Bulldogs bite Tigers in extra innings

Wednesday, April 25, 2018
The Bulldogs and their fans celebrate as Tyler Wolaver (7) scores standing up to give Cornersville a 5-2 lead in the top of the eighth inning.
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

Cornersville’s luck on the baseball diamond versus Marshall County High School has not been good historically, losing 14-out-of-15 ballgames since 2002 with the only win coming in 2009 via an 8-7 victory at Frog Bottom.

On Thursday night at Joe George Field in Lewisburg, the Bulldogs broke the drought with an exciting 5-2 win in eight innings.

“We needed to bounce back after a disappointing loss at Fayetteville last night and we got Eagleville coming up, the best team in our district, so to get this tune-up against a really good team like Lewisburg was good,” Cornersville coach Ben Putnam said. “We were excited to play a good team and get ready for Monday (at Eagleville), so to come out with the win was nice.”

Cornersville coach Ben Putnam gets the Bulldogs ready to play with a pre-game pep talk.

Cornersville fell behind 2-0 early, but mounted a late comeback to tie the game in the sixth inning and scored three runs in the top of the eighth before Raymond Cooksey slammed the door on the Tigers to complete the triumph.

Tyler Wolaver started on the mound and pitched four solid innings of four-hit ball and came up with the big hit for the Bulldogs in the top of the eighth inning when he slammed a two-run single and raced all the way around the bases on a Marshall County error.

“There has been going on back and forth all week about this game,” Wolaver said. “This feels really good and is a confidence booster for me for the rest of the season and the team came out and got this ‘W’.”

The Tigers huddle as Marshall County coach Mike “Monk” Reese gives his boys a pre-game pep talk.

Wolaver went 2-for-4 at the plate in the contest and also drove in the game-tying run in the sixth inning on a sacrifice fly RBI.

“Tyler has been a guy who has come a long way at the plate and we need him to be hot and hopefully he is getting hot at the right time,” Putnam said.

Graham Duke, Caleb Crowell, Cooksey, Kolbe McMahon, and Cameron Whitaker all had one hit apiece for Cornersville.

Preston Shelton started on the hill for the Tigers and tossed seven innings of solid baseball, giving up two unearned runs on four hits, while striking six and walking zero Bulldogs’ batters.

Colton Barber picked up the loss for Marshall County.

Jay Lyons went 2-for-3 with a double, a base on balls and a run scored and Walker Whaley, Jacob Autry, Zack Graves, Jackson Coward, and Hunter Haurez all had one base knock apiece for the Tigers.

Coward produced the only runs in the game for the Tigers with a big two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the third inning.

Both starting pitchers escaped first inning jams and Shelton struck the Bulldogs in order in the top of the second.

Wolaver walked two Tigers in the bottom of the inning, but pitched his way out of it on an inning-ending fly ball to Blake Pickett in right field.

Cornersville went down 1-2-3 in the top of the third and Autry reached on a one-out error in the bottom of the inning.

J.W. Beasley came in to run for the Marshall County catcher before Wolaver got the second out on a pop-up to Tilden Jackson at second base.

Jackson Coward slams a two-run double in the bottom of the third inning.

Lyons stroked a two-out double to put runners on second and third before Coward drilled a shot in the left/center field gap to plate both runners.

Shelton came up with his third inning in a row of no baserunners in the top of the fourth inning and Wolaver pitched a scoreless bottom half of the frame.

Kolbe McMahon reached on an infield single to break Shelton’s 12 straight outs streak, but a pop-up to shortstop Zach Graves in shallow center field ended the inning.

Cooksey came to the mound in relief of Wolaver in the home half of the inning and the Tigers got two baserunners on with one out via an error and a walk to Lyons, but Cooksey got out of the jam on back-to-back groundball outs to Logan Courtemanche at third base.

Shelton whiffed the Cornersville leadoff hitter in the top of the sixth inning before Bryce Hagan reached first base on an infield miscue.

Crowell came up with a Texas leaguer to left field and the runners moved to second and third on a passed ball before a wild pitch scored Hagan.

Wolaver knocked in Crowell with a fly ball to make it 2-2 before Shelton got another fly ball out to end the inning.

Haurez led off the bottom of the inning with a base hit to center field and was sacrificed to second one out later by Walker Whaley, but once again Cooksey escaped, this time with an inning ending strikeout.

Preston Shelton, who tossed seven innings and gave up two unearned runs on four hits, throws to first for an attempted pickoff play.

Shelton finished his stint on the mound with a 1-2-3 top of the seventh inning and the Tigers threatened to win the game in the home half of the inning when Graves drew a one-out base on balls and Lyons followed with an infield single.

Cooksey snared a grounder back to the mound and threw to first for the second out and struck out the next Tiger batter to send the game to extra innings.

Whitaker led off the eighth with a base hit and stole second before Duke walked.

Barber struck out the next Cornersville batter before Crowell moved both runners up with a sacrifice bunt.

Wolaver stood in the batter’s box and drilled a line drive base hit to center field and the ball got past the outfielder and went all the way to fence, allowing Wolaver to circle the bases and score standing up to put the Bulldogs in front 5-2.

“Before I came up coach Putnam looked at me and said ‘I know you got this’ and he had confidence in me,” Wolaver said. “It was a fastball right down the middle so I just took it where it went and it just so happens they had an error and we cleared the bases.”

“That’s just part of baseball, that’s baseball for you.”

Raymond Cooksey came in to pitch four innings of scoreless relief to pick up the win on the mound for the Bulldogs.

Cooksey, who has been having a fabulous season at the plate and on the mound for Cornersville, set down the Tigers 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning to end the game.

“The dude (Cooksey) has been outstanding on the mound in a kind of a super reliever role,” Putnam said. “He is not that one inning closer, he is that guy that comes in and can go three, four, five (innings). He is like an extra starter and when you go extra innings, we needed that from him tonight.”

Cornersville 000 002 03-5 7 1

MCHS 002 000 00-2 7 2

Cornersville: Tyler Wolaver 2-for-4, Graham Duke 1-for-3, Caleb Crowell 1-for-3, Raymond Cooksey 1-for-4, Kolbe McMahon 1-for-3, Cameron Whitaker 1-for-3.

RS: Duke, Bryce Hagan, Crowell, Wolaver, Whitaker.

BB: Duke.

RBI: Wolaver 3.

SAC: Crowell.

ROE: Hagan.

SB: Whitaker.

Team LOB: 4


E: Wolaver.

WP: Raymond Cooksey (4IP, 3H, 0R, 0ER, 3K, 2BB), Tyler Wolaver (4IP, 4H, 2R, 0ER, 4K, 2BB).

Marshall County: Jay Lyons 2-for-3, Walker Whaley 1-for-3, Jacob Autry 1-for-4, Zack Graves 1-for-2, Jackson Coward 1-for-4, Hunter Haurez 1-for-4.

RS: J.W. Beasley, Lyons.

BB: Preston Shelton, Graves, Lyons, Colton Barber.

2B: Coward, Lyons.

RBI: Coward 2.

SAC: Whaley.

ROE: Autry.

HBP: Graves, Whaley.

SB: Graves.

Team LOB: 12


E: Ryan Kirby, Lyons.

LP: Colton Barber (1IP, 3H, 3R, 2ER, 1K, 1BB), Preston Shelton (7IP, 4H, 2R, 0ER, 6K, 0BB).