Bulldogs run-rule Richland in 11-A tournament
The Cornersville Bulldogs sent ace lefty David Looney to the hill last night in the second round of the District 11-A Tournament at Columbia Academy versus Richland.
Looney was magnificent, giving up just three hits in the contest, while striking out 16 and walking two Richland batters.
"David threw a heck of a game and we made the plays we had to, got the 'W' and stayed out of the loser's bracket," said Cornersville coach Ben Putnam.
Knowing Looney would hold the Raiders to a maybe a run or two, the Bulldogs needed to just cross home plate a few times to advance to the winner's bracket semifinal, but instead the Bulldogs exploded on offense, run-ruling the Raiders 11-1 in six innings.
"The game was a lot closer than that, we struggled to put runs on the board for a while," said Putnam. "We kept having good at bats, but just couldn't get them across early, but we got one, we got two, and just kept working it and it broke open in the end."
Cornersville banged out 15 hits in the contest with catcher Aaron Fox leading the way with a 3-4 night at the dish, including two RBIs.
Leadoff man Tate Lowery went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and drove home the first Cornersville run in the bottom of the third inning that broke a scoreless tie.
Looney (2-4, RBI, BB), JD Crabtree (2-4, 2RBIs, 2RS), Chance Dyer (2-4, 3RBIs, RS), and Ben Taylor (2-4, 2RBIs) all had two hits in the ballgame for the Bulldogs.
"We don't have many just bats that people fear, we have got to be one through nine, having good at bats, hitting behind runners and playing small ball and we did all that tonight."
After Lowery knocked in the initial run in the third inning, Fox made it a 2-0 ballgame with an RBI single and the score stayed that way until the bottom of fifth inning when Dyer drilled a two-run double in to the left/center field gap, making it 4-0.
"It's nice to get that first run in and it takes pressure off David's back when we can score early and keep getting those runs in," said Lowery. "David does a great job, we play as hard as we can behind him and try to get as many runs as we can."
Zak Gordon led off the top of the sixth for Richland and drew a walk before advancing to second base on a ground ball out to Graham Duke at second base.
Looney struck out the next Richland batter, before Bryce Bubb lashed an RBI single up the middle, getting the Raiders on the board.
Looney whiffed the next Richland batter to end the threat and his Bulldog teammates got that one run back, plus six more in the bottom of the inning with Curt Taylor putting the game on ice with a two-run single that invoked the run-rule decision.
"We just knew we had to keep grinding and get as many hits as we could and as many runs as we could to help our pitcher," said Lowery. "We came out with the big win and it puts us in a good spot for the rest of the tournament to come."
The Bulldogs (15-9) will take on the top-seeded and host Columbia Academy Bulldogs (22-10), who beat Mt. Pleasant 6-1 prior to the Cornersville win Friday night.
Lowery said, "It's a blessing to be here, Columbia Academy is a good team, we can't take them lightly," said Lowery. "We have to come out and play ball against them, I think we can do it, we have all the talent in the world, so we just have to execute."
Richland 000001--1 3 4
Cornersville 002027--11 15 1
Richland: Zak Gordon 1-for-2, Will McRae 1-for-2, Bryce Bubb 1-for-2.
Cornersville: Aaron Fox 3-for-4, Tate Lowery 2-for-4, JD Crabtree 2-for-4, David Looney 2-for-4, Chance Dyer 2-for-4, Ben Taylor 2-for-2, Curt Taylor 1-for-4, Hunter Talley 1-for-2.
WP: David Looney
LP: Will McRae