Dogs hammer Tigers 16-0
By Greg Sullivan
Who's on first? Nobody was defensively for Greene County when they appeared to have a Morgan County base runner caught in a rundown in the third inning of the Diamond Dogs' 16-0 win Monday in Madison.
To everyone's surprise the ball rolled to the fence, prolonging an error-riddled third inning in which the Diamond Dogs tacked up three runs to stretch their lead to 6-0. It was the fourth inning, however, when the Dogs put the Tigers away, scoring 10 runs to force umpires to call the game early.
Defensive errors are a nuisance that plague a lot of high school programs from time to time. The Dogs, themselves, struggled with them earlier this season. Monday, however, the shoe was on the other foot.
It must be pointed out, with some big hits from their batters and some stellar pitching from Caleb Duvall, the help of their opponent's errors didn't make much difference in the outcome of the game.
Bulldog Head Coach Brandon Patch said he was glad to see his team play well defensively and get a region win, especially after his team had to wait four extra days to take a swing at getting the bad taste out of their mouths from last Tuesday's Oglethorpe loss due to two rain-outs in the latter part of last week.
"It was a solid defensive effort that began with Caleb getting ground balls and the defense making routine plays for the out," Patch said following the game. "We have played much better defensively for the last five games or so."
Duvall pitched a four-inning, one-hit shut out; striking out four against the Tigers.
"Caleb continues to mature as a pitcher every time he takes the hill," Patch said. "He is really focused on his pitching and he has provided us with several solid starts throughout region play."
On the offensive side of things, several Bulldog hitters turned in good performances in the win.
Bobby Patrick went 3-3 with three RBI and three runs scored. J.D. Hawkins went 2-4 with three RBI and a run scored. Josh Blackburn and Jameson Foskey each had two RBI. Also driving in runs were Dylan Jaskowiak, Jon Jones, Kyle Burden, and Caleb Duvall.
The win put the Dogs (6-8, 5-4) in a three-way tie for second place in region play with Oglethorpe and Washington-Wilkes. The Dogs play six region games in their last two weeks of the regular season, and Patch said players know a lot can happen between now and then. Morgan County still faces Oglethorpe, Washington-Wilkes and first place North Oconee (10-0 in region play) twice over the next two weeks.
"The next two weeks will be huge," Patch said.
The Dogs hope Monday's win helped put last Tuesday's Oglethorpe loss behind them. The Patriots handed the Dogs an 11-3 home loss where Oglethorpe's Adam Long pitched a complete game and had two home runs and three RBI.
Clay Duvall went 3-4 with 2 RBI and a stolen base against the Patriots, leading the Dogs' effort despite the loss. Blackburn turned in a 2-3 performance at the plate for the Dogs.
Morgan County will look to build on momentum from the Greene win next week as they try and jockey for better positioning in what is shaping up to be a competitive Region 8-AA. The Dogs host Washington-Wilkes Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. for a region match-up. They visit North Oconee Friday for a 7 p.m. showdown.
The Dogs’ game against Putnam last Thursday was rained out and will be made up as part of a double header at Putnam on April 17. The team’s game with North Oconee scheduled for last Friday, already a make-up game, was also rained out and will be made up on April 18 in Madison.
The North Oconee game will start at 5:30 p.m. and will serve as Senior Night for the Dogs.