Dragons lose heart breaker to 7A HillgrovePHS Baseball, Team FYN Sports February 24, 2023
Jasper, Ga — It was a rain filled afternoon on Thursday, February 23rd as the Pickens Dragons took on the Hillgrove Hawks out of the 7A classification as part of the Pickens Mountain Classic. After having to deal with two rain delays, the game was able to be played all the way through. Fans were treated to a good one as it came down to the very last out. The Hawks, were able to hold off a late rally by the Dragons and pick up a 6-5 win.
In the top of the first, the Hawks got on base with a lead off double. The runner, would then steal 3rd, and score on a wild pitch to put Hillgrove up 1-0. Dragons starter Connor Shouse, was then able to work around a pair of walks as he struck out the side to keep the Hawks from adding on. In the bottom of the first, Shouse led off by drawing a walk. He then took 2nd as the Dragons now had a runner in scoring position. Then, the rain came.
After about a 40 minute rain delay, the game was back underway. Dawson Holland, who was up when the delay started, drew a 1-out walk. Tyler Payne, flew out to right for the second out. The bottom of the first ended with the Hawks tagging Shouse at the plate to keep it 1-0 Hillgrove going to the top of the second.
In the top of the second, the Dragons made a pitching change after Shouse and the rest of the team had to sit for 40 minutes. Enter James Tilley, who competed with the Dragons basketball team in the first round of the 3A State Tournament at Monroe Area on Wednesday. In his first inning of work, Tilley collected 2 strikeouts, and Tyler Payne threw a runner out attempting to steal 2nd to send it to the bottom half of the second inning.
In the bottom of the second, Harlan Will led off by being hit with a pitch. Trey Payne then followed that up with the Dragons first hit of the game. After Cade Sutton bunted the runners over, Evan Giddens drew a walk to load the bases. The Hawks, were able to escape the danger and get two straight fly outs to keep it 1-0 going to the top of the third.
In the top of the third, Tilley, continued the good work in his first appearance of the season as he struck out the side in between giving up a single and a walk.. The Dragons, would go down in order in the bottom half of the third. Going to the top of the fourth, Hillgrove still led Pickens, 1-0.
In the top of the fourth, Tilley gave up a 2-out double, but that would be it for the Hawks. Tilley picked up his 6th and 7th strikeout in his 3rd inning of work to keep the Hawks lead at 1-0. In the bottom of the fourth, Cade Sutton would be hit by a pitch with 2 outs, but he would be left stranded at 1st. Going to the fifth, the Hawks still maintained that slim 1-0 lead over the Dragons.
In the top of the fifth, the Hawks extended their lead as they were able to plate a run to make it 2-0. In the bottom half of the fifth, the Dragons were finally able to break through. After a 1-out double by Shouse and a 2-out walk by Holland, Tyler Payne brought in Shouse with an RBI single to make it 2-1. Sam Hammontree, who came on to hit for Will, reached on an error. That error, allowed Holland to come in and score to tie things up at 2 going to the sixth.
In the top of the sixth, the Hawks were able to take the lead right back as they scored 4 runs to take a 6-2 lead over the Dragons. In the bottom of the sixth, the Dragons would cut that lead down to 6-3 as Sutton came in to score after Trace Ledbetter reached on an error. Going to the seventh, Hillgrove led Pickens, 6-3.
In the top of the seventh, the Dragons, now on their 6th pitcher of the game, turned to Freshman Christian Starks to keep the deficit at 3. That is exactly what Starks did as he kept them scoreless on just 12 pitches. In the bottom of the seventh, Harlan Will, who checked back into the game, drew a 1-out walk. Sutton, then kept the game alive with a 2-out double. Giddens, was then hit by a pitch to load the bases. Kam Jenkins, who came on to pitch hit for Colby Brooks, also got hit with a pitch to bring in pitch runner Tee Knight to make it 6-4.
Shouse, on an 0-2 count, would then also be hit by a pitch to bring in Sutton to make it 6-5. The Hawks, were able to get the final out and escape the bases loaded jam with the 6-5 win.
Stats for the Dragons:
Connor Shouse: 1-3 with a walk, a double, 1 RBI, & 1 run scored
Dawson Holland: 2 walks, & 1 run scored
Tyler Payne: 1-4 with a single, & 1 RBI
Harlan Will: 1 hit by pitch, & 1 walk
Trey Payne: 1-4 with a single
Cade Sutton: 1-1 with a sacrifice bunt, 1 hit by pitch, 1 walk, 1 double, & 2 runs scored
Evan Giddens: 2 walks, & 1 hit by pitch
Kam Jenkins: 1 hit by pitch, & 1 RBI
Tee Knight: 1 run scored
Dragons sweep home & home series against UnionPHS Baseball, Team FYN Sports February 22, 2023
Jasper, Ga — After a tough loss to 6A Sequoyah on Monday, February 20th, the Pickens Dragons were right back on the field on Tuesday, February 21st as they welcomed the Union County Panthers to Dunn Field for the second game of their home and home series. The Dragons, defeated the Panthers on February 14th, and looked to sweep the season series. Pickens, used big 4th and 6th innings to help earn a 10-0 win in 6 innings.
In the top of the first, the Panthers, threatened early, but a pop up and a couple of timely strikeouts by Dragons starter Trey Payne, left the bases loaded and sent it to the bottom of the frame. In the bottom half of the inning, the Dragons got a 1-out single from Trace Ledbetter, and a 2-out walk from Tyler Payne. The Panthers, got out of it as they caught a line drive hit to center field to keep it tied at 0 going to the second.
In the top of the second, Union had another scoring chance as they would get a 2-out triple. On the next pitch, Trey Payne would force a pop up to shortstop for the third out and send it the bottom of the inning. In the bottom half of the second, the Dragons, would go down in order and we’d head to the top of the third still scoreless.
In the top of the third, the Panthers again tried to break the tie in this pitchers duel as they had a runner reach on a 1-out error, followed up by a single to put runners on 1st and 2nd. Trey Payne, worked around it and picked up a strikeout and a fielder’s choice out to send it to the bottom of the third still tied at 0. In the bottom of the third, Ga Tech commit Connor Shouse, hit a 1-out double. Trace Ledbetter, would then drive him in with an RBI single to make it 1-0.
Later on in the inning, after Trey Payne drew a walk, Tyler Payne brought in Ledbetter with a grounder to first base to make it 2-0. Union, escaped even more potential danger as Trey Payne was left stranded at 3rd. Going to the top of the fourth, the Dragons led the Panthers, 2-0.
In the top of the fourth, Trey Payne had his best inning on the mound as picked up two more strikeouts and induced a grounder to 2nd base to get out of the the top half of the fourth on just 7 pitches. In the bottom of the fourth, Dawson Holland led off with a single. Evan Giddens then reached on a 1-out error. Cade Sutton, then drew a walk to load the bases for Shouse. on a 2-0 count, Shouse got a hold of one and sent it over the right field fence for a 3-run homer. Going to the top of the fifth, the Dragons led the Panthers, 5-0.
In the top of the fifth, the Panthers, were looking to get back into the game with a 1-out single, followed by a walk. Tee Knight, who came on in relief of Trey Payne, kept the score 5-0 as he was able to get the final two outs of the top of the fifth on 8 pitches. In the bottom of the fifth, Trey Payne led off by getting hit with a pitch, Tyler Payne reached on an error, and Harlan Will drew a walk to load the bases with no outs.
Union, got out of that jam without giving up any runs as they got a double play, then a pop up to send it to the top of the sixth with Pickens still leading, 5-0.
In the top of the sixth, Knight, still on the mound, worked around a 2-out walk as he kept the Panthers scoreless and sent it to the bottom of the inning. In the bottom of the sixth, Giddens, led off by getting on base. AJ Rice, who came in to play 3rd for Sutton in the top half of the frame, drew a walk. Shouse, collected his 3rd hit of the day with a single to load the bases. Ledbetter, drove in Giddens and Rice with a 2-RBI single to make it 7-0.
After a ground out by Ezra Faber that advanced Shouse over to 3rd, Jackie Jarrett drove in Shouse with an RBI single to make it 8-0. Kam Jenkins, then brought in Jarrett with an RBI double to make it 9-0. Bradley Prince, put a bow on this one as he drove in Jenkins to give the Dragons the 10-0 win.
Stats for the Dragons:
Connor Shouse: 3-4 with a double, 3-run homer, a single, 2 RBI, & 3 runs scored
Trace Ledbetter: 3-4 with 3 singles, 3 RBI, & 2 runs scored
Tyler Payne: 1 walk, & 1 RBI
Jackie Jarrett: 1-1 with a single, 1 RBI, & 1 run scored
Kam Jenkins: 1-1 with a double, 1 RBI, & 1 run scored
Dawson Holland: 1-3 with a single, & 1 run scored
Evan Giddens: 2 runs scored
Cade Sutton: 1 walk, & 1 run scored
AJ Rice: 1 walk, & 1 run scored
The Dragons, will continue their busy week on Thursday afternoon as they’ll host the Hillgrove Hawks at Dunn Field. Hillgrove, is out of the 7A classification so it will be another chance for the Dragons to take on a bigger school. First pitch is set for 3 pm.