their torrid offensive pace on Monday and pounded out 15 hits against Collinwood staff ace Brier Daniel and reliever Jace Brewer.
Tate Lowery helped spark Cornersville's comeback by going 3-for-3 with a walk, two stolen bases, and three runs scored. Looney (3 RBI), Davis (2 RBI), Cody Blackburn (1 RBI), Matt Callender (1 RBI), and Jacob Griffis tallied two hits apiece for the Bulldogs as well, while Tyler Lowery (1 RBI) and Dallas Wright each added one hit.
"They have a good pitcher that had some great season stats, but we had some guys that had been struggling at the plate come alive tonight," said Cornersville coach Ben Putman. "When we fell behind early, I was telling them that we've been here before because we had to come back to win our last two ballgames."
Despite getting off to a rocky start, Looney went the distance on the mound to earn his seventh win of the year and allowed nine hits and four walks in seven innings of work to go along with seven strikeouts.
Daniel did the most damage at the plate for the Trojans by going 3-for-3 with a walk, two doubles, and 2 RBI. Ben Ragen (1 RBI) and Jacob Cummins also notched two hits apiece for Collinwood.
Daniel suffered the loss on the mound after allowing eight runs over four and two-third innings on 14 hits and a walk.
Things looked bleak for the Bulldogs early, as Collinwood tallied four runs in the top of the first inning on a RBI double by Daniel, a Zach Reeves RBI groundout, a sacrifice fly by Ragen, and a Jodee Ray RBI bloop single to grab a 4-0 lead.
Cornersville trimmed the deficit to 4-1 in the bottom of the first when Tate Lowery raced home on a RBI single by Blackburn after beating out an infield single and stealing second.
The Trojans stretched their lead to 5-1 in the top of the second thanks to a RBI double by Daniel, but the Bulldogs countered with two runs in the bottom half of the frame to narrow the gap to 5-3. Following singles by Callender and Griffis, both runners moved up 90 feet on a Jody Sullivan sacrifice bunt before Looney and Tyler Lowery delivered consecutive RBI singles.
In the top of the third, Collinwood had a chance to pad their lead after putting runners on second and third with no outs thanks to a Ragen single and a Cornersville error. Looney, though, ended up escaping the jam, as the Bulldogs turned an 8-6-5 triple play when centerfielder Tyler Lowery made a running catch on a fly ball by Cummins before both Trojan base runners were thrown out on the play after leaving the bag early.
After Cornersville notched a run in the bottom of the third on a RBI single by Davis to slice the deficit to 5-4, Collinwood left the bases loaded in the top of the fourth.
The Bulldogs seized an 8-5 lead in the bottom of the fifth by crossing home plate four times in the frame on the strength of a Davis RBI bunt single, a RBI single by Callender, and a Looney two-run double.
The Trojans then stranded runners at second and third in the top of the sixth before Looney worked around a leadoff single by Ragen in the seventh inning to secure Cornersville's sixth straight win.