Bulldogs comeback not enough versus Giles County
Coming off of two consecutive two-run losses to district leader Richland to start the week, the Cornersville Bulldogs went back to work for the third day in a row, hosting 2A Giles County on Wednesday night.
And despite the Bobcats (10-9) coming into Cornersville with a red hot five-game winning streak that includes two wins over the same Richland squad by a 22-6 margin, the Bulldogs hung tough by coming back from a 10-2 deficit to lose a close 12-9 ballgame.
"They've shown this all year," Bulldog coach Ben Putnam said. "They don't get down, they battle back. We've just got to quit putting ourselves in these holes."
"A lot of close comebacks are great," Putnam added. "Better than blowouts, but better to not be in that hole to begin with."
The Bulldogs hung tight with the Bobcats by taking a 1-1 tie into the third inning, but the visitors from Pulaski outscored the home team 9-1 over the next three innings to take a commanding lead into the sixth before Cornersville made a comeback.
"We looked at a lot of pitches and really put pressure on the pitcher later in the game," Bulldog catcher Caleb Crowell, who led Cornersville with four hits, said. "We made their defense kind of tire out and put some pressure on them too."
Eli Woodard helped the offense with 3RBI to lead the Bulldogs while Graham Duke, Tyler Wolaver, and Bryce Hagan each brought a run home.
Cam Whitaker provided a spark with four quality at-bats including two singles, a double, a hit by a pitch and added four stolen bases.
Whitaker also closed out the game on the mound after the Bobcats went through a trio of Bulldog pitchers including Raymond Cooksey, Michael Allen, and Woodard into the fifth inning.
The Bulldogs tied the game at one a piece after Graham Duke and Allen drew walks to start the first inning before advancing on a Whitaker single to left.
A walk to Woodard brought home the tying run, but pinch runner Jake Singleton was caught stealing home on a failed squeeze play and Bobcat pitcher Ben Peoples struck out the next two batters to end the threat with Bulldog runners on second and third.
Bryce Gibson brought home a run with a triple in the third inning and Peoples sent Gibson home with a single to left to claim back the lead at 3-1 before the end of the inning.
The Bobcats did the most damage in the fifth inning as Max Jett jacked a triple deep to the center field wall to bring home three runs before Dylan Carmon brought home another with an RBI single followed by the last Giles County run of the inning on a Bulldog fielding error.
Down 10-2 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, the Bulldogs showed why the team has been a force to be reckoned with throughout the season by scoring five runs to bring a sure blowout to a 10-7 game heading into the final inning.
The rally started with a Crowell double deep onto the center field fence before Whitaker produced another single and Woodard loaded the bases on a walk.
The Bulldogs were helped by the Bobcats when the catcher misfired to third on a Crowell steal allowing the Bulldog catcher to trot home for the first run of the inning.
Whitaker followed suit by stealing second and third and for the second consecutive attempt to catch a player a third base, the Bobcat backstop misfired allowing Whitaker to easily reach home.
Wolaver then cranked out a single past second base to score Woodard, followed by a Hagan shot to right field for a triple and another Bulldog RBI.
Duke provided the final run of the inning with a single up the middle to score Hagan and what was once a comfortable eight-run lead suddenly became a 10-7 ballgame.
The Bobcats added a couple of security runs in the top of the seventh to take a 12-7 lead ,but the Bulldogs refused to go away as Crowell started off the inning with a single followed by an Allen walk before Whitaker smacked an RBI double to the left center fence.
Woodard kept the rally alive with an RBI ground out to second base to cut the deficit to 12-9, but Bobcat reliever Mack Young came in to strike out the final two batters and Giles County escaped with a three-run win.
"We were facing some pretty good pitching," Crowell said. "And with Columbia Academy coming up I think it got us ready for timing and (playing Giles) got us better than practice would have any day."
The Bulldogs will now turn to a two-game series against Santa Fe (2-10) next Monday and Tuesday before taking to the road to return the favor in Giles County next Thursday.
Giles County 102 250 2-12 12 2
Cornersville 010 105 2-9 10 3
Cornersville: Caleb Crowell 4-for-4, Cameron Whittaker 3-for-3, Bryce Hagan 2-for-4, Graham Duke 1-for-4
2B: Caleb Crowell, Cameron Whitaker
3B: Bryce Hagan
RBI: Eli Woodard 3, Hagan, Duke, Whitaker, Tyler Wolaver
BB: Woodard 2, Michael Allen 2, Ben Taylor
RS: Crowell 2, Whittaker 2, Hagan, Dakota Polk, Allen, Woodard, Wolaver
SB: Whitaker 6, Woodard 3, Crowell
CS: Jake Singleton
E: Crowell, Michael Allen, Tilden Jackson
LP: Michael Allen