Hitters come through in Bulldog win

Friday, May 1, 2015
Cornersville senior baseball players (from left to right) Blake Calahan, Hunter Talley, Chance Dyer, Curt Taylor, David Looney, Tate Lowery, and Justin Black were honored before the Bulldogs' game against Middle Tennessee Christian School. Tribune photos by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

On Tuesday, the Cornersville Bulldogs (14-9) were able overcome some sloppy play in the field with clutch hitting, as they rallied to defeat the Middle Tennessee Christian School Cougars 11-6 at home on Senior Day despite committing four errors.

MTCS (14-14) held a 3-0 lead through the first two innings of play, but the Bulldogs caught fire offensively and crossed home plate 11 times over the next four frames to seize an 11-3 advantage before claiming their 14th victory of the season.

Productive day

Aided by a six-run sixth inning, Cornersville finished with 10 hits overall against three Cougar hurlers while going 6-for-12 at the plate with runners in scoring position.

"They're a good ballclub and we knew we'd have to play well to win. We didn't hit well early, but we eventually got our bats going later in the game," said CHS coach Ben Putman.

Ben Taylor led the Bulldogs' offensive attack by going 3-for-3 with a RBI and two runs scored. Aaron Fox tallied two hits and a RBI for Cornersville as well, while J.D. Crabtree (2 RBI), David Looney (2 RBI), Chance Dyer (1 RBI), Hunter Talley (1 RBI), and Curt Taylor each had one hit.

Cornersville starting hurler Graham Duke delivers a pitch to home plate in the top of the first inning against Middle Tennessee Christian School.

Eighth grade starting pitcher Graham Duke pitched four solid innings to earn his fourth win of the year and allowed three runs, two earned, on three hits and a walk to go along with four strikeouts.

Relief help

Tate Lowery came on in relief of Duke and yielded one walk in one scoreless inning of work, while Crabtree gave up three runs, one earned, over the final two frames on three hits and four walks.

Griffin Harper collected two hits and 2 RBI to pace MTCS at the plate. Cougar reliever Connor Ward suffered the loss and gave up three runs over two and a third innings on three hits and a walk.

MTCS grabbed an early 1-0 lead by notching a run in the top of the first with the help of an error and a two-out RBI bloop single by Will Barham before opening up a 3-0 advantage in the second inning on a Harper two-run triple.

Cougar starting pitcher Austin Melton retired Cornersville in order in the bottom of the second, but ran into trouble in the third inning, as the Bulldogs pushed across three-runs in the frame to tie the game at 3-3.

Hitting picks up

Curt Taylor and Lowery sandwiched a pair of walks around a single by Ben Taylor to load the bases with one out, before Looney drove in Curt Taylor with a RBI groundout to make it 3-1. Ben Taylor then came home on a RBI infield single by Crabtree while Lowery also scored on the play thanks to a MTCS throwing error.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Bulldogs scratched out another run to pull ahead 4-3. After Dyer was hit by a pitch and stole second, Ben Taylor roped a two-out RBI single down the left field line.

Cornersville stretched their lead to 5-3 in the bottom of the fifth when Lowery raced home on a Crabtree sacrifice fly after drawing a leadoff walk, stealing second and advancing to third on a groundout by Looney.

The Bulldogs then blew the game open in the bottom of the sixth by crossing home plate six times in the frame on the strength of a Talley RBI bunt single, a sacrifice fly by Lowery, a Looney RBI double, a RBI single by Fox, a Dyer RBI single, and an error to forge an 11-3 advantage.

MTCS made things interesting in the top of the seventh and pushed across three runs in the inning to cut the deficit to 11-6 before loading the bases with two outs, but Crabtree struck out Parker Bates to finally end the game.