CA tops Bulldogs in title tilt

Wednesday, May 14, 2014
The Cornersville Bulldogs finished second in the District 11-A tournament to Columbia Academy. Pictured are, from left, front row, Chance Dyer, J.D. Crabtree, Carson Walker, Jesse Phillips, Michael Allen, and Nate Huitt; back row, David Looney, Jody Sullivan, Curt Taylor, Cody Caneer, Aaron Fox, Tyler Lowery, Ben Taylor, and Tate Lowery. Tribune photos by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

After suffering a heartbreaking 5-4 loss to Columbia Academy earlier in the day, the Cornersville Bulldogs (16-13)were denied their second straight District 11-A tournament title when they dropped a 9-3 decision to CA in the championship game on Thursday night at Mt. Pleasant School.

The two teams were locked in a 1-1 tie through the first three innings of play, but Columbia Academy (21-10-1) broke the game open by crossing home plate seven times over the next three frames to forge an 8-1 lead en route to claiming the title.

Despite Thursday night's setback, the Bulldogs still advanced to the Region 6-A tournament where they face District 12-A champ Summertown on the road in the first round on Monday.

Errors' damage

Aided by their late offensive surge, Columbia Academy finished with 12 hits and four walks against three CHS hurlers. Cornersville also struggled defensively for the second straight game and committed five errors, which led to four of CA's nine runs.

Nick Hayes tallied three hits and a RBI to lead Columbia Academy's offensive attack, while Billy Thurman (2 RBI), Blake Luna (1 RBI), and Scott Lentz (1 RBI) notched two hits apiece.

Bulldog starting pitcher Tate Lowery suffered the loss, but turned in a solid performance on the mound and yielded four runs, two earned, over five innings on six hits and two walks to go along with four strikeouts.

"I was really proud of the way Tate pitched because he hadn't started a game in six weeks. He pitched well, but we had to take him out because of his pitch count," said Cornersville coach Ben Putman.

The Bulldogs, conversely, mustered just four hits and a two walks against CA starting hurler Rhett Heflin, who went the distance on the mound to earn the win. Aaron Fox (2 RBI), Tyler Lowery, Ben Taylor, and J.D. Crabtree each had one hit for CHS.

Columbia Academy plated a run in the top of the first inning with the help of an error and a RBI single by Drew Thornton to take a 1-0 lead, but Cornersville quickly counterpunched and scored a run in the bottom half of the frame to tie the game at 1-1. After Tyler Lowery drew a two-out walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch, Fox laced a RBI single into right centerfield.

The Cornersville Bulldogs finished second in the District 11-A tournament to Columbia Academy. Pictured are (front row, left to right) Chance Dyer, J.D. Crabtree, Carson Walker, Jesse Phillips, Michael Allen, Nate Huitt, (back row, left to right) David Looney, Jody Sullivan, Curt Taylor, Cody Caneer, Aaron Fox, Tyler Lowery, Ben Taylor, and Tate Lowery.

Tate Lowery held CA scoreless the next two innings, but ran into trouble in the top of the fourth, as Columbia Academy crossed home plate three time in the frame on the strength of a leadoff double by Luna, an error, a Thurman two-run double, and a RBI infield single by Lentz to seize a 4-1 advantage.

Rough times

In the top of the sixth, Columbia Academy roughed up Cornersville's bullpen and pushed across four more runs in the inning on the strength of two CHS errors, a bases loaded walk by Heflin, a Hayes RBI single, and a RBI single by Luna to extend their lead to 8-1.

The Bulldogs trimmed the deficit to 8-2 in the bottom of the sixth when David Looney scored on a sacrifice fly by Fox after reaching second base on an error and advancing to third on a Tyler Lowery single.

CA then tacked on a run in the top of the seventh thanks to a double by Lentz, a walk, and a double steal to open up a 9-3 advantage before Cornersville tallied a run in the bottom of the seventh with the aid of a Taylor single and two errors for the 9-3 final.