Bulldogs beat Eagles, set up district title tilt
A beautiful spring evening, perfect for baseball was the setting for a chance to grab first place away from the Eagleville Eagles (17-7-1, 8-0). That was the challenge for the host Cornersville Bulldogs (17-3, 7-1) as they took the field to play the first game of a home and away series.
The Bulldogs, behind the pitching and hitting of Graham Duke and timely hitting in the bottom of the sixth won the game and with the win a share of first place in District 8-A by a score of 5-1.
Duke pitched a superb game as he struck out 11 Eagles, walked five, and gave up only four hits.
“We played a solid game tonight, everybody played as a team,” Duke said.
The Bulldogs’ right-hander set down the Eagles 1-2-3 in both the first and second innings.
Duke then led off the second inning with a long shot over the left field fence to put the Bulldogs up 1 to 0.
Eagles’ right fielder Ethan Cobb led off the third inning with a base hit up the middle and advanced to second after one out when Issac Gleaves drew a walk.
Cobb wandered too far off the bag and a great throw by Bulldog catcher Caleb Crowell to shortstop Tyler Wolaver gunned Cobb down for out number two.
Duke struck out Eagleville’s Ryan Wells for out number three to end the inning.
Eagles’ pitcher Caleb Holcraft gave up a base hit to Cameron Whitaker in the first and despite the second inning Duke home run, pitched as good a game as Duke.
The Eagles got to Duke for a run in the top of the fourth when Holcraft led off with a walk, but was erased on a fielder’s choice after one out when Blake Brewer grounded to short.
A base on balls to Bennett Schaffler put two men on.
Blake Joyner, the Eagles left fielder laced a hit to left to drive home Brewer to tie the game at 1-1 before Duke struck out Cobb to end the Eagles threat.
The Bulldogs went quietly in the bottom of the fourth.
The top of the fifth saw Eagleville mount a serious threat with a leadoff base hit by Eagles catcher Ty Reynolds.
Gleaves doubled to the gap in left, putting runners on second and third with no outs.
Then the wheels fell off for the Eagles as the Bulldog defense stood up.
Wells bounced a ball to third baseman Logan Courtemanche, who’s throw to catcher Crowell beat Reynolds to the plate for the first out of the inning.
Gleaves, having advanced to third on the throw home was promptly thrown out by Crowell when he ventured too far down the line, got in a rundown and was tagged out by shortstop Wolaver for the second out.
Duke struck out Holcraft for the third out.
“We made a couple of good plays in the fifth, the play at home was a big play,” Cornersville coach Ben Putnam said.
The bottom of the fifth saw Tilden Jackson hit a one-out bloop single to right.
A bad throw on a pickoff attempt by Eagle catcher Reynolds moved him to second, but the Bulldogs could not advance Jackson and he was left stranded there.
After five innings the score was still tied a 1-1.
Duke was till pitching strong in the top of the sixth and struck out the side.
The sixth saw the Bulldogs dig in and battle hard.
Blake Pickett led off with a base hit.
Pickett was then thrown out when Whitaker grounded into a fielder’s choice before a base on balls by Wolaver put two on base.
Crowell slashed a base hit to score Whitaker, making it 2-1 Bulldogs.
Duke drew a walk, and when Luke Terry pinch ran for him the bases were loaded.
Raymond Cooksey lined a hit to center for two runs to make the score 4-1 and Eli Woodard slashed a two-out hit to right that scored Terry.
Woodard was tagged out at second trying to stretch the hit into a double.
At the end of six innings the score was Bulldogs 5, Eagles 1.
Duke came back out to the mound, but walked Blake Joyner before getting an out when Cobb grounded into a fielder’s choice.
A ground ball to Courtemanche by pinch hitter Nathan Brewer resulted in the second out of the inning.
Duke walked Gleaves and Putnam strolled out to the mound and brought in Cooksey in relief.
Cooksey threw four pitches, three strikes to Wells and the game was over.
The final Cornersville 5, Eagleville 1.
Coach Putnam summed it up when he said, “It was a big win for our guys and we played a good team. We needed this to play another day for the district championship.”
The winner of the series finale at Eagleville on Tuesday is the District 8-A champions.
Eagleville 000 100 0-1 4 1
Cornersville 010 004-5 7 1
Eagleville: Blake Joyner 1-for-2, Ethan Cobb 1-for-3, Ty Reynolds 1-for-2, Issac Gleaves 1-for-1.
BB: Gleaves 2, Scheffler, Holcraft, Joyner.
FC: Wells, Brewer, Cobb.
Team LOB: 6
LP: Holdcraft (5.1IP, 6H, 5R, 5ER, 4K, 2BB).
Andrew Moix (.2IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 1K, 0BB).
Cornersville: Graham Duke 1-for-2, Caleb Crowell 1-for-3, Blake Pickett 1-for 3, Eli Woodard 1-for-3, Cam Whitaker 1-for 3, Tilden Jackson 1-for-3, Raymond Cookey 1-for-3.
BB: Wolaver, Duke.
RS: Duke, Luke Terry, Whitaker, Henlee Mitchell, Wolaver.
HR: Graham Duke
RBI: Cooksey 2, Crowell, Duke, Woodard
Team LOB: 2
WP: Duke (6.2IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, 11K, 5BB).
Save: Cooksey (1/3IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB).