Bulldogs hammer Hampshire
The Cornersville Bulldogs (14-13) showed no signs of playoff jitters on Wednesday night, as they defeated the seventh seeded Hampshire Hawks 10-0 in six innings at home in the first round of the District 11-A tournament.
Having scored a total of 22 runs in the two regular season meetings between the two teams, the second seeded Bulldogs continued to feast on Hampshire pitching and pounded out 11 hits against three Hawk hurlers to go along with three walks and two hit batsmen.
CHS catcher Cody Blackburn continued his recent hot streak at the plate and recorded his third straight multi-hit game by going 3-for-4 with a double, a triple, and 3 RBI. Starting pitcher Matt Callender tallied two hits for the Bulldogs as well, while Neil Davis (2 RBI), Aaron Fox (1 RBI), David Looney (1 RBI), Dallas Wright (1 RBI), Jacob Griffis, and Zach Richards each had one hit.
"We got off to kind of a slow start, but the guys took care of business tonight," said Cornersville coach Ben Putman. "Cody has gotten hot at the right time. I'm glad he's out of that funk that he was in. In baseball, you have ups and downs. He was coming out of a slump, but he's hitting the ball well now."
Callender also went the distance on the mound to earn his third win of the year and limited Hampshire to just two hits and a walk in the contest to go along with seven strikeouts.
Connor Smith and Blake Rochelle each singled to account for both Hawk hits. Hampshire starting pitcher Chris Cousino suffered the loss after allowing six runs over three innings on five hits and a walk.
Callender worked around a leadoff single by Smith in the top of the first inning before the Bulldogs pushed across two runs in the bottom half of the frame to take a 2-0 lead. After drawing a leadoff walk and stealing second, Tyler Lowery advanced to third on a groundout by Tate Lowery. Blackburn then belted a RBI triple to deep right field before courtesy runner Jody Sullivan raced home on a RBI groundout by Davis.
In the bottom of the second, Cornersville hung up another crooked number and crossed home plate four times in the frame on the strength of two hit batsmen, a Callender single, a RBI single by Fox, a Tate Lowery sacrifice fly, and a two-run double by Blackburn to forge a 6-0 advantage.
The Bulldogs left two men on base in the third inning, but tallied a run in the bottom of the fourth to stretch their lead to 7-0. Following a two-out infield single by Blackburn, courtesy runner Jody Sullivan stole second before scoring on a Davis RBI bloop single.
Hampshire had a chance to cut into the deficit in the top of the fifth after Rochelle led off the inning with a single and stole second, but Callender struck out the next three Hawk batters to keep the shutout intact.
The Bulldogs then increased their lead to 9-0 by plating two runs in the bottom of the fifth with the help of a leadoff single by Richards, two walks, a Looney RBI single, and a RBI groundout by Tate Lowery.
After Callender picked off a runner at second base to snuff out a Hampshire scoring threat in the top of the sixth, Cornersville brought the mercy rule into effect by notching a run in the bottom half of the frame. Griffis blasted a one-out double off the base of the left centerfield fence before advancing to third on a groundout by Richards. Wright then smacked a RBI single into centerfield to cap the Bulldogs' 10-0 victory.