Bulldogs take down GCA in D11A tourney
The Bulldogs faced a win or go home situation on Monday night with a game against Grace Christian-Franklin, a team the Bulldogs fell to twice during the regular season by a combined four runs.
The Bulldogs roared back from a 2-0 deficit in the fourth inning to take a 7-2 lead into the seventh before escaping with a 7-5 nail biter to advance to the final round of the loser's bracket versus Richland for a chance to play in the championship.
"We were leaving guys on early," Bulldog coach Ben Putnam said. "We were getting guys on all night long but leaving them on. We finally found some ways to get them in. Wasn't always how you draw it up, but we were able to scratch them across and that was the difference in the game."
Bulldog sophomore Carson Stacey dominated the Lions for the better part of the contest, turning in a complete game performance with 19 first pitch strikes and two strikeouts.
"I wasn't locating the ball really good but I got the run support," Stacey said. "I just stayed in and battled."
"It feels good because nobody expected this," Stacey added. "I was expecting it, though, because Richland beat them Saturday and they were down. We were up."
The Bulldogs wore out Lions’ pitcher Zach White with 13 hits and scored all seven runs over the final four innings to pick up the huge tournament win.
Cam Whitaker and Tyler Wolaver led the Bulldogs with two RBI, while Michael Allen and Wolaver turned in three quality at-bats.
Wolaver, Allen, Ben Taylor, and Kolbe McMahon added two hits apiece.
The Lions managed to get on the board first as Cash Martin reached second base on a Bulldog error before Austin Kasick was able to take base on an errant throw and a subsequent bad throw to home plate allowed the first run of the game to score.
Carson Ford followed with a single to left and Ty Davidson brought home the second run of the contest with a deep fly out to right field which allowed Kasick to tag up and cross the plate.
"They've been in that spot a bunch this season and came back a bunch and they're level headed," Putnam said. "They don't need a bunch of rah-rah, firing up. They don't hang their heads. They were fine."
Putnam judged his team correctly as Taylor and Allen started off the inning with singles before Wolaver brought both runs home with a sharp hit and bad throw by the shortstop for the 2-2 tie, but the Bulldogs ultimately settled for the tie by leaving runners at second and third at the end of the frame.
The tie would not last long as the Taylor-Allen combo struck again with back-to-back singles before Whitaker dropped a single into right to bring the pair of seniors home and push the lead to 4-2.
The Bulldogs weren't finished as Eli Woodard led off the sixth with a single up the middle followed by a McMahon single and a Bryce Hagan single to load up the bases.
A White balk brought home the fifth Bulldog run of the contest and Graham Duke added the exclamation point with a perfectly executed bunt single to bring home McMahon and take a 6-2 lead into the bottom of the sixth.
The Bulldogs added one final security run in the top of the seventh when Whitaker beat the throw for an infield single and Wolaver delivered once again with a single into center field to bring home Whitaker for the convincing 7-2 lead.
The Lions made things interesting in the final half inning of the game as Grace started off the inning with back-to-back singles before Kasick brought home the first run with a double.
Ford followed with a RBI single into right field to trim the Bulldog lead to 7-4 and Davidson brought the lead down to 7-5 with a sacrifice fly to right field.
With the tying runs on base, Stacey forced Gavin Ford into a pop up in foul territory which was caught by Bulldog catcher Caleb Crowell to end the game and advance Cornersville to the final game in the loser's bracket.
"That was a pretty scaring situation," Stacey said about the late Lion run. "But I knew my defense had me and I had plenty of runs to back me up."
Cornersville 000 222 1-7 13 3
Grace Christian 002 000 3-5 9 1
Cornersville: Ben Taylor 2-for-4, Michael Allen 2-for-4, Cameron Whitaker 2-for-4, Tyler Wolaver 2-for-4, Kolbe McMahon 2-for-4, Bryce Hagan 1-for-3, Graham Duke 1-for-3, Eli Woodard 1-for-4
RBI: Graham Duke, Cameron Whitaker 2, Tyler Wolaver
RS: Allen 2, Whitaker 2, Taylor, Wolaver, McMahon
FC: Caleb Crowell, Taylor, Whitaker, Wolaver
HBP: Hagan, Duke
SB: Allen 2, Whitaker 2, Taylor,
E: Taylor 2, Duke
WP: Carson Stacey (7IP, 9H, 5R, 3ER, 2K, 1BB)
Grace Christian: Carson Ford 3-for-4, Jarrett Splendario 2-for-3, Baylor Jones 1-for-4, Ty Davidson 1-for-4, Maloney 1-for-3, Zack White 1-for-3
RBI: Jones 2, Davidson 2, C Ford
RS: Splendario 2, Austin Kasick, Jones, Maloney
SF: Davidson 2
ROE: Jones, Kasick, Solomon
SB: C Ford
CS: Jones, Davidson
LP: White (7IP, 13H, 7R, 5ER, 5K, 0BB)
E: Gavin Ford