Bulldog bats come alive vs. Culleoka

Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Cornersville shortstop Tate Lowery hauls in a throw from catcher Aaron Fox while Culleoka's Peyton Prince steals second base in the top of the third inning. Tribune photos by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

The Cornersville Bulldogs didn't let some early adversity unnerve them (12-7, 9-2 District), as they overcame a shaky start to defeat the Culleoka Warriors 12-2 at home in six innings on Monday night.

Aided by three Cornersville errors, Culleoka (5-11, 3-5 District) held a 2-1 lead through the first two and a half innings of play, but the Bulldogs quickly righted the ship and outscored the Warriors 11-0 the rest of the way to claim their third straight win.

Solo second

With Monday's victory, Cornersville remained in sole possession of second place in the District 11-A standings.

After throwing a no-hitter against Culleoka last season, Bulldog starting pitcher David Looney once again baffled the Warriors and racked up 16 strikeouts in six innings of work while allowing two runs, only one earned, on one hit and three walks to run his record to 6-0 on the season.

"We did not play well early. We kicked the ball around and made some errors, but we bounced back and tightened up our defense after that," said Cornersville coach Ben Putman. "When we didn't play well behind David, he kept making pitches. He battled and still managed to go the distance."

The Bulldogs, conversely, pounded out 13 hits against three Culleoka hurlers. Tate Lowery (1 RBI) and J.D. Crabtree led Cornersville's offensive attack by tallying three hits apiece and combining to score five runs. Aaron Fox notched two hits and a RBI as well, while Curt Taylor (2 RBI), Ben Taylor (2 RBI), Hunter Talley (2 RBI), Chance Dyer (1 RBI), and Graham Duke (1 RBI) each had one hit.

Runs and hits

"We finally got to their pitching late. We had to go through the lineup a few times, but once we started scoring some runs we swung the bats well," said Putman.

Warrior starting pitcher Peyton Prince suffered the loss on the mound and allowed four runs, two earned, over four innings on five hits and a walk. Gabe Montoya (1 RBI) singled in the top of the third inning to account for Culleoka's lone hit of the game.

The Bulldogs grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Lowery scored on a Warrior throwing error after leading off the inning with a single and advancing to third on a sacrifice bunt by Looney and a Crabtree single.

Cornersville right fielder J.D. Crabtree makes a running catch on a fly ball by Culleoka's Brian Greene in the top of the second inning.

Looney held Culleoka scoreless in the top of the second, but the Warriors notched two runs in the third inning with the help of an error, a hit batsman, two walks, and an RBI infield single by Montoya to seize a 2-1 advantage.

Bulldogs bite

Culleoka's lead would prove to be short lived, as Cornersville plated three runs in the bottom half of the third to pull back ahead 4-2. Lowery belted a triple to deep right field before coming home on a RBI sacrifice bunt by Looney while Looney reached first base on a Warrior error. After Crabtree was hit by pitch, Fox drove in courtesy runner Blake Calahan with a RBI single before Crabtree scampered home on a sacrifice fly by Dyer.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Bulldogs opened up some breathing room and pushed across four runs in the frame on the strength of a Duke sacrifice fly and RBI singles by Ben Taylor, Talley, and Lowery to forge an 8-2 lead.

Cornersville then brought the mercy rule into effect in the sixth inning by crossing home plate four more times behind a Crabtree single, a single by Fox, a Duke walk, a two-run single by Curt Taylor, an error, and a Talley RBI groundout to cap their 12-2 triumph.