Jasper, Ga — After defeating the Raiders on Tuesday, 13-1, the Pickens Dragons welcomed Southeast Whitfield to Dunn Field for games 2 and 3 of the series on Friday, April 8th. After a tough stretch that included a 4 game losing skid, the Dragons looked to sweep the Raiders and keep pace near the top of the 7-AAAA standings. Using timely pitching in game 2, and hot bats in game 3, the Dragons did indeed pick up the sweep.
Trey Payne started for the Dragons in game 2 of the series. After giving up a 1-out solo home run, Payne settled down and sent it to the bottom of the first. In the bottom of the first, Trace Ledbetter and Anthony Antinozzi both reached on 1-out walks. Harlan Will, then reached on an error, which allowed both Ledbetter and Antinozzi to score. Trey Payne then laced a double into the outfield to put runners at 2nd and 3rd. The Raiders, were able to force two consecutive pop outs to get out of the inning. Going to the second, Pickens led Southeast Whitfield, 2-1.
In the top of the second, Payne worked around a pair of walks as he picked up his first two strikeouts of the game to send us to the bottom of the frame. In the bottom of the second, Evan Giddens reached with a 1-out single and Ledbetter reached with a 2-out walk. They would be left stranded however as the Raiders once again forced a fly out to end the inning and keep it 2-1 Dragons going to the third.
In the top of the third, Southeast Whitfield retook the lead using two hits and two walks to plate 2 runs to make it 3-2 Raiders. In the bottom of the third, Pickens went down in order. Going to the top of the fourth, the Raiders now led the Dragons, 3-2.
Tate Hales came on in relief of Trey Payne in the top of the fourth and Hales had a phenomenal outing. Hales, kept the Raiders bats quiet in the top of the fourth to send it to the bottom of the frame. Hales, then reached on a 1-out single. Tyler Payne, then reached on a 2-out single. The Raiders, were able to get the runner at the plate to end the inning and send it to the fifth with Southeast Whitfield still leading, 3-2.
In the top of the fifth, Hales again held the Raiders scoreless as his impressive outing continued. In the bottom of the fifth, Antinozzi reached on a 1-out single. Will, then reached after drawing a walk to put runners at 1st and 2nd with still 1-out. After the runners moved up to 2nd and 3rd, Trey Payne drove in Antinozzi with a grounder to the second baseman. After a 2-out walk drawn by Cade Sutton, the Dragons had runners at 1st and 3rd. The Raiders, were able to get out of the inning having just given up the 1 run. Going to the sixth, Pickens and Southeast Whitfield were tied at 3.
In the top of the sixth, Hales needed just 5 pitches to sit the Raiders down in order, and send it to the bottom of the inning. In the bottom of the frame, Hales, reached with his second hit of the game. Colby Brooks, running for Hales, stole 2nd to get in scoring position. Sam Hammontree, who came on in the top of the inning as a replacement for Ledbetter, drove in Brooks with an RBI single to give the Dragons a 4-3 lead going to the seventh.
JP Nunn came on in relief of Hales to try and close it out. The Raiders, made it interesting as they drew three straight walks to load the bases. Nunn, then forced a grounder to the shortstop Giddens who threw home for the force out. Nunn, then got back to back strikeouts to close it out and give the Dragons the 4-3 win.
After winning game 2 and taking the series, the Dragons looked to get the three game sweep over the Southeast Whitfield Raiders. In the top of the 1st, Dragons starter James Tilley needed 11 pitches to get the Raiders in order. In the bottom of the first, Pickens struck early as Harlan Will led off with a walk, his courtesy runner Tee Knight, stole 2nd, reached 3rd on a wild pitch, then ended up scoring on that same wild pitch. Anthony Antinozzi, who drew to walk initially, reached 2nd during the madness. Tyler Payne, then drove in Antinozzi with a 1-out double to make it 2-0 Dragons. Cade Sutton, followed that RBI double with an RBI double of his own to score Payne to make it 3-0 Pickens going to the second.
In the top of the second, Tilley continued his stellar outing as he needed 10 pitches to get out of the top half of the second. In the bottom of the second, the Dragons bats came alive. Pickens, batted around and plated 7 runs to stretch their lead over the Raiders to 10-0 going to the third.
In the top of the third, Tilley struck out the side to bring his total to 4 on the night. Heading to the bottom of the frame, the Dragons still led Southeast Whitfield, 10-0. In the bottom of the third, Antinozzi started it off with a lead off walk. Trey Payne drove in Antinozzi with an RBI single to make it 11-0. Sutton, drove in Payne after a grounder to the third baseman to make it 12-0. Tilley, reached on a walk, and Sam Hammontree reached on an error. A single from Colby Brooks drove in Tilley and Hammontree to make it 14-0. Evan Giddens, then reached on a walk. Will, then blooped one into shallow left field to score Brooks to make it 15-0. With the run rule in place, the Dragons took game 3, 15-0, and earned the sweep of Southeast Whitfield.
7-AAAA Baseball Standings:
Cedartown: 16-7 (10-2)
Heritage: 15-9 (8-4)
Pickens: 14-9 (9-6)
Central-Carroll: 15-8 (7-5)
Northwest Whitfield: 13-10 (7-5)
Ridgeland: 7-12 (3-9)
Southeast Whitfield: 3-23 (1-14)
The Dragons, will be out of region play next week as they will play four games with three different teams. First up, a home and home series with the Sonoraville Phoenix. The first game of the series will be at Sonoraville on Monday, April 11th. First pitch is set for 5:55 pm.