Dragons split doubleheader with Hart CountyPHS Baseball, Team FYN Sports April 25, 2023
Jasper, Ga — It was a beautiful day for playoff baseball on Monday, April 24th as they Pickens Dragons welcomed the Hart County Bulldogs to Dunn Field for a doubleheader in the first round of the GHSA 3A State Baseball Tournament. The Bulldogs, are the #4 seed out of region 8, and the Dragons are the #1 seed out of region 7. After the Bulldogs took game 1 in 9 innings, 4-3, the Dragons came back to take game 2, 5-4, to force a game 3 on Tuesday, April 25th.
In the top of the first, Dragons starter and ’24 Ga Tech commit Connor Shouse, worked around a 2-out single as he picked up 2 strikeouts and a line out to send it to the bottom of the inning. In the bottom of the frame, Shouse, led off with a double. Shouse, would advance to 3rd, but the Bulldogs got out of the early threat to send it to the second with the score tied at 0.
In the top of the second, Shouse, needed 8 pitches for a 1-2-3 inning with two ground outs and a strikeout. In the bottom of the second, Kam Jenkins, reached on a 1-out walk. His courtesy runner, Tee Knight, would be left stranded and they’d go to the third, still scoreless.
In the top of the third, Shouse, continued the good start to his outing as he sat the Bulldogs down in order on two ground outs and a strikeout. In the bottom of the inning, the Dragons, went down in order as well and the game would move to the fourth, with both teams still scoreless.
In the top of the fourth, Shouse, worked around a 2-out single as he struck out the side. That gave him 7 for the game. In the bottom of the frame, the Dragons, again would go down in order as we officially had a pitcher’s duel on our hands. Going to the fifth, the Dragons and Bulldogs were still tied at 0.
In the top of the fifth, the Bulldogs would break the tie as they scored 3 runs on 1 hit, 4 walks, and 1 hit by pitch to take a 3-0 lead. In the bottom of the fifth, the Dragons, got a run back as Jenkins led off with a single. A.J. Rice, then reached on a fielder’s choice. ’23 Young Harris commit Evan Giddens, moved them over on the sacrifice bunt. An RBI grounder from Colby Brooks brought in courtesy runner Tee Knight to make it 3-1 Bulldogs going to the sixth.
In the top of the sixth, Cason Cannon, who came on in relief of Shouse in the top of the fifth, worked his first full inning of relief and kept the score where it was to send the Dragons bats back up. In the bottom of the sixth, Trey Payne got on with a 1-out double. He’d come around to score after an RBI single from Tyler Payne. Jenkins, drove in pitch runner Ezra Faber on a 2-out, RBI double to tie things up at 3 going to the seventh.
In the top of the seventh, ’24 Jacksonville State commit JP Nunn, came on in relief of Cannon. Nunn, kept the Bulldogs off the board in the top half of the inning to send it to the bottom of the seventh. In the bottom of the inning, the Dragons, would go down in order. They would head to extra innings with the score tied at 3.
In the top of the eighth, Nunn, in his 2nd inning of work, worked around a 1-out walk to keep the Bulldogs off the board. In the bottom of the eighth, Shouse, now at shortstop, sent a ball for a ride in center field, but it was just shy of the fence. The Bulldogs, would get out of the bottom of the eighth and we’d head to the ninth with it still tied up at 3.
In the top of the ninth, the Bulldogs, were able to plate a run on 2 hits to retake the lead, 4-3. In the bottom of the ninth, Dawson Holland would reach on a 1-out single. The Bulldogs however, were able to get a double play to end the game as Hart County took game 1, 4-3.
Stats for the Dragons in Game 1:
Connor Shouse: 1-4 with a double
Trace Ledbetter: 1 walk
Trey Payne: 1-4 with a double and 1 run scored
Tyler Payne: 1-1 with a single and 1 RBI
Dawson Holland: 1-4 with a single
Kam Jenkins: 2-3 with 1 single, 1 double, 1 walk, and 1 RBI
Colby Brooks: 1 RBI
Tee Knight: 1 run scored
Ezra Faber: 1 run scored
The Dragons, were the “visitors” for game 2 and they looked to put up some early runs in the top of the first as Trey Payne and Tyler Payne got on with a pair of 2-out singles, and Dawson Holland reached with a full count walk. The Bulldogs, got out of the bases loaded threat to send it to the bottom of the first. In the bottom of the frame, the Bulldogs, did strike for early runs as they scored 4 runs on 3 hits, 2 walks, and 1 error.
Going to the second inning the Bulldogs, held a 4-0 lead over the Dragons.
In the top of the second, the Dragons, would go down in order to send it to the bottom half of the inning. In the bottom half of the second, Dragpns starter James Tilley, bounced back after a tough first inning to get the Bulldogs in order with a grounder to 1st base, and 2 strikeouts to send it to the third, Bulldogs leading, 4-0.
In the top of the third, the Dragons struck. Connor Shouse, led off by drawing a full count walk after being down 0-2 in the count. Trace Ledbetter, followed that up with a single. After a double steal by both Shouse and Ledbetter, Trey Payne would bring them home with a 2-RBI single to make it 4-2 Bulldogs. After Tyler Payne worked another full count walk, Holland, laid down a bunt to move Trey Payne to 3rd and pitch runner Sam Dart to 2nd with 1-out.
Freshman Kam Jenkins, once again came through with a big hit as he drove in Trey Payne and Dart with a 2-RBI single to tie the game up at 4 going to the bottom of the third. In the bottom of the third, Tilley, worked around a 1-out single to send it to the fourth with the game now tied at 4.
In the top of the fourth, Colby Brooks, reached with a 1-out single. Shouse and Ledbetter, got on by drawing back to back walks to load the bases. Trey Payne, would bring in Brooks with the sacrifice fly RBI to give the Dragons the lead 5-4, going to the bottom of the fourth. In the bottom of the fourth, Tilley, was able to work around a 2-out walk to get out of the inning. Going to the fifth, the Dragons now led it, 5-4.
In the top of the fifth, the Dragons, would go down in order on a pop up and 2 ground outs. In the bottom of the inning, Tilley, kept the Bulldogs from scoring as he picked up 2 big strikeouts to keep the runner at 3rd after he reached on an error and advanced to 3rd on a sacrifice bunt. Going to the sixth, the Dragons maintained their 5-4 lead.
In the top of the sixth, Brooks, reached on a 1-out walk. Shouse, would then get hit by a pitch on a 3-2 count and the Dragons had runners at 1st and 2nd with 1-out. The Bulldogs, somehow, were able to get out of it with no damage done to send it to the bottom of the sixth. In the bottom of the inning, Tilley, sat the Bulldogs down in order with a ground out, a fly out, and a strikeout to send it to the seventh with the Dragons up, 5-4.
In the top of the seventh, Holland, would make it to 2nd after an error by the shortstop. Jenkins, followed up with a single. As the throw was going home, Jenkins took the opportunity to advance to 2nd to give the Dragons 2 runners in scoring position with 1-out. Once again, the Bulldogs found a way to get out of the jam and keep it at 5-4 going to the bottom of the seventh.
In the bottom of the seventh, Tilley, nearly crossing the 100 pitch mark, finished the ball game off by striking out the side to keep Pickens alive as the Dragons took game 2, 5-4.
Stats for the Dragons in Game 2:
Connor Shouse: 2 walks, 1 hit by pitch, and 1 run scored
Trace Ledbetter: 1-3 with a single, a walk, and 1 run scored
Trey Payne: 2-3 with 2 singles, 3 RBI, and 1 run scored
Tyler Payne: 1-1 with a single, and 1 walk
Dawson Holland: 1 walk
Kam Jenkins: 2-4 with 2 singles and 2 RBI
Colby Brooks: 1-2 with 1 single, 1 walk, and 1 run scored
Sam Dart: 1 run scored
With the two teams splitting the doubleheader, we now turn to the deciding game 3. The winner of game 3, will advance to the sweet 16 and face Gordon Lee on Saturday. First pitch for game 3 between Pickens and Hart County is set for 5 pm.
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