Dragons take series from Bobcats

PHS Baseball, Team FYN Sports

Jasper, Ga — It was a perfect afternoon for high school baseball on Thursday, March 28th as the Pickens Dragons welcomed their rivals to the north, the Gilmer Bobcats to Dunn Field for game two of their three game set in 7-AAA play. The Dragons, took game one in Ellijay on Monday, and looked to win the series on their home turf. Meanwhile, for the Bobcats, they looked to even up the series, and tighten up the race for the 4th seed. Behind a solid pitching performance and busy bats, the Dragons were game to win game two, 11-1 in six innings.


In the top of the first, the Bobcats looked to strike early as Blake Grizzle, Eli Cooper, and Noah Gutillo all reached on three straight singles to load the bases with nobody out. Dragons starter James Tilley, remained poised and picked up 2 strikeouts and a ground out to get out of the jam. In the bottom of the first, Bobcats starter Ethan McCollum, got two quick outs before Cade Sutton drew a walk to reach base.

Sutton, would steal 2nd to get into scoring position for Kam Jenkins who would drive him in with an RBI single to make it 1-0 Dragons going to the second.


After Tilley got the first two batters in order on two ground outs to start the second inning, Haden West would keep the inning going with a single to center. Grizzle, would drive in West with an RBI double to tie the game at 1. Tilley, would force a pop out for the 3rd out to send it to the bottom of the second. In the bottom of the frame, Trace Ledbetter led off by drawing a walk. Coleman Keener, who pitch ran for Ledbetter, would steal 2nd to get in scoring position.

A grounder by Dawson Holland would advance Keener to 3rd with 1-out. Christian Starks, would bring in Keener with a sacrifice fly RBI to give Pickens a 2-1 lead over Gilmer going to the third.


In the top of the third, Gutillo would lead off with a single for his 2nd hit of the day. After a strikeout by Tilley, Gutillo would be forced out at 2nd as McCollum would reach on a fielder’s choice. Tilley, would force a fly out for the 3rd out to send it to the bottom half of the inning. In the bottom of the third, Jenkins would keep the inning alive by making it to 2nd after an error in the outfield. That would be it as Pickens led Gilmer, 2-1 going to the fourth.


Tilley, would have his first clean inning of the game in the top of the fourth as he got a pop out and 2 ground outs. Ledbetter, would lead off the bottom of the fourth by drawing a walk. Holland, would follow with a single. After Starks advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt, Ledbetter would come in to score on a wild pitch. Holland, would advance to 3rd on the play. A.J. Rice, would reach by being hit with a pitch to put runners at the corners with 1-out.

Connor Shouse, would smack a liner past the shortstop who was running to cover 2nd as Rice was attempting to steal 2nd. That liner would score both Holland and Rice to make it 5-1 Dragons. Shouse, would make it to 3rd on the play as the incoming throw got away from the Bobcat defense. Trey Payne, would bring in Shouse with an RBI ground out to make it 6-1 Dragons going to the top of the fifth.


In the top of the fifth, Tilley worked around a 1-out single by Cooper as the Dragons were able to turn an inning ending double play. In the bottom of the fifth, Tyler Payne would lead off by getting hit with a pitch. Ledbetter, would then hit a 2-run home run as he drove in Tilley who was pitch running for Tyler Payne. Starks, would reach 2nd on a two base error. Starks, would advance to 3rd on a balk.

Starks, would come in to score on a grounder by Rice to make it 9-1. Shouse, would hit the 2nd home run of the inning for the Dragons as he sent a shot over the left field fence to make it 10-1. A 2-out double from Trey Payne would keep the inning alive. The Bobcats, would record a strikeout to get out of the fifth, as Pickens took a 10-1 lead into the sixth.


Brodie Keener came on in relief of Tilley who went 5 strong innings. Keener, would toss a scoreless top of the sixth as he worked around a single by McCollum. McCollum, would be thrown out at 2nd trying to stretch it to a double. Going to the bottom of the sixth, Pickens led Gilmer, 10-1. In the bottom of the sixth, Sam Hammontree, who came on to hit for Tyler Payne, would draw a walk with 1-out.

Hammontree, would be out at 2nd as Ledbetter reached on a fielder’s choice. Kyle Grno, would came on to pitch hit for Holland, reached on a bloop single. The ball would get away from the Bobcat outfielder and Grno would advance to 2nd while Ledbetter advanced to 3rd. Starks, would follow that up with another bloop single as Ledbetter would come in to score to give the Dragons the 11-1 win in six innings.


With the win, the Dragons take their fourth straight region series. They are now 17-3 overall, and 10-1 in 7-AAA. The Gilmer Bobcats fall to 8-10 overall and 2-6 in 7-AAA. Game three of the series will be right back in Jasper at Dunn Field on Friday, March 29th. First pitch set for 5:55 pm.

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