Bulldogs squander late lead, swept by Lions

Friday, March 31, 2017
Ben Taylor tossed 5.2 innings before leaving the mound with a one-run lead Wednesday versus GCA.
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

After a tough 3-1 loss on Tuesday at Grace Christian School-Franklin (GCA), the Cornersville Bulldogs returned home on Wednesday where they squandered a three-run lead in an 8-6 loss to the Lions.

“We had a chance there to really take a step forward, but we let it slip away,” Cornersville coach Ben Putnam said. “We just didn’t have enough to close it out.”

Senior Ben Taylor turned in a great effort for Cornersville (5-5, 2-4), tossing 5.2 innings on the mound where he gave up just six hits, six runs (three earned), struck out two, and walked six GCA batters.

“Walks score, especially leadoff walks score,” Putnam said. “Take those away and we pitched well, fielded well, hit the ball well enough and we played well enough to win tonight, we just didn’t get enough things to go our way.”

Taylor also went 2-for-4 at the plate with an RBI, while Eli Woodard banged out three hits in the contest for the Bulldogs, who are tied for fifth place with Mt. Pleasant (2-6, 2-4) and Santa Fe (2-4, 2-4) in the District 11A standings.

Seventh ranked Columbia Academy (7-3, 6-0) leads the way, followed by Richland (5-1, 3-0), Culleoka (4-5, 4-2), and GCA (6-5, 2-2). Hampshire is in last place with a 1-6 overall mark and 0-5 in league play.

“We just have to win the rest of them (district games), hold our ground and hold serve from here on out,” Putnam said.

Michael Allen knocks an RBI single in the big, six-run fifth inning for the Bulldogs.

There was no scoring in the first two innings at Cornersville on Wednesday before the Lions broke through with a run in the top of the third on an RBI double by Carson Ford.

GCA starting pitcher Baylor Jones retired the Bulldogs in the bottom of the third and in the top of the fourth inning, the Lions tacked on two more runs on a two-run single by Grant Solomon to make it 3-0.

The Bulldogs did not score in the home half of the inning and Taylor did not allow any runs in the top of the fifth after giving up a leadoff double to Kolby Alonzo.

Cornersville third baseman Eli Woodard, who had three hits in the game, guns down a GCA runner in the fifth inning.

Cameron Whitaker drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the fifth inning and Woodard followed with an infield single.

Graham Duke walked to load the bases before Taylor sent Whitaker to the plate with Cornersville’s first run on an RBI single to left field.

A wild pitch scored Duke before Jones got a pop-up for the first out.

Knox Barnes drew a base on balls to reload the sacks and freshman Tyler Wolaver put the Bulldogs in the lead at 4-3 with a fielder’s choice RBI.

Kolbe McMahon and Whitaker followed with back-to-back RBI base knocks, giving Cornersville a 6-3 lead before Zak White came to mound for the Lions and got an inning ending strikeout to send the game to the sixth inning.

Things went downhill in the inning for the Bulldogs as three errors, three bases on balls, and a hit batsman handed GCA three runs to tie the game.

White retired the Bulldogs in the bottom of the sixth inning and in the top of the seventh, a one-out walk to Kitch Cash, followed by a hit batsman (Gavin Ford), and a single by Solomon loaded the bases.

White also walked to put GCA in front and Alonzo followed with an RBI single to make it 8-6.

Kolbe McMahon drills an RBI single that gave the Bulldogs a 6-3 lead in the fifth inning.

Cornersville did not mount a comeback in its final at-bat and the Lions got the series sweep for the second season in a row.

“The kids never quit,” Putnam said. “They came back from a deficit twice, but we just ran out of gas.”

The Bulldogs are back in action this weekend at the Viking Invitational at Unionville where they take on Nolensville (6 p.m.) and Community (8 p.m.) tonight.

Wednesday, March 29 at Cornersville

Grace Christian 001 203 2- 8 8 1

Cornersville 000 060 0-6 9 3

Grace Christian: Kolby Alonzo 3-for-4, Grant Solomon 2-for-3, Carson Ford 1-for-3, Baylor Jones 1-for-4, Ty Davidson 1-for-3

2B: Alonzo, Carson Ford, Solomon

RBI: Carson Ford 2, Solomon 2, Alonzo, Gavin Ford, Zak White

BB: White 4, Gavin Ford, Austin Kasick, Kitch Cash, Solomon

RS: Cash2, Davidson 2, White 2, Kasick, Solomon

SAC: Alonzo, Gavin Ford

ROE: Alonzo, Cash

HBP: Carson Ford, Davidson

SB: Kasick

CS: White

E: Gavin Ford

WP: Zak White

Cornersville: Eli Woodard 3-for-4, Ben Taylor 2-for-4, Michael Allen 1-for-4, Tyler Wolaver 1-for-3, Kolbe McMahon 1-for-3, Cameron Whitaker 1-for-3

RBI: Allen, Taylor, Whitaker, Wolaver, McMahon

BB: Graham Duke, Wolaver, Knox Barnes, Whitaker

RS: Woodard, Duke, Allen, Dakota Polk, Wolaver, Whittaker

SAC: Duke

ROE: Taylor

FC: Duke, Wolaver

HBP: McMahon

SB: Whitaker

E: Taylor 2, Woodard

LP: Michael Allen (0.2IP, 0H, 2R, 2ER, 2K, 1BB), Ben Taylor (5.2IP, 6H, 6R, 3ER, 2K, 6BB), Cameron Whitaker (0.2IP, 2H, 0R, 0ER, 1K, 1BB)

Tuesday, March 28 at Grace Christian

Cornersville 010 000 0-1 3 4

Grace Christian 000 111 X-3 6 1

Cornersville: Ben Taylor 1-for-3, Knox Barnes 1-for-2, Caleb Crowell 1-for-2

RBI: Kolbe McMahon

BB: Eli Woodard, Crowell

RS: Crowell

SAC: Barnes

ROE: Barnes

PIK: Woodard

E: Graham Duke 2, Taylor, Woodard

LP: Carson Stacey (6IP, 6H, 3R, 2ER, 6K, 1BB)

Grace Christian: Carson Ford 2-for-3, Austin Kasick 2-for-2, Kolby Alonzo 1-for-4, Grant Solomon 1-for-4

HR: Kasick

RBI: Kasick 2, Carson Ford

BB: Kasick

RS: Alonzo, Gavin Ford, Kasick

SAC: Jarrett Splendario

ROE: Gavin Ford, Ty Davidson, Solomon, Kitch Cash

SB: Alonzo, G Ford

CS: Carson Ford

E: Carson Ford

WP: Austin Kasick (7IP, 3H, 1R, 0ER, 8K, 2BB)