Bulldogs earn Region 6A berth
For the second day in a row the Cornersville Bulldogs (18-14) stared elimination in the face and refused to hang up their cleats for the season with a loser's bracket final against Richland (20-10-1) on Tuesday.
The Bulldogs fell behind 3-2 in the third inning, but came alive to score eight runs over the next three innings to take out a Raider squad 10-5 that had beaten Cornersville by four combined runs in the two regular season contests.
The Bulldogs guaranteed a Region 6A Tournament berth with the win and a spot in the 11A championship contest versus Columbia Academy later in the evening.
"Coach gave up a big pep talk that really boosted our energy," freshman second baseman Tyler Wolaver, who added two hits and two RBI for the second consecutive game, said. "Our bats finally got rolling one through nine, we played good defensively and we just played an all-around good game."
The Bulldogs picked up a dominant pitching performance for the second straight game from Graham Duke, who finished five innings and gave up just three runs to go along with a game-high seven strikeouts before giving way to Raymond Cooksey for the final two innings. Duke also added an RBI to help his own cause at the plate.
Cornersville beat up on Richland pitcher Skyler Tarpley by finishing with 13 hits for the second game in a row, led by sophomore shortstop Eli Woodard who led the Bulldogs with three hits and three RBI and the number nine hitter, Kolbe McMahon, who produced two hits and an RBI.
The Bulldogs took an early 2-0 lead into the bottom of the third before Whit Gibson and Tyler Briggs each dropped RBI singles to tie the game at 2-2 before a Bulldog throwing error allowed another run to score and give the Raiders its final lead of the game at 3-2 heading into the fourth inning.
Much like the Grace Christian game, the Bulldog bats got hotter as the game progressed as Cam Whitaker led off the fourth with a bloop double down the left field line.
Wolaver brought home Whitaker with an infield single to tie the game at 3-3 before a bad Raider throw to home allowed the fourth run to score. Duke followed up with a RBI single into left and the Bulldogs went into the bottom half of the inning with a 5-3 advantage.
Allen got things going in the fifth inning with a double to left field, followed by a Cam Whitaker single before Woodard brought home Allen with an RBI single for a 6-3 edge.
Wolaver added to the lead with a RBI triple before McMahon followed with an RBI single to push the Bulldog lead to 8-3.
Woodard put the game away in the sixth inning by blasting a single to right field that brought home Caleb Crowell and Michael Allen for a 10-3 lead.
The Raiders started a seventh inning rally against Cooksey, starting the inning off with a Tarpley double, a Briggs single, and Gibson walk before Tarpley took home on a wild pitch to trim one run off the deficit.
Nick Barron followed with a single to reload the bases and Ty Landers brought home the final run of the game with a single into left, but Cooksey dug down and forced Andrew Morgan into a fielder's choice out at the plate before ending the game on a Hunter Inman ground out to shortstop.
The Bulldogs went on to face Columbia Academy in the nightcap, but Cornersville's bats finally went cold as CA beat the 'Dawgs 2-0 to win the District 11A championship.
Caleb Crowell Graham Duke and Ben Taylor were selected to the All-District 11A Team.
Cornersville advanced to the Region 6A Tournament for the first since making a run to the state tournament in 2015.
The Bulldogs travel to top-ranked Loretto (28-3) on Monday at 7 p.m. for a chance to lock up at sectional berth.
Cornersville 002 332 0-10 13 3
Richland 003 000 2-5 8 5
Cornersville: Eli Woodard 3-for-4, Graham Duke 2-for-5, Tyler Wolaver 2-for-4, Kolbe McMahon 2-for-4, Caleb Crowell 1-for-3, Ben Taylor 1-for-4, Cameron Whitaker 1-for-4, Michael Allen 1-for-4
B: Cameron Whitaker, Tyler Wolaver
RBI: Woodard 3, Wolaver 2, Crowell, Taylor, Duke, McMahon
RS: Tilden Jackson 2, Whitaker 2, Wolaver 2, Bryce Hagan, Allen, Woodard, McMahon
ROE: Whitaker 2, Allen
E: Crowell, Hagan, Woodard
WP: Graham Duke (5IP, 3H, 3R, 0ER, 7K, 2BB), Raymond Cooksey (2IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, 2K, 2BB)
Cornersville 000 000 0-0 1 2
Columbia Academy 002 000 X-2 8 1
Cornersville: Kolbe McMahon 1-for-2
BB: Bryce Hagan 2
ROE: Caleb Crowell
E: Eli Woodard 2
DP: Hagan, Blake Pickett
LP: Michael Allen (6IP, 8H, 2R, 2ER, 2K, 0BB)
WP: Blake Kincaid (7IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 6K, 2BB)