Dragons drop region opener to Wesleyan

PHS Baseball, Team FYN Sports

Jasper, Ga — It was a beautiful day at the ball park on Tuesday, March 7th as the Pickens Dragons hosted the Wesleyan Wolves for game 1 of a 3 game series to begin 7-AAA play. The Dragons, came in with a 7-2 record entering region play. The Wolves, came in with a deceiving 3-3 record. While they did lose a lot from their 2022 State Championship team, they’re still a really good team. This game was tightly played up until the 7th inning as the Wolves were able to get a 6-1 win.


In the top of the first, the Wolves plated 1 run on 1 walk and 1 error as Dragons starter and Georgia Tech commit, Connor Shouse, limited the damage to just that as he tagged the runner out at 3rd to send it to the bottom of the inning. In the bottom of the first, the Dragons would go down in order and we’d head to the top of the second with Wesleyan leading Pickens, 1-0.


In the top of the second, Shouse settled down and forced three ground ball outs on 8 pitches to send it to the bottom of the frame. In the bottom of the second, Tyler Payne got things going with a lead off double he smacked over the left fielders head. A ground ball to the 2nd baseman by Dawson Holland, moved Payne’s courtesy runner Tee Knight over to 3rd with 2 outs. With a 2 strike count on him, Harlan Will smacked an RBI single just underneath the 2nd baseman to bring in Knight and tie it up at 1 going to the top of the third.


In the top of the third, the Wolves led off with a bloop single that just got by the diving Evan Giddens. Shouse, then got a grounder right to him, a grounder to third, and his 2nd strikeout of the game to leave the runner stranded. In the bottom of the third, the Dragons, would go down in order and the game would move to the fourth still tied at 1.


In the top of the fourth, the Wolves retook the lead after a 1-out walk and a 2-out double to make it 2-1. In the bottom half of the fourth, the Dragons couldn’t get anything going as they went down in order to send it to the fifth with the Wolves up, 2-1.


In the top of the fifth, the Wolves got a hit and a walk in between 2 Shouse strikeouts. The top half of the fifth ended when Shouse sniffed out a steal attempt, and the Dragons were able to tag him before the runner at 3rd scored to keep it at 2-1. In the bottom of the fifth, Holland led off with a single. He then advanced to 2nd on a steal. The Wolves, got a pop up and a strikeout to strand Holland at 2nd and send it to the sixth with Wesleyan still up, 2-1.


In the top of the sixth, the Wolves added to their lead with a 1-out solo home run to make it 3-1. JP Nunn, then came on in relief of Shouse and kept the Wolvesfrom potentially scoring more and send it to the bottom of the sixth with Wesleyan now up, 3-1. In the bottom of the sixth, the Dragons went down in order. They worked a pair of full counts during the bottom of the frame, but just couldn’t get anything going. Going to the seventh, Wesleyan led, 3-1.


In the top of the seventh, the Wolves plated 3 runs to stretch their lead to 6-1. In the bottom of the seventh, the Dragons got a lead off walk from Tyler Payne, and a single from Trey Payne. Holland, reached on a fielder’s choice as Tyler Payne’s courtesy runner, Knight, advanced to 3rd on the play. The Wolves, got out of the threat with two straight fly outs to get the 6-1 win in game 1 of the series.


Stats for the Dragons:

Tyler Payne: 1-2 with a double and 1 walk

Trey Payne: 1-3 with 1 single

Dawson Holland: 1-3 with a single and a stolen base

Harlan Will: 1-3 with a single and 1 RBI

Tee Knight: 1 run scored


The Dragons, will have no time to dwell on this game as they will be right back at it on Wednesday, March 8th as they head down to Wesleyan to take on the Wolves in game 2 of the 3-game set. The Dragons, will look to even up the series before it comes back to Jasper on Thursday, March 9th. First pitch is set for 5:55 pm.

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