Taylor walk-off sends Bulldogs to victory over Moore County

Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Cornersville catcher Caleb Crowell crushes a Moore County pitch over the left field fence for his second home run of the season.
Tribune photos by Mike Inglsbee

The Cornersville Bulldogs (10-7) came into Friday night’s game against former district rival Moore County on a tear, winning its past three games by a combined score of 49-9, but they needed some last minute heroics from one of their senior leaders to edge past the Raiders in a 5-4 win.

Cornersville took a 4-1 lead into the fourth inning before Moore County (4-9) slowly inched its way back to tie the game at 4-4 in the fifth, but starting pitcher Ben Taylor delivered a walk-off game winning double in the bottom of the seventh to give the Bulldogs its fifth win in a row.

"We're swinging the bats pretty good right now," Cornersville coach Ben Putnam said. "We left a lot of guys on base the first time we played them. We've had a good week and a half of hitting, it's really kind of hit that spot where the guys have had 30-to-40 at bats now on the season and they're finally kind of getting comfortable with live pitching and I think our bats are coming around."

The Bulldog pitching effort was tremendous as senior Ben Taylor and sophomore Cameron Whitaker combined for six innings of seven hit ball, while giving up four runs.

Cornersville was led in the batter’s box by Michael Allen and Caleb Crowell, who each hit a solo home run, and Taylor added the game winning hit in the seventh inning.

"The bats are coming around and the pitching is good enough to give us a chance to win every night," Putnam stated. "We've just got to make the plays behind them. That's what has been letting us down for the most part."

The Raiders struck first on the scoreboard as Jimmy Stewart reached on a walk before taking second base on a sacrifice bunt.

Ryder Morey hit a sharp grounder to third base, but Eli Woodard bobbled the ball, allowing Stewart to score for a 1-0 lead.

Taylor got out of the jam after walking Bryson Dobbs, sitting down the next two batters as the Raiders left runners at second and third to end the inning.

The Bulldogs wasted little time tying things up as Michael Allen launched his first career home run deep into center field for a 1-1 score.

"I just got up there and wanted to put the ball in play," Allen said. "I struggled batting last night against Huntland, so I wanted to put the bat on the ball. I found my pitch and was able to drive it."

The Bulldogs were not finished as Whitaker followed with an infield single and Raider pitcher Dylan Knight walked Knox Barnes and Bryce Hagan to load the bases.

Knight's struggles continued as a Woodard walk pushed the lead to 2-1 before Graham Duke hit a deep fly ball to center field, which allowed Whitaker to tag up for a 3-1 lead.

Sophomore pitcher Cam Whitaker throws a strike after relieving Ben Taylor in the third inning of the Bulldogs’ one-run win over Moore County on Friday.

After pitching just two innings Taylor was replaced on the mound with Whitaker, who continued where the senior pitcher left off, facing three batters and forcing three outs.

"Ben didn't throw much in the district games and we wanted to get him a little tune up before next Tuesday when he throws again," Putnam said about the early pitching change.

The power hitting continued into the third inning for the Bulldogs as catcher Caleb Crowell led off the inning with a solo shot deep into left field to give Cornersville a 4-1 advantage.

"It was a 3-2 count, so I had a two strike swing approach on it, so I really didn't think I got all my power behind it," Crowell said. "I honestly didn't know it was out when I hit the ball, but I thought I got under it pretty good."

The run was the last until the final inning and the Raiders made up ground with a Coy Cashion two-run home run in the fourth and a Knight single into left to score Clay Burnett to tie the game at 4-4 in the fifth inning.

The Bulldogs wasted little time in the seventh regaining the momentum as Graham Duke led the inning off with a walk and a steal before Taylor cranked a double into left center field to score Duke and give the Bulldogs its fourth win in a row.

"I didn't want to go extras, I wanted to score a run," Putnam said. "We had our two, three, and four hitters coming up and we needed it win it right there."

The Bulldogs lost 2-0 to Richland on Monday and 9-7 on Tuesday. Cornersville entertains 2A Giles County tonight at 6:30 p.m.

Moore County 010 210 0-4 7 5

Cornersville 031 000 1-5 6 4

Cornersville: Caleb Crowell 2-for-3, Ben Taylor 1-for-4, Michael Allen 1-for-3, Bryce Hagen 1-for-1

2B: Taylor

HR: Crowell, Allen

RBI: Crowell, Allen, Duke, Woodard, Taylor

BB: Hagen 2, Knox Barnes, Woodard, Duke

RS: Duke, Crowell, Allen, Jake Singleton, Hagen

SAC: Barnes

SF: Duke

ROE: Duke 2, Cameron Whitaker

SB: Whitaker 2, Hagan

CS: Whitaker

E: Woodard 2, Tyler Wolaver, Crowell

WP: Cameron Whittaker (5IP, 6H, 3R, 2ER, 1K, 1BB), Ben Taylor (2IP, 1H, 1R, 0ER, 2K, 2BB)