Dragons win second straight 7-AAA Region Championship

PHS Baseball, Team FYN Sports

Jasper, Ga — It was a windy but beautiful day on Thursday, April 4th as the Pickens Dragons hosted the Dawson Tigers for game two of their 3-game series. After taking game one in Dawsonville on Monday, the Dragons were looking to pick up another series win and possibly a region championship. The Tigers, were looking to even up the series and force a rubber game on Friday. In what was a back and forth contest, the Dragons picked up a hard fought 3-2 win in 9 innings.

 

In the top of the first, Dragons starter James Tilley, worked around a 1-out single by Jacson Rickett as he picked up 2 strikeouts and a ground out. In the bottom of the frame, Connor Shouse led off by drawing a walk. The pick off attempt by Tigers starter Trey Harvey, got by the 1st baseman and allowed Shouse to advance all the way to 3rd. Trey Payne, would then hit a pop fly to the 2nd baseman.

Shouse, was able to score on the play to make it 1-0 Dragons. After a 1-out single by Cade Sutton, Harvey’s pick off attempt would be successful for the 2nd out. Kam Jenkins, kept the bottom of the first alive for the Dragons as he reached with a 2-out single. Harvey, would get out of the inning as he forced a pop out to 2nd by Trace Ledbetter. Going to the second, Pickens led Dawson, 1-0.

 

In the top half of the second, Tilley, would strike out the side to send it to the bottom half of the second. In the bottom of the second, Dawson Holland would lead off by drawing a walk on a full count. Holland, would then advance to 2nd after a wild pitch. Tyler Payne, would move Holland over to 3rd after a ground out. Christian Starks, would bring in Holland with an RBI single to make it 2-0 Dragons going to the third.

 

In the top of the third, Tilley, continued his good start to the ball game as he tossed a scoreless frame with three ground outs. In the bottom of the third, Harvey, would toss his first 1-2-3 inning as he forced two ground outs to the first baseman Preston Bannister, and picked up his first strikeout of the game. Going to the fourth, Pickens led Dawson, 2-0.

 

After picking up his 6th strikeout to begin the fourth inning, Tilley would hit Julian Horner with a pitch to put him on base with 1-out. Elijah Odom, would then beat out an infield single and Horner and Odom would advance after an error. Horner, would come in to score after a wild pitch to cut the lead to 2-1. After advancing to 3rd on that same wild pitch, Odom, would score on an RBI single by Davis Glass to tie it up at 2 going to the bottom of the fourth.

In the bottom of the fourth, Ledbetter would reach after a 1-out single. Ezra Faber, would come in to pitch runner for Ledbetter and he would advance to 2nd after a wild pitch. Harvey, would get out of the inning after a strikeout, and a nice diving play by Bannister to rob Tyler Payne of a would-be hit and possible RBI. Going to the fifth, Pickens and Dawson were tied at 2.

 

Tilley, settled down in the top of the fifth as he picked up his 7th strikeout of the game, a fly out, and a ground out. In the bottom of the fifth, A.J. Rice would draw a 1-out walk to reach base. Rice, would be forced out at 2nd as Shouse would reach on a fielder’s choice. Shouse, would steal 2nd to put himself in scoring position. Trey Payne, would draw a walk to put 2 runners on with 2-outs. Shouse, would advance to 3rd on the play as ball 4 got away from the catcher.

Trey Payne, would steal 2nd to put runners at 2nd and 3rd with 2-outs. Harvey, would get out of the jam as he took a come backer to 1st base himself for the 3rd out to send it to the sixth with the score tied at 2.

 

In the top of the sixth, Tilley, got the first two outs of the inning by taking a come backer to 1st by himself, and forcing a ground out to Rice at 2nd. Odom, kept the inning going for the Tigers as he reached with a 2-out double. Trey Payne, nearly made a diving catch on the play. The Dragons, would then choose to intentionally walk Glass. Tilley, would get out of the 6th as Joshua Priest would pop out to Ledbetter at 1st for the third out.

Trace Ledbetter, would hit a single past the shortstop for a 1-out knock. The Tigers, would get their 2nd runner of the night as Ledbetter would be caught trying to take 2nd on a steal attempt. Harvey, would get out of the sixth with a strikeout to send it to the seventh with the game all knotted up at 2.

 

In the top of the seventh, Dylan Edwards would draw a 1-out walk to get on base. Bannister, would then reach on what would have been a sacrifice bunt, but miscommunication between the Dragons defense would lead to runners at 1st and 2nd with 1-out. Edwards, would advance to 3rd and Bannister would be forced out at 2nd as Sawyer Bearden would reach on a fielder’s choice.

Rickett, would then be hit by a pitch to load the bases up with 2-outs. Cason Cannon, would come on in relief of Tilley and he would be tasked with getting out of the jam. Get out of it he did as he forced a grounder to Sutton who would step on the bag at 3rd to for the final out of the inning. In the bottom of the seventh, Starks, would reach with a 1-out single.

Banks Hickman, who came on in relief of Harvey, got out of the seventh as he forced a fly out to left center for the third out. Pickens and Dawson would head to extra innings tied at 2.

 

In the top of the eighth, Horner, would lead off by being hit by a pitch. Horner, would then advance to 2nd as Glass would lay down a sacrifice bunt. Cannon, would get out of the eighth with a fly out and a ground out to keep the score tied at 2. Trey Payne, would lead off the bottom of the frame by drawing a walk on a full count.

In an odd play, Sutton, would be called out due to interference as he was ruled to be outside the base path after Hickman’s throw hit Sutton in the foot. The call negated what would have been a sacrifice bunt, and Payne would be forced to go back to 1st. Payne, would then steal 2nd straight up to advance into scoring position. After a fly out by Jenkins, Ledbetter would be intentionally walked to put runners at 1st and 2nd with 2-outs.

Hickman and the Tigers, would get out of the eighth as Holland would be thrown out after a dropped 3rd strike. Going to the ninth inning, the game was still tied up at 2.

 

In the top of the ninth, Bannister would reach by drawing a 1-out walk. Rickett, would keep the inning alive for the Tigers as he drew a 2-out walk to put runners at 1st and 2nd. Both runners would advance to 2nd and 3rd after a wild pitch. Cannon, got out of the ninth after a ground out to short for the third out. Going to the bottom of the ninth, Pickens and Dawson were still tied at 2.

In the bottom of the ninth, Tyler Payne, would lead off the inning by being hit by a pitch on a 3-2 count to reach. Kyle Grno, would come on to pitch run for him. Starks, would also get hit by a pitch as he was trying to lay down a bunt. After being down for a second, Starks, popped up and headed over to 1st. Rice, would then try to bunt the runners over, but the bunt attempt went foul for the first out.

Shouse, would then be unintentionally intentionally walked to load the bases with 1-out. Hickman, would get the second out via strikeout. On the first pitch of the at bat, Sutton, would be hit by a pitch and Grno would come in to score as the Dragons picked up the 3-2 win and their second straight 7-AAA Region Championship.

 

Stats for the Dragons:

Connor Shouse: 2 walks, 1 stolen base, 1 run scored

Trey Payne: 2 walks, 2 stolen bases, 1 RBI

Cade Sutton: 1-4 with 1 single, and 1 hit by pitch

Kam Jenkins: 1-4 with a single

Trace Ledbetter: 2-3 with 2 singles and a walk

Dawson Holland: 1 walk, and 1 run scored

Tyler Payne: 1 hit by pitch

Christian Starks: 2-3 with 2 singles, 1 hit by pitch, and 1 RBI

A.J. Rice: 1 walk

Kyle Grno: 1 run scored

James Tilley: 6.2 IP, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 1 IBB, 2 HBP, 7 K on 105 pitches

Cason Cannon: 2.1 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 H, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 1 K on 38 pitches

 

The Dragons and Tigers, will conclude their 3-game set on Friday, April 5th as the series goes back to Dawsonville. First pitch is set for 5:55 pm.

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.

Dragons sweep Spartans in region double header

PHS Baseball, Team FYN Sports

Oakwood, Ga — With impending weather later in the week again affecting things, the Pickens Dragons and West Hall Spartans decided to play two on Tuesday, March 19th as they began their best of three series in 7-AAA. Coming into the series, the Dragons, were 12-3 overall and 5-1 in 7-AAA. The Spartans, came into the series with a 4-11 overall record and 2-4 in 7-AAA. The Dragons, were able to win both games taking game one, 8-2, and game two, 15-2.

 

Game 1:

In the top of the first, Connor Shouse got things going with a single to reach base. After Shouse stole 2nd and advanced to 3rd after a balk was called, Trey Payne brought him in with a sacrifice fly RBI. Cade Sutton, would then reach on an error. Kam Jenkins would then draw a walk. Dawson Holland, would reach on a fielder’s choice as he and Jenkins would advance on the error. Tyler Payne, would then be hit by a pitch to load the bases up.

Trace Ledbetter, would work a bases loaded walk as Jenkins would come in to score to make it 2-0 Dragons going to the bottom of the first. In the bottom half of the first, Shouse, the Dragons starter, worked around a 2-out walk as he would strike out the side. Going to the second, Pickens led West Hall, 2-0.

 

In the top of the second, Shouse, would reach base for the 2nd time with a 1-out single. Trey Payne, would reach on a fielder’s choice as the Spartans almost had an inning ending double play. Payne, would then steal 2nd to get into scoring position. He would then advance to 3rd on a passed ball. The Spartans, got out of it with a strikeout to send it to the bottom of the second with Pickens still leading, 2-0.

In the bottom of the second, Shouse, worked around a 1-out hit batsman as he picked up his 4th and 5th strikeouts of the game and a fly out to send it to the third with the Dragons ahead, 2-0.

 

In the top of the third, Tyler Payne drew a 2-out walk to keep the inning going. Ledbetter, would then reach on an error. Both he and pitch runner Coleman Keener would advance on the throw. The Spartans, would get out of the jam to send it to the bottom of the third with the Dragons still up 2-0. The Spartans, would pick up a pair of 1-out singles to try and start a rally.

After executing a double steal, the Spartans would plate a run after a ground out to 1st to make it 2-1. Shouse, would get out of the third with a strikeout. Going to the fourth, Pickens led West Hall, 2-1.

 

In the top of the fourth, Shouse would reach for the 3rd time after being hit with a pitch. He would eventually come around to score on a wild pitch to make it 3-1 Dragons going to the bottom of the inning. In the bottom half of the frame, The Spartans, hit line outs to both James Tilley and A.J. Rice for the first 2 outs. Shouse, got out of the fourth with another strikeout. Going to the fifth, Pickens led West Hall, 3-1.

 

In the top of the fifth, Jenkins led off by drawing a walk. His courtesy runner, JP Nunn, would then steal 2nd. Nunn, would then take 3rd as Holland drew a walk to put runners at the corners. Holland, would steal 2nd to put runners at 2nd and 3rd. Sam Hammontree, who came on to hit for Tyler Payne, would drive in Nunn on a fielder’s choice to make it 4-1 Dragons.

In the bottom of the fifth, Shouse would work around a 2-out hit and stolen base as he struck out the side for the second time to push his total up to 11 on the day. Going to the sixth, Pickens led West Hall, 4-1.

 

Sutton and Jenkins would start the sixth with back to back 1-out walks. Holland, would then reach on an error to load the bases. Hammontree, would drive in Sutton and Nunn with a 2-RBI double to make it 6-1. Ledbetter, would bring in Holland after a ground out to 1st to make it 7-1 Dragons. In the bottom of the sixth, Cason Cannon came on in relief of Shouse.

Cannon, worked around a batter who reached on a dropped 3rd strike, and a single to strike out two. Jenkins, also threw a runner out trying to steal 3rd. Going to the seventh, Pickend led West Hall, 7-1.

 

Kyle Grno, who came on in the sixth to play shortstop, drew a 1-out walk to reach base. Sutton, would keep the inning going with a 2-out single, and Jenkins would follow with a 2-out walk. Grno, would come in to score after a wild pitch to make it 8-1 Dragons. Nunn, came on in relief of Cannon in the bottom of the seventh. The Spartans, started off the inning by drawing a walk, and then advancing to 2nd on a wild pitch.

After getting a pop out for the first out, the Spartans, would score on a ground out to make it 8-2. Nunn, would pick up a strikeout to close out the game as the Dragons took game one, 8-2.

 

Stats for the Dragons in Game 1:

Connor Shouse: 2-2 with 2 singles, a hit by pitch, 1 walk, and 3 runs scored (5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 11 k on 88 pitches

Trey Payne: 1 RBI

Cade Sutton: 1-3 with a single, a walk, and 1 run scored

Kam Jenkins: 4 walks, 1 run scored

Dawson Holland: 1 walk, and 1 run scored

Tyler Payne: 1 hit by pitch, and 1 walk

Sam Hammontree: 1-2 with a double and 3 RBI

Trace Ledbetter: 2 walks and 1 RBI

Cason Cannon: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 K on 18 pitches

JP Nunn: 2 runs scored (1 IP, 1 BB, 1 R, 1 K on 23 pitches)

 

Game 2:

Game 2 began with Connor Shouse leading off the top of the first with a double. Trey Payne followed that up by being hit with a pitch. Cade Sutton, then reached with a single to load the bases. Kam Jenkins, would drive in Shouse and Payne with a 2-RBI single to make it 2-0. Tyler Payne would bring in Sutton and courtesy runner JP Nunn with a 2-RBI single to make it 4-0 Dragons going to the bottom of the first.

In the bottom half of the first, Dragons starter James Tilley, would toss a scoreless frame as he picked up a fly out, a strikeout, and a pop out to send it to the second with Pickens leading West Hall, 4-0.

 

In the top of the second, the Drgons, would go down in order with all three batters grounding out to the second baseman. In the bottom of the inning, Tilley, worked around a batter reaching on a dropped third strike, a stolen base, and a wild pitch to strikeout the side. Going to the third, Pickens still led West Hall, 4-0.

 

Trey Payne, would lead off the top of the third with a single, but would be thrown out trying to steal 2nd. Jenkins, would reach base with a 2-out double, but his courtesy runner Nunn, would be left stranded at 2nd. In the bottom of the third, the Spartans, would plate a run on 1 hit, 3 walks, and 1 hit batsman. Going to the fourth, Pickens led West Hall, 4-1.

 

In the top of the fourth, Tyler Payne led off by drawing a walk. His pitch runner Coleman Keener, would be thrown out at 2nd trying on a steal attempt. Trace Ledbetter, would reach on an error. A.J. Rice, would bring in Ledbetter with a 2-out double to make it 5-1. Shouse, would drive in Rice with an RBI single to make it 6-1. After Shouse stole 2nd, Trey Payne would reach with a single. He would then steal 2nd.

Sutton, would work a full count walk to load the bases. Jenkins, would drive in Shouse and Payne with a 2-RBI single to make it 8-1. Dawson Holland, would work a full count walk to load the bases once again. pitch hitter Sam Hammontree, would bring in Sutton after drawing a walk as the Dragons took a 9-1 lead. Tilley, would strikeout the side in the bottom of the fourth to send it to the fifth with Pickens leading West Hall, 9-1.

 

In the top of the fifth, Rice would reach with a 1-out single. Shouse, would then send one over the fence in left center for a 2-run home run to make it 11-1 Dragons. Sutton, would keep the inning alive with a 2-out double. Jenkins, would follow that up by drawing a walk. The Spartans, would get out of the fifth with a fly out as the Dragons took an 11-1 lead.

Brodie Keener, came on in relief of Tilley in the bottom of the fifth. The Spartans, would plate a run in the frame on 2 walks, a wild pitch, a stolen base, and 2 hits. The Dragons, would get out of the fifth after they threw out a runner trying to score from 2nd. Going to the sixth, Pickens led West Hall, 11-2.

 

Hammontree, led off the sixth by reaching on an error. Ledbetter, followed that by drawing a walk. Christian Starks, would reach on an error that would allow Hammontree to score. Ledbetter and Starks would advance on the play. Rice, would bring in Ledbetter on a sacrifice fly RBI to make it 13-2. Later on, Jenkins, would drive in Starks on a single to make it 14-2. Holland, would bring in Shouse by drawing a bases loaded walk to make it 15-2 Dragons.

Tate Hales, would come on in relief of Keener in the bottom of the sixth. Hales, would toss a scoreless sixth inning with two ground outs and a strikeout as the Dragons took game two, 15-2.

 

Stats for the Dragons in Game 2:

Connor Shouse: 4-5 with a double, 2 singles, 1 home run, 2 RBI, and 4 runs scored

Trey Payne: 2-3 with 2 singles, 1 hit by pitch, and 2 runs scored

Cade Sutton: 2-3 with a single, a double, 1 walk, and 2 runs scored

Kam Jenkins: 4-4 with 3 singles, 1 double, and 4 RBI

Dawson Holland: 2 walks and 1 RBI

Tyler Payne: 1-1 with a single, a walk, and 2 RBI

Sam Hammontree: 1 walk, 1 RBI, and 1 run scored

Trace Ledbetter: 1 walk, and 2 runs scored

Christian Starks: 1 run scored

A.J. Rice: 2-3 with a double, a single, 1 RBI, and 2 runs scored

JP Nunn: 1 run scored

Kyle Grno: 1 hit by pitch

James Tilley: 4 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 1 HBP, 7 K on 69 pitches

Brodie Keener: 1 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 K on 19 pitches

Tate Hales: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K on 11 pitches

 

The Dragons, win the series by sweeping the double header. Pickens, now finds themselves at 14-3 overall, and 7-1 in 7-AAA. Game three of the series will be on Thursday, March 21st at Dunn Field. First pitch set for 5:55 pm.

Dragons pitching wows in doubleheader against Warriors

PHS Baseball, Team FYN Sports

Jasper, Ga — It was a gorgeous day to play two on Tuesday, March 12th as the Pickens Dragons hosted the White County Warriors for a doubleheader in 7-AAA action. Coming into the game, the Dragons were 9-3 overall, and 2-1 in region play. The Warriors, were 8-4 overall, and also 2-1 in region play. Dragons starters Connor Shouse and James Tilley, were masterful in both games as they both threw complete game shutouts in a pair of 4-0 wins.

 

Game 1:

Shouse, started game 1 of the doubleheader and he pitched beautifully. In the top of the first, Shouse fired a 1-2-3 inning on 9 pitches to send it to the bottom of the inning. In the bottom of the frame, Trace Ledbetter reached base with a 1-out single. He would be left stranded and they would head to the second, tied at 0.

 

In the top of the second, Shouse picked up his 2nd and 3rd strikeout, as well as a ground out in a scoreless frame. The Dragons, would go down in order in the bottom half of the inning. Going to the top of the third, Pickens and White County were still tied at 0.

 

Shouse, threw another 1-2-3 inning in the top of the third as he tossed two more Ks and forced a grounder. In the bottom of the third, the Dragons, got back to back hits from Christian Starks and AJ Rice to start the frame. Rice, would then steal 2nd to put a pair of runners in scoring position. The Warriors, were able to get out of it with a ground out, a pop out, and a strikeout. Going to the fourth, Pickens and White County were still tied at 0.

 

In the top of the fourth, Shouse, tossed a scoreless inning on 8 pitches recording two strikeouts and a ground out. In the bottom of the fourth, Tyler Payne led off with a single. That would be all for the Dragons in the fourth however as they’d head to the fifth, tied at 0.

 

In the top of the fifth, Shouse, had a 9-pitch frame with a fly out and two more strikeouts to send it to the bottom of the inning. In the bottom half of the fifth, Trey Payne would lead off with a single. Payne, would then advance to 3rd on a 2-base error by the catcher. Starks, would drive in Payne with an RBI single. Rice, would follow with a double. Shouse, would the hit a double down the left field line to score Starks and Rice.

After a sacrifice bunt from Ledbetter moved Shouse to 3rd, Cade Sutton would drive Shouse in with an RBI single to make it 4-0 Dragons going to the top of the sixth.

 

In the top of the sixth, on a 3-2 count, Shouse, threw what looked like strike 3, but it was called a ball for a lead off walk. Up until then Shouse had been perfect. The next batter would be hit by the first pitch. Shouse, would settle down and come back by striking out the side. In the bottom of the sixth, Starks, reached on a 2-out error. He would be left stranded at 2nd. Going to the seventh, Pickens led White County, 4-0.

 

In the top of the seventh, Shouse, finished off a complete game no hit shutout with two ground outs to Sutton and a fly out to Holland on three consecutive pitches as the Dragons took game 1 of the doubleheader, 4-0.

 

Stats for the Dragons in game 1:

Connor Shouse: 1-3 with a double, 2 RBI, 1 run scored & 7 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 12 K on 73 pitches

Trace Ledbetter: 1-2 with a single and a sacrifice bunt

Cade Sutton: 1-3 with a single and 1 RBI

Tyler Payne: 1-3 with a single

Trey Payne: 1-3 with a single and 1 run scored

Christian Starks: 2-3 with 2 singles, 1 RBI, and 1 run scored

AJ Rice: 2-3 with a single, a double, and 1 run scored

 

Game 2:

James Tilley started game 2 of the doubleheader for the Dragons and he tossed a heck of a game. In the top of the first, Tilley worked around a 1-out error to strikeout the side. In the bottom of the inning, Connor Shouse led off by reaching on an error. Shouse, would then steal 2nd to get into scoring position. Trace Ledbetter, would advance Shouse to 3rd on a grounder. After Cade Sutton reached on a fielder’s choice, Tyler Payne would bring in Shouse on a grounder.

After advancing to 3rd on the Payne ground out, Sutton, would come into score on a wild pitch to make it 2-0 Dragons going to the top of the second.

 

In the top of the second, Tilley would work around a lead off single as he struck out 2 and forced a fly out in a scoreless frame. The Dragons, would go down in order in the bottom of the second as they would go to the third with Pickens leading White County, 2-0.

 

In the top of the third, Tilley, threw a 1-2-3 inning as he got two pop outs and his 6th strikeout of the game. In the bottom half of the frame, AJ Rice, would lead off with a single. Shouse, would follow that up with a single as Rice would advance to 3rd. Shouse, would then steal 2nd to put runners at 2nd and 3rd. The Warriors, would turn a double play as Ledbetter would be thrown out on a dropped 3rd strike, and Rice would be thrown out trying to score.

Shouse, who never stopped running on the play, took 3rd, then had the presence of mind to go home as nobody was covering the plate. Going to the top of the fourth, Pickens led White County, 3-0.

 

In the top of the fourth, Tilley, struck out the side in-between a catchers interference ruling to bring his total up to 9 on the night. In the bottom of the inning, Kam Jenkins reached after a 1-out double. Trey Payne, would bring in Jenkins’ courtesy runner JP Nunn, with an RBI single to make it 4-0 Dragons going to the fifth.

 

In the top of the fifth, Tilley, got around a 1-out double to pick up his 10th strikeouts, a ground out, and a pop out to send it to the bottom of the frame. In the bottom of the fifth, Shouse, would lead off with a single. After the Warriors got Ledbetter to fly out to center, they forced an inning ending double play to send it to the sixth with Pickens leading, 4-0.

 

In the top of the sixth, Tilley, tossed another scoreless inning as he picked up his 11th and 12th strike out, a long with a fly out to send it to the bottom of the inning. In the bottom of the sixth, the Dragons would go down in order on a ground out, a fly out, and a line out. Going to the seventh, Pickens led White County, 4-0.

 

In the top of the seventh, Tilley finished off a masterful start by striking out the side to give him 15 on the night. The Dragons, take game 2, 4-0, to sweep the doubleheader.

 

Stats for the Dragons in game 2:

Connor Shouse: 2-3 with 2 singles and 2 runs scored

Cade Sutton: 1 run scored

Kam Jenkins: 1-3 with a double

Trey Payne: 1-2 with a single and 1 RBI

AJ Rice: 1-2 with a single

JP Nunn: 1 run scored

James Tilley: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 15 K on 101 pitches

 

With the sweep of the doubleheader, the Dragons take the series from the White County Warriors. The third and final game of the series will be on Thursday, March 14th in Cleveland, Ga. First pitch set for 5:55 pm.

Dragons sweep doubleheader to open region play

PHS Baseball, Team FYN Sports

Jasper, Ga — It’s time for region baseball in 7-AAA as the Pickens Dragons hosted the Wesleyan Wolves at Dunn Field on Wednesday, March 6th. The Dragons, were coming off a successful trip to Hoover, Alabama where they went 3-1 against some of the top teams in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. The 3-game series against the Wolves, was set to begin on Tuesday, March 5th, but the rain forced it to be moved to a doubleheader on Wednesday. The Dragons, used a good combination of hitting and pitching as the #2 team in AAA swept the doubleheader.

 

Game 1:

The Dragons, were classified as the “away” team for game one since these two teams didn’t get to play at Wesleyan on Tuesday. Cade Sutton, got on with a 2-out walk, but that would be it for Pickens in the top of the first. In the bottom of the inning, Dragons starter Connor Shouse, worked around a 2-out walk as he struck out two and forced a ground out to send it to the second with the score tied at 0.

 

In the top of the second, the Dragons would go down in order after a pair of ground outs and a pop out. In the bottom half of the frame, Shouse would pick up his 3rd strikeout. The inning ended when catcher Kam Jenkins threw out a runner attempting to steal 3rd. Going to the top of the third, the game was still scoreless.

 

To begin the third inning, Trey Payne was able to leg out an infield single for the Dragons first hit. AJ Rice, followed by drawing a walk to put runners at 1st and 2nd. On the very next pitch, Shouse, sent a screaming line drive home run over the left center field wall to put the Dragons up 3-0. Trace Ledbetter, followed that up with a double and Sutton reached with a single.

Dawson Holland, kept the train moving as he drove in pitch runner Sam Dart with an RBI single to make it 4-0. Christian Starks, would bring in Sutton with an RBI single to stretch the lead to 5-0. The Wolves, were able to get out of the top of the third with the Dragons leading, 5-0. After giving up a double and a single with 1-out, Shouse was able to get out of the inning with no damage done. Going to the fourth, Pickens led Wesleyan, 5-0.

 

The Dragons, worked a little 2-out magic in the top of the fourth as Ledbetter drew a walk, looking to start a rally. He would then advance all the way to 3rd as the catcher overthrew the first baseman trying to throw out Ledbetter. Sutton, added to his day as he drove in Ledbetter with an RBI single to make it 6-0. Shouse, threw a clean inning in the bottom of the fourth as he picked up a fly out, and his 7th and 8th K of the game. Going to the fifth, the Dragons led, 6-0.

 

Starks, started off the top of the fifth by drawing a walk. Jenkins, followed that up with a single. Tyler Payne, would then bring in Starks with an RBI single to make it 7-0. Later on, Ledbetter, would draw a bases loaded walk that brought in courtesy runner JP Nunn to make it 8-0 Dragons. The bottom of the fifth was another clean inning for Shouse as he picked up his 9th and 10th K’s of the game. Going to the sixth, Pickens led Wesleyan, 8-0.

 

Holland, began the sixth with a single to reach base. Jenkins, would then reach on an error as both he and Holland would advance on the play. James Tilley, would bring in Holland with a sacrifice fly RBI to make it 9-0. Tate Hales, came on in relief of Shouse in the bottom of the sixth and worked a scoreless frame to send it to the seventh with the Dragons leading, 9-0.

 

The Dragons, would go down in order in the top of the seventh after two ground outs and a fly out. Starks, came on in relief of Hales in the bottom of the seventh and he was able to close things out to give the Dragons the win in game 1, 9-0.

 

Stats for the Dragons in game 1:

Connor Shouse: 1-5 with a home run, 3 RBI, & 1 run scored (5 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 10 K on 76 pitches)

Trace Ledbetter: 1-3 with a double, 2 walks, 1 run scored, and 1 RBI

Cade Sutton: 2-3 with 2 singles, 1 walk, 1 run scored, and 1 RBI

Dawson Holland: 2-4 with 2 singles, 1 run scored, and 1 RBI

Christian Starks: 1-3 with 1 single, 1 walk, 1 run scored, and 1 RBI (1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, on 12 pitches)

Kam Jenkins: 1-3 with a single and a sacrifice bunt

Tyler Payne: 1-1 with 1 single, and 1 RBI

James Tilley: 1 RBI

Trey Payne: 1-3 with a single, a sacrifice bunt, and 1 run scored

AJ Rice: 2 walks, and 1 run scored

Sam Dart: 1 run scored

JP Nunn: 1 run scored

Tate Hales: 1 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 H, 1 HBP, 1 K on 11 pitches

 

Game 2:

Game 2 began with James Tilley on the mound for the Dragons. After giving up back to back hits to start the first inning, he was able to pick up 2 k’s and a ground out to send it to the bottom of the first. In the bottom of the inning, Connor Shouse led off with a single. He then stole 2nd to get into scoring position. After a grounder by Trace Ledbetter, Shouse held up in a rundown long enough for Ledbetter to reach 2nd.

Dawson Holland, would drive in Ledbetter with an RBI double to make it 1-0. Christian Starks, followed that up with a single to put runners at the corners with 2 out. As Starks attempted to steal 2nd, the ball got through the infield which allowed Holland to score to make it 2-0. Kam Jenkins, would bring in Starks with an RBI single to make it 3-0 Dragons going to the second.

 

In the top of the second, Tilley, worked around a pair of hits to strikeout the side to send it to the bottom of the frame. In the bottom of the inning, the Dragons, would go down in order on 2 k’s and a fly out to send it to the third with the Dragons still leading the Wolves, 3-0.

 

In the top of the third, Tilley, had his first clean inning as he picked up his 6th K of the game and a pair of ground outs to keep Wesleyan scoreless. In the bottom of the third, the Dragons would go down 1-2-3 on two pop outs and a strikeout. Going to the fourth, the Dragons led the Wolves, 3-0.

 

In the top of the fourth, Tilley, worked around a hit and a stolen base to pick up a ground out, and his 7th and 8th K. The Dragons, would add to their lead in the bottom of the inning as Jenkins would reach on a single with 1-out. His courtesy runner, JP Nunn, would then steal 2nd to get into scoring position. Designated hitter Tyler Payne, would drive in Nunn with an RBI single to make it 4-0 Dragons going to the fifth.

 

In the top of the fifth, the Wolves would cut into the lead as they scored a run after three straight hits. Tilley, did a good job of limiting Wesleyan to only the one run as they headed to the bottom of the inning. In the bottom of the fifth, Shouse, led off with a single. After Shouse stole 2nd and 3rd, Ledbetter drove him in with an RBI double. Cade Sutton, would bring pitch runner Sam Dart in with an RBI single to make it 6-1 Dragons going to the sixth.

 

In the top of the sixth, the Wolves would once again cut into the lead as they would score a pair of runs on a couple of hits. Going to the bottom of the inning, Pickens now led Wesleyan, 6-3. In the bottom of the sixth, the Dragons would get back to back hits by Trey Payne and AJ Rice to pur runners at 1st and 2nd with 1-out. The Wolves, were able to get out of the jam with a double play to send it to the seventh with the Dragons leading, 6-3.

 

JP Nunn, came on to close it out in the top of the seventh and he would do just that. Nunn, sat the Wolves down in order on just 6 pitches to get the save and preserve the 6-3 win for the Dragons.

 

Stats for the Dragons in game 2:

Connor Shouse: 2-4 with 2 singles, 3 stolen bases, and 1 run scored

Trace Ledbetter: 1-3 with a double, 1 RBI, and 1 run scored

Cade Sutton: 1-3 with a single and 1 RBI

Dawson Holland: 1-2 with a double, 1 walk, 1 RBI, and 1 run scored

Christian Starks: 1-3 with a single, and 1 run scored

Kam Jenkins: 2-3 with 2 singles, and 1 RBI

Tyler Payne: 1-2 with a single, and 1 RBI

Trey Payne: 1-3 with a single

AJ Rice: 1-3 with a single

Sam Dart: 1 run scored

James Tilley: 5 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 8 H, 9 K on 66 pitches

Brodie Keener: 1 IP, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 2 K on 25 pitches

JP Nunn: 1 run scored and 1 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB on 6 pitches

 

With the sweep of the doubleheader the Dragons take their first 7-AAA series of the season. The 3-game set against Wesleyan will conclude with game 3 on Thursday, March 7th at Wesleyan. First pitch set for 5:55 pm.

Shouse, three other Dragons sign baseball scholarships

PHS Baseball, Team FYN Sports

Jasper, Ga — On Wednesday, February 7th, the Pickens Dragons baseball team saw four of its Seniors sign National Letters of Intent to further their academic and athletic careers as Connor Shouse, JP Nunn, James Tilley, and Brodie Keener all made it official and signed on the dotted line. The Dragons, are getting a lot of preseason love heading into the 2024 season and these four have played a role into why there are big expectations being set.

 

First up, RHP/INF Connor Shouse. Shouse, (pictured above), has been committed to Georgia Tech for a good while and finally made it official with the Yellow Jackets. Shouse, has been recognized as one of the top 10 players in the state of Georgia for the 2024 class. On the mound, Shouse uses a mix of pitches with his fastball hitting 95 mph, sometimes touching 98 mph. At the plate, Shouse, has the ability to hit the ball to all fields and to also drive it out of the park.

It would not be that surprising to hear Connor Shouse’s name called in mid July during the 2024 MLB Draft.

 

Next up, RHP JP Nunn. Nunn, committed to the Jacksonville State University Gamecocks back on November 10th of 2022 and officially signed with them on February 7th 2024. Nunn, who is a submarine pitcher, uses different angles with his pitches to get batters out. He holds the school record for career saves with 9 and will look to possibly add to that record during the 2024 season. As a Junior, he was named to the 7-AAA All-Region Honorable Mention team.

 

Next is RHP/INF James Tilley. Tilley, committed to Reinhardt University on November 29th, 2023 and officially signed with them on February 7th, 2024. Tilley, also uses a mix of pitches at deceiving speeds to get hitters out. At the plate, Tilley does a good job of working counts, drawing walks, and getting timely hits. In 2023, Tilley was named 7-AAA Co-Pitcher of the Year along with teammate AJ Rice, and a member of the All-State First Team. Tilley, is also on the 2024 Preseason All-State team.

 

Last, but certainly not least is LHP Brodie Keener. Keener, committed to the Middle Georgia State University Knights less than a month ago on January 13th. On February 7th, he signs with them. Being a lefty, Keener can use different angles on pitches that many hitters may not be used to seeing. He will have a big role out of the bullpen or being used for a spot start during the upcoming season.

 

Congratulations to all of these young men and their families on this incredible feat. You can catch these young men and the rest of the dragons as they host the Calhoun Yellow Jackets for a scrimmage on Thursday, February 8th. First pitch set for 5:30 pm. The 2024 season will officially open up on Monday, February 12th as the Dragons will host the LaFayette Ramblers. First pitch is also set for 5:30 pm.

Dragons and Trojans split Saturday Doubleheader

PHS Baseball, Team FYN Sports

Jasper, Ga — What another great day for high school baseball it was on Saturday, April 29th as the Pickens Dragons welcomed the Gordon Lee Trojans to Dunn Field for a doubleheader as part of a best of three series in the GHSA 3A State Baseball Tournament Sweet 16. The Trojans, used the long ball in Game one to get the win, 4-1. In Game two, the Dragons, were able to hold on and pick up a 5-4 victory to force a Game three.

 

Game 1:

In the top of the first, the Trojans, were looking to threaten early as Nate Dunfee reached on a lead off walk, and Blake Rodgers would reach on a 1-out walk. Dragons starter, Connor Shouse, got out of the early jam as he struck out the next two batters to send it to the bottom of the inning. In the bottom of the frame, Trey Payne reached on a 2-out error, and Tyler Payne reached on a 2-out single.

The Trojans, would get out of the potential threat from the Dragons with a strikeout to send it to the second with the ball game still tied at 0.

 

In the top of the second, the Trojans, got their lead off man on for the second straight inning as Holt Roberts would be hit with a pitch. Shouse, did a good job of collecting himself as he would then strikeout the side looking to send it to the bottom half of the second. In the bottom of the second, James Tilley, worked a full count walk to reach first with 1-out. Tilley, would advance to second after a ground out by Evan Giddens.

The Dragons, would take the lead after a 2-out RBI single from Colby Brooks drove in Tilley to make it 1-0 Pickens going to the third.

 

In the top of the third, after picking up a fly out to right and his 6th strikeout, Shouse, worked around a 2-out error to get a pop up to 2nd to send it to the bottom of the third. In the bottom of the third, Trace Ledbetter, led off with a ground rule double. Ledbetter, would advance to 3rd after an error. The Trojans, were able to keep it a 1-0 game as Ledbetter would be thrown out at home after a grounder to the shortstop for the first out.

Gordon Lee, would then turn a double play to get out of the bottom of the third with the Dragons still leading, 1-0.

 

In the top of the fourth, the Trojans, would get back to back singles to start the frame. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runners to 2nd and 3rd, a 1-out walk would load the bases. Cason Cannon, would come in to try to get the Dragons out of a big jam. Cannon, did just that as he picked up a strikeout and a pop up to 3rd to send it to the bottom of the fourth.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Dragons would go down in order in with a fly out, a ground out, and a strikeout. Going to the fifth, the Dragons still led the Trojans, 1-0.

 

In the top of the fifth, the Trojans would take the lead as they scored 3 runs on 3 hits including a solo home run and a 2-run home run. Going to the bottom of the fifth, Gordon Lee led Pickens, 3-1. In the bottom of the fifth, the Dragons would go down in order with a pop out, a ground out, and a strikeout. Going to the sixth, the Trojans were leading the Dragons, 3-1.

 

In the top of the sixth, Tee Knight, came on in relief of Cannon to try to keep it a 2 run game. Knight, did just that as he worked around a 2-out single to send it to the bottom of the inning. In the bottom of the sixth, the Dragons got back to back 1-out singles from Trey and Tyler Payne. The Trojans, once again avoided trouble as they got a double play to send it to the top of the seventh with Gordon Lee leading, 3-1.

 

In the top of the seventh, the Trojans, extended their lead as they scored 1 run on 2 hits and a hit by pitch to make it 4-1 going to the bottom of the inning. In the bottom of the seventh, Sam Hammontree, pitch hitting for Tilley, reached on a 1-out single. Tilley, would then re-enter to run. Brooks, kept the game alive for the Dragons by drawing a full count walk.

Shouse, who moved to shortstop in the fourth, would just miss a potential game tying 3-run home run as the Trojans took Game 1, 4-1.

 

Stats for the Dragons in Game 1:

Trace Ledbetter: 1-3 with a ground rule double

Trey Payne: 1-3 with a single

Tyler Payne: 2-3 with 2 singles

James Tilley: 1 walk and 1 run scored

Sam Hammontree: 1-1 with a single

Colby Brooks: 1-2 with a single, 1 walk, and 1 RBI

 

Game 2:

For the Game 2, the Dragons were the “visitors”. In the top of the first, the Dragons went down in order with 2 ground outs and a strikeout. In the bottom of the frame, Dragons starter James Tilley, fielded a come backer, and picked up 2 strikeouts in a clean bottom of the first. Going to the top of the second, the game was tied at 0.

 

In the top of the second, Dawson Holland, reached after drawing a full count walk with 1-out. The Dragons, saw a lot of pitches in the top of the second, but the Trojans would leave Holland stranded. In the bottom of the second, Tilley, worked around a 1-out error to strikeout the side. Going to the third, the Dragons and Trojans were still tied at 0.

 

In the top of the third, Colby Brooks, got on by drawing a full count walk with 1-out. The Trojans, got out of the top half of the frame with a 5-4-3 double play. In the bottom of the third, Tilley, worked around another 1-out error as he induced back to back ground outs to send it to the fourth, still scoreless.

 

In the top of the fourth, the Dragons struck. Trace Ledbetter and Trey Payne began the top of the inning by reaching on back to back errors. Tyler Payne, then followed with a single to load the bases with nobody out. Ledbetter, would score after Dawson Holland reached on a fielder’s choice. Trey Payne, would come in after a single by Kam Jenkins to make it 2-0.

A.J. Rice, would then draw a walk to load the bases again, this time with 1-out. Evan Giddens, would drive in Holland with the RBI single to make it 3-0. Brooks, reached on the 3rd error of the inning as courtesy runner Tee Knight came in to score to make it 4-0. Rice, would come in to score after a sacrifice fly RBI by Connor Shouse to make it 5-0 Dragons going to the bottom of the fourth.

In the bottom of the fourth, Tilley, after the long wait, gave up a lead off single and a 1-out double, but got a fly out to right and his 7th strikeout to send it to the fifth with the Dragons leading the Trojans, 5-0.

 

In the top of the fifth, Trey Payne reached with a 1-out single. Holland, would keep the inning going with a 2-out single, but the Trojans got out of it after a grounder to short. In the bottom of the fifth, Tilley, picked up his 8th strikeout and 2 ground outs to send it to the sixth, Dragons leading, 5-0.

 

In the top of the sixth, Giddens, reached on a single with 1-out. He would be throw out at 2nd for the 3rd out of the top half of the inning. In the bottom of the sixth, the Trojans got back into the game as they scored 3 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks. Going to the seventh, the Dragons now led, 5-3.

 

In the top of the seventh, the Dragons went down in order after 2 ground outs and a line out to send it to the bottom of the seventh. In the bottom of the seventh, JP Nunn, who came on in relief of Tilley in the bottom of the sixth, was tasked with getting the final three outs of this game. The Trojans, got the inning started by reaching on a lead off walk, followed by a hit by pitch to put runners at 1st and 2nd.

The Trojans, cut the lead down to one run after an RBI single made it 5-4 with nobody out. Nunn, picked up a grounder and threw it to 1st for the first out as runners advanced to 2nd and 3rd. Nunn, got another come backer as he was able to field it and throw it home to get the runner for the second out. With runners at 1st and 3rd with 2-outs, Nunn, got the strikeout for the final out as Pickens defeated Gordon Lee 5-4 in Game 2 to even up the series at one a piece.

 

Stats for the Dragons in Game 2:

Connor Shouse: 1 RBI

Trace Ledbetter: 1 run scored

Trey Payne: 1-4 with 1 single and 1 run scored

Tyler Payne: 1-2 with a single

Dawson Holland: 1-2 with a single, a walk, 1 RBI, and 1 run scored

Kam Jenkins: 1-3 with 1 single, and 1 RBI

Tee Knight: 1 run scored

A.J. Rice: 1 walk and 1 run scored

Evan Giddens: 2-3 with 2 singles and 1 RBI

Colby Brooks: 1 walk, and 1 RBI

 

The split doubleheader means a third and final game of the series will be played at Dunn Field on Monday, May 1st. The winner, will advance to the Elite 8 and take on the winner of the Harlem/Thomasville series. First pitch for Game 3 is set for 5:30.

Dragons all over 7-AAA All-Region Team

PHS Baseball, Team FYN Sports

Jasper, Ga — After a stellar regular season that led to a 26-4 overall record and a 16-2 record in 7-AAA play that led to a region championship, the Pickens Dragons had players all over the 7-AAA All-Region teams.

 

Head coach Adam Williams, was named 7-AAA Coach of the Year after leading the Dragons to their first region championship in baseball. Freshman A.J. Rice and Junior James Tilley, were named Co-Pitchers of the Year.

Outfielders Dawson Holland and Trey Payne, were named to the All-Region 1st team. Junior Ga Tech commit Connor Shouse, was named to the All-Region Pitchers list. Senior outfielder Colby Brooks, was named to the All-Region 2nd team.

Senior Young Harris commit, infielder Evan Giddens, catcher Kam Jenkins, Junior Jacksonville State commit RHP JP Nunn, and first baseman Trace Ledbetter were named to the All-Region Honorable Mention team.

 

Below is the full list of the All-Region teams:

 

Congratulations to all of these young men for earning a spot on the All-Region teams!

Rice tosses shutout; Dragons advance to Sweet 16

PHS Baseball, Team FYN Sports

Jasper Ga — It was win or go home on Tuesday, April 25th for both the Pickens Dragons and Hart County Bulldogs as they took the field for the 3rd and final game of their best of three series in the first round of the GHSA 3A State Baseball Tournament. The Bulldogs, won game 1, 4-3 in 9 innings, while the Dragons won game 2, 5-4 on Monday. The Dragons, got a complete game shutout from Freshman A.J. Rice as they won game 3, 8-0.

 

In the top of the first, Rice tossed a 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout and 2 ground outs to send it to the bottom of the inning. In the bottom of the frame, the Dragons, went down in order also with a fly out and 2 ground outs to send it to the second with the game tied at 0.

 

In the top of the second, Rice needed 12 pitches to get a pop out and 2 more ground outs in another clean inning. In the bottom half of the inning, designated hitter Tyler Payne, led off with a single. Dawson Holland, would move pitch runner Ezra Faber over to 2nd with a sacrifice bunt. After Kam Jenkins reached on a walk, ’23 Young Harris commit Evan Giddens, came through with a 2-out RBI single to bring in Faber to make it 1-0 Dragons going to the third.

 

In the top of the third, the Bulldogs, picked up their first base runner and first hit of the game with a 1-out single. The Bulldogs, would then get another runner on after being hit with a pitch with 2-out. Rice, as he’s done all season it seems, kept his composure and was able to induce a ground out to 3rd to send it to the bottom of the third. In the bottom of the third, ’24 Ga Tech commit Connor Shouse, led off by drawing a walk.

Trace Ledbetter, followed that up by reaching on a fielding error to put runners at 1st and 2nd. Trey Payne, would then be hit by a pitch to load the bases with nobody out. Shouse, would come in to score on a wild pitch. Ledbetter and Trey Payne would advance to 2nd and 3rd on the same pitch. Tyler Payne, would reach on a full count walk to load the bases again.

Holland, would reach on a fielder’s choice as Ledbetter would be thrown out at home after a grounder to 3rd for the first out. The Bulldogs, got out of the jam with only the 1 run given up as they induced an inning ending double play. Going to the fourth, the Dragons, now led the Bulldogs, 2-0.

 

In the top of the fourth, Rice, found himself in a little bit of a jam again as he gave up a single, and then hit a batter with 1-out. His defense, which had been making plays behind him all game, got some more help from them as his Freshman battery mate Jenkins, threw out a runner trying to steal 3rd for the 2nd out. Rice, finished off the top of the fourth in strong fashion with his 2nd strikeout to send it to the bottom of the frame.

In the bottom of the fourth, Giddens and Colby Brooks, both reached on back to back fielding errors with 1-out. Shouse, would then get hit with a pitch on an 0-2 count to load the bases. Giddens, would come in to score on a fielder’s choice by Ledbetter. Ledbetter, would catch the Bulldogs off guard and steal 2nd. Trey Payne, would then drive in Brooks and Ledbetter with a single to make it 5-0 Dragons going to the fifth.

 

In the top of the fifth, Rice, picked up his 3rd strikeout and 2 ground outs in a 9-pitch top half of the fifth. In the bottom of the fifth, Sam Hammontree, pitch hitting for James Tilley, sent the first pitch he saw down the left field line for a 2-out double. Tilley, would then re-enter to run for Hammontree. Giddens, drove in Tilley with an RBI single to  make it 6-0 Dragons going to the sixth.

 

In the top of the sixth, after giving up a lead off single, Rice, picked up his 4th strikeout, a ground out, and a fly out to send it to the bottom of the inning. In the bottom of the sixth, Lebetter, reached on a 1-out single. Davin Abernathy, would come in to pitch run for Ledbetter. Abernathy, would then get to 2nd on a wild pitch. Trey Payne, would reach base with a single. Abernathy and Payne, would then advance on a wild pitch.

With Senior Harlan Will at the plate, he  would drive in both Abernathy and Payne with a 2-RBI double to make it 8-0 Dragons going to the seventh.

 

In the top of the seventh, Rice, ended his very impressive outing with a 1-2-3 frame as Shouse made three great plays at short for all three outs. The Dragons, get the win 8-0 in game 3 to take the series, 2-1.

 

Stats for the Dragons:

Connor Shouse: 1 walk, 1 hit by pitch, and 1 run scored

Trace Ledbetter: 1-4 with a single, and 1 run scored

Trey Payne: 1-2 with a single, 2 hit by pitch, and 1 run scored

Tyler Payne: 1-2 with a single, and 1 walk

Harlan Will: 1-1 with a double and 2 RBI

Dawson Holland: 1 sacrifice bunt

Kam Jenkins: 1 walk and 1 runner thrown out

Sam Hammontree: 1-1 with a double

Evan Giddens: 2-3 with 2 singles, 2 RBI, and 1 run scored

Colby Brooks: 1 run scored

Davin Abernathy: 1 run scored

Ezra Faber: 1 run scored

James Tilley: 1 run scored

A.J. Rice: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 HBP, 4 K on 89 pitches

 

The Dragons, will now look towards Saturday, April 29th as they begin a best of three series with the Gordon Lee Trojans with a doubleheader. The Trojans, are representing region 6 as the #2 seed. They are 20-8 overall. The Trojans, swept Cedar Grove in the first round to get to this point. It should be an entertaining series between a pair of good teams.

Dragons split doubleheader with Hart County

PHS Baseball, Team FYN Sports

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.

 

Game 1:

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

 

Game 2:

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.

 

Dragons shut out Tallulah Falls on Senior Night

PHS Baseball, Team FYN Sports

Jasper, Ga — It was a great day to celebrate as the Pickens Dragons hosted the Tallulah Falls Indians on Friday, April 21st for Senior Night. Prior to the ball game, the Dragons recognized their 4 Seniors from the 2023 class. Colby Brooks, Evan Giddens, Tee Knight, and Harlan Will were honored for their contributions to the Pickens baseball program. Their parents, threw out the first pitch to their sons to close out the ceremony. The Dragons, picked up their 26th win of the season with a 5-0 shut out of the Indians.

 

In the top of the first, Dragons starter Tee Knight, worked around a 1-out walk as he got some help from his defense as Connor Shouse picked up a ball that dropped in the outfield and threw a strike to Senior Evan Giddens who tagged out the runner for the 2nd out. Knight, picked up his 1st strikeout to send it to the bottom of the inning. In the bottom of the frame, Shouse, Trace Ledbetter, and Dawson Holland all reached on consecutive walks to load the bases.

Senior Harlan Will, drove in Shouse with a sacrifice fly RBI to make it 1-0. After a single from Tyler Payne to load the bases again, Trey Payne brought in Ledbetter with an RBI single to make it 2-0. James Tilley, drove in Holland with a sacrifice fly RBI to make it 3-0 Dragons going to the second.

 

In the top of the second, Knight, worked around a lead off single as he got back to back pop ups an his 2nd strikeout to send it to the bottom of the inning. In the bottom of the second, Senior Colby Brooks led off with an infield single. Brooks, advanced to 3rd on a 1-out single by Ledbetter. The Dragons, then pulled off a double steal as Ledbetter stopped halfway to 2nd which allowed Brooks to come in and score to make it 4-0 going to the third.

 

In the top of the third, after getting a fly out for the 1st out of the frame, Knight would be relieved by Tate Hales. Hales, worked around a 1-out walk to get a fly out and a strikeout to send it to the bottom of the third. In the bottom of the third, Tyler Payne, reached on a 1-out single. Trey Payne, would reach on a fielder’s choice as pitch runner Davin Abernathy would be throw out at 2nd.

The Indians starter, Andrew Skvarka, got out of the bottom of the third with another ground out to send it to the fourth with the Dragons leading, 4-0.

 

In the top of the fourth, Hales would be relieved by Cason Cannon. Cannon, had an impressive outing as he picked up 2 strikeouts and a fly out on 8 pitches to send it to the bottom of the fourth. In the bottom of the fourth, Giddens, led off with a single. He would advance to 3rd on the play after a 2-base error. Shouse, brought in Giddens with a sacrifice fly RBI to make it 5-0 Dragons going to the fifth.

 

In the top of the fifth, Cannon, continued his fantastic outing as he picked up two more strikeouts and a ground out to short in a clean fifth inning. In the bottom of the fifth, Sam Hammontree, who came in for Tyler Payne, reached on a 2-out single. Hammontree, would advance to 3rd after Trey Payne reached on an error. They would be left stranded and the game would go to the sixth, with the Dragons still leading, 5-0.

 

In the top of the sixth, JP Nunn came on in relief of Cannon. The Indians, had their first big threat of the game as they loaded the bases with nobody out. Nunn, got out of the jam with back to back strikeouts and a pop up to 1st to send it to the bottom of the sixth. In the bottom of the sixth, Giddens, again led off with a single. After Shouse reached with a 1-out single, Christian Starks, who came on for Holland in the fifth, got on with a 2-out walk to load the bases.

The Indians, were able to get out of their own bases loaded jam to send it to the top of the seventh with the Dragons ahead, 5-0.

 

Nunn, came back out for the top of the seventh to close things out. Nunn did just that as he had a clean 1-2-3 inning with 2 strikeouts and a ground out to short as the Dragons picked up the win, 5-0.

 

Stats for the Dragons:

Connor Shouse: 1-2 with a single, a walk, 1 RBI, and 1 run scored

Trace Ledbetter: 1-3 with a single, a walk, and 1 run scored

Dawson Holland: 1 walk, and 1 run scored

Christian Starks: 1 walk

Harlan Will: 1 RBI

Tyler Payne: 2-2 with 2 singles

Sam Hammontree: 1-1 with a single

Trey Payne: 1-3 with a single and 1 RBI

James Tilley: 1 RBI

Evan Giddens: 2-3 with 2 singles and 1 run scored

Colby Brooks: 1-2 with a single and 1 run scored

Tee Knight: 2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K on 40 pitches

Tate Hales: .2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K on 19 pitches

Cason Cannon: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, on 25 pitches

JP Nunn: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 HBP, 4 K, on 27 pitches

 

The Dragons, finish the regular season at 26-4 overall and 7-AAA region champions. Next up for the Dragons, a first round best of 3 series with the Hart County Bulldogs in the GHSA 3A State Baseball Tournament. The Bulldogs, are the #4 seed out of region 8. The best of 3 series begins on Monday, April 24th with a doubleheader at Dunn Field. First pitch for game 1 is set for 5:00 pm.

Dragons defeat Shiloh in non-region action

PHS Baseball, Team FYN Sports

Snellvelle, Ga — What a warm day for baseball it was on Wednesday, April 19th as the Pickens Dragons made the trip down to Snellville to take on the Shiloh Generals in non-region action. The Generals, are out of region 8 in the 6A classification.  The bats for the Dragons, were just as hot as the weather as they scored 10 runs in the 4th in route to a 13-2 win in 5 innings.

 

In the top of the first, Trace Ledbetter reached by drawing a 1-out walk. He would be left stranded as Generals starter Rodney Mudd, got a fly out and a ground out to go along with a strikeout to send it to the bottom of the first. In the bottom of the frame, Dragons starter Trey Payne, worked around DuShawn Andrews reaching on a dropped 3rd strike, and Nicholas Johnson getting hit by a pitch with 1-out, as he picked up his 1st strikeout and a ground out.

Going to the top of the second, the Dragons and Generals were tied up at 0.

 

In the top of the second, Dawson Holland led off with a single. He then advanced to 2nd on an error. Freshman Kam Jenkins, drove him in with an RBI single to make it 1-0 Dragons. After a 2-out single by Senior Young Harris commit Evan Giddens reached with a single, Colby Brooks would bring Jenkins in on the fielder’s choice to make it 2-0 Dragons going to the bottom of the second.

In the bottom of the second, Anthony Vu led off with a single. Vu, would advance to 2nd after a sacrifice bunt from Malcolm Robinson. David Johnson, drove in Vu with an RBI double to cut the Dragons lead down to 2-1. Jaden Mercedes, would move Johnson over to 3rd on a sacrifice bunt. Johnson, would come in to score on a wild pitch to tie the game at 2 going to the top of the third.

 

In the top of the third, the Dragons tried to get a little 2-out rally going as Holland would draw a full count walk, and Jenkins would get hit with a pitch on a 3-0 count. Mudd, got a pop up to 2nd for the third out to send it to the bottom half of the inning. In the bottom of the third, Trey Payne, worked around a lead off single by Andrews as he picked up 2 strikeouts and a ground out to send it to the fourth inning still tied at 2.

 

In the top of the fourth, the Dragons, broke the game open as they plated 10 runs on 6 hits, 3 walks, a balk, and a passed ball to lead it 12-2 going to the bottom of the fourth. In the bottom of the fourth, Prep Baseball Georgia Player of the Week James Tilley, came on in relief of Trey Payne and picked up a 1-2-3 inning with a ground out, a strikeout, and a pop up to send it to the fifth with the Dragons leading, 12-2.

 

In the top of the fifth, Holland and Tilley both reached on 1-out walks. Giddens, drove in Holland with an RBI single to make it 13-2 Dragons going to the bottom of the fifth. In the bottom of the fifth, Junior Ga Tech commit Connor Shouse, came on in relief of Tilley. Shouse, worked around a 1-out hit batter as he struck out 2 and induced a ground out as the Dragons defeat the Generals, 13-2 in 5 innings.

 

Stats for the Dragons:

Connor Shouse: 2-4 with a single, a double, 2 RBI, and 1 run scored & 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 2 K on 13 pitches

Trace Ledbetter: 1-3 with a single, a walk, and 1 run scored

Trey Payne: 1-4 with 1 single, 2 RBI, and 1 run scored & 3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 3 K on 40 pitches

Harlan Will: 1 walk and 1 run scored

Dawson Holland: 2-2 with 2 singles, 2 walks, 1 RBI, and 3 runs scored

Kam Jenkins: 1-1 with 1 single, 1 HBP, 1 RBI, and 1 run scored

Tyler Payne: 1 walk and 1 run scored

Christian Starks: 1 walk and 1 run scored

James Tilley: 1 walk & 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K on 7 pitches

Evan Giddens: 3-3 with 3 singles, 1 HBP, 3 RBI, and 2 runs scored

Colby Brooks: 1 RBI, and 1 run scored

 

The Dragons, will be back home on Friday, April 21st as they will host the Tallulah Falls Indians at Dunn Field for Senior Night. It will be the final game of the 2023 regular season. The first pitch is set for 5:30 pm.

Dragons pick up series win against Indians

PHS Baseball, Team FYN Sports

Dahlonega, Ga — The weather was touch and go, but the Pickens Dragons and the Lumpkin County Indians got the series finale in on Friday, April 14th. After the Indians took game 1 on Tuesday, the Dragons came back on Thursday to even up the series and to capture the 7-AAA region championship. In a game dominated by pitching, the Dragons got another great start from Freshman A.J. Rice as they won game 3, 2-1.

 

In the top of the first, Trey Payne, reached on a full count walk with 2-outs. Indians starter Alejandro Narvaez, got a fly out and 2 ground outs to send it to the bottom of the frame. In the bottom of the inning, Narvaez led off with a double. After a strikeout by Dragons starter A.J. Rice, Narvaez advanced to 3rd on a fly out to left. Narvaez, would be left stranded at 3rd as Rice picked up his 2nd K to send it to the second with the game still scoreless.

 

In the top of the second, Dawson Holland led off with a single. Holland, would advance all the way to 3rd as Kam Jenkins laid down a bunt and Narvaez overthrew 1st and allowed Jenkins to advance to 2nd. James Tilley, kept the line moving as he drove in Holland with an RBI single to make it 1-0. Senior Young Harris commit Evan Giddens, brought in courtesy runner Tee Knight with a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0 Dragons.

Colby Brooks, reached on a fielder’s choice as Tilley would be out at 2nd for the second out. Junior Ga Tech commit Connor Shouse, kept the inning alive with a double. Narvaez, would get out of the inning with just the 2 runs as they’d go to the bottom of the 2nd with the Dragons leading, 2-0. In the bottom of the second, the Indians loaded the bases with no one out after a lead off reach on error, a walk, and a hit by pitch.

The first out of the inning came when Rice got Dakota Bennett to ground into a fielder’s choice and Hayden Gilbert was thrown out at home. Rice, with the bases still loaded, picked up his 3rd and 4th strikeout to end the bottom of the 2nd and keep the Indians scoreless. Going to the top of the third, the Dragons led, 2-0.

 

In the top of the third, Tyler Payne, reached on a 1-out single. Holland, reached with a walk on 4 straight pitches. Jenkins, loaded the bases with a 1-out single. Narvaez, got Tilley to fly out to shallow right field for the 2nd out. A ground out to short ended the top of the third and the Dragons threat. In the bottom of the third, Adian Rogers, reached on a 2-out bunt single. He would be thrown out by Jenkins trying to steal 2nd to end the third.

Going to the fourth, the Dragons still maintained a 2-0 lead over the Indians.

 

In the top of the fourth, the Dragons got a 2-out single by Trace Ledbetter, but he would be left stranded as Narvaez got a line out to center for the final out of the top half of the fourth. In the bottom half of the fourth, Gilbert led off with a double. The Indians, would cut the Dragons lead in half as Mason Hester drove in Gilbert with an RBI double to make it 2-1.

Much like he’s done all season, Rice kept his cool and got back to back strikeouts to strand Hester and keep the Dragons ahead going to the fifth, 2-1.

 

In the top of the fifth, Narvaez picked up his first strikeout of the game and his first 1-2-3 inning of the game to send it to the bottom of the fifth. In the bottom of the inning, Narvaez, led off with a single. The Dragons, then turned a double play as Cooper Scott lined it to Giddens at 3rd and Giddens would toss it over to Ledbetter at 1st to get Narvaez. Rice, then got a fly out to right for the 3rd out to send it to the sixth with Pickens leading Lumpkin, 2-1.

 

In the top of the sixth, Narvaez, going over 100 pitches on the night, picked up his second straight 1-2-3 inning with his 2nd strikeout, a ground out, and a line out. In the bottom of the sixth, Rice, struck out the side for the 2nd time in the game to give him 10 on the night. Going to the seventh, the Dragons led it, 2-1.

 

In the top of the seventh, Scott, came on in relief of Narvaez and picked up where he left off as Scott got a pop up, a fly out, and a ground out to send it to the bottom of the seventh. In the bottom of the seventh, Junior Jacksonville State commit JP Nunn, came on in relief of Rice to try to pick up the save. Nunn, got a quick welcome to the game as Hester lined one right at him. Nunn, was able to catch the line drive for the first out.

Nunn, would go on to have a clean inning as he picked up a strikeout, and then a fly out to center as the birthday boy picked up the save and the Dragons got the win, 2-1.

 

Stats for the Dragons:

Connor Shouse: 1-4 with a double

Trace Ledbetter: 1-4 with a single

Trey Payne: 1 walk

Tyler Payne: 1-2 with a single

Dawson Holland: 1-2 with a single, a walk, and 1 run scored

Kam Jenkins: 1-3 with a single

Tee Knight: 1 run scored

James Tilley: 1-3 with a single and 1 RBI

Evan Giddens: 1 sacrifice fly

A.J. Rice: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 10 K on 91 pitches

JP Nunn: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K on 8 pitches

 

The Dragons, finish up region play having won every series and with a record of 16-2. Overall their record is 24-4 on the season. Pickens, will finish up the regular season with a pair of non-region games. First up, a date with the Shiloh Generals on the road on Wednesday, April 19th. First pitch is set for 5:30 pm.

Dragons capture first Region Championship

PHS Baseball, Team FYN Sports

Jasper, Ga — While the weather outside at times looked uncertain, it held off enough so that the Pickens Dragons and the Lumpkin County Indians could get in game 2 of their 3-game 7-AAA series on Thursday, April 13th. Coming into the game, the Indians were up 1-0 in the series after winning 4-0 in Dahlonega on Tuesday. The Dragons, needing just one more win to secure a region championship, got it after James Tilley threw a complete game no hitter in a 2-0 victory.

 

In the top of the first, the Indians got their lead off man on as Harper Davenport reached on an error. Davenport, would be thrown out at 2nd as Narvaez reached on a fielder’s chioce. Dragons starter James Tilley, picked up his first K of the night for the second out. Catcher Kam Jenkins, would then throw out Narvaez trying to steal 2nd to send it to the bottom of the first inning.

In the bottom of the first, Junior Ga Tech commit Connor Shouse, led off by reaching on a first pitch single to left field. Shouse would then advance to 2nd after a balk was called. After a pop up for the first out, the Indians picked up a double play to get out of the first inning as they got another pop up to 2nd and threw out Shouse who over-slid 3rd base trying to tag from 2nd. Going to the second, it was tied at 0.

 

In the top of the second, Tilley, sat the Indians down in order with his 2nd strikeout, and two ground outs. In the bottom of the second, Dawson Holland reached after drawing a full count walk. Jenkins followed with a single to left center to put runners at 1st and 2nd. A.J. Rice, who was looking to bunt the runners over, reached after there was miscommunication between the Indians defense and there was no one covering 1st.

Young Harris commit Evan Giddens, brought in Holland and the Dragons took a 1-0 lead. Colby Brooks, kept the inning going as he reached on a fielder’s choice. Indians starter Adian Rogers, got a fly out to center to get out of the bases loaded jam and keep the deficit to just 1-0 going to the top of the third.

 

In the top of the third, Tilley, got the first two outs of the frame with his 3rd strikeout and a grounder to 1st. After Tyler Boggs drew a 2-out walk, Davenport would line the next pitch to center where Brooks made a diving catch for the third out of the top half of the inning. In the bottom of the third, Trace Ledbetter, led off by getting hit with a pitch. The Indians, got another double play with a line out to Rogers and pitch runner Sam Dart was throw out at 1st.

Rogers, would then get designated hitter Tyler Payne to ground out to short to end the third and send it to the fourth with the Dragons leading, 1-0.

 

In the top of the fourth, Cooper Scott, would reach after a dropped third strike. Peyton Wood, would reach on a fielder’s choice as he beat out the throw to 1st. Tilley, picked up his 5th strikeout of the game to send it to the bottom of the fourth. Rogers, got his first 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the fourth as he picked up a ground out, a fly out, and his first strikeout to send it to the fifth with the Dragons still leading, 1-0.

 

In the top of the fifth, Tilley kept rolling with a 1-2-3 frame as he picked up two fly outs and his 6th strikeout. In the bottom of the fifth, Rogers, who was pitching just as well as Tilley, got three straight fly outs to send it to the sixth with Pickens still ahead of Lumpkin, 1-0.

 

In the top of the sixth, Tilley, picked up strikeout number 7 and 8 in-between a ground out to short to send it to the bottom of the inning. In the bottom of the sixth, Ledbetter led off with a double. Trey Payne, moved Ledbetter over to 3rd with a sacrifice bunt. Brewton Parker College commit, Harlan Will, came on to hit for Tyler Payne and did his job as he brought in Ledbetter with the sacrifice fly RBI to make it 2-0 Dragons going to the seventh.

 

In the top of the seventh, Tilley, finished off his masterpiece with a fly out to right, a ground out to 2nd, and his 9th strikeout to give the Dragons the 2-0 win and to secure their first region championship.

 

Stats for the Dragons:

Connor Shouse: 1-3 with a single

Trace Ledbetter: 1-2 with a hit by pitch, a double, and 1 run scored

Trey Payne: 1 sacrifice bunt

Harlan Will: 1 sacrifice fly and 1 RBI

Dawson Holland: 1 walk and 1 run scored

Kam Jenkins: 1-2 with a single

A.J. Rice: 1-2 with a single

Evan Giddens: 1 RBI

James Tilley: 7 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K on 101 pitches

 

7-AAA Standings:

Pickens: 23-4 (15-2) Region Champions

Wesleyan: 14-7 (11-3)

Lumpkin: 19-6 (10-4)

Dawson: 13-13 (8-7)

White County: 11-14 (6-9)

West Hall: 6-18 (2-12)

Gilmer: 6-19 (0-15)

 

The Dragons, will be back in Dahlonega on Friday, April 14th as they will finish off the 3-game series with the Lumpkin County Indians. First pitch is set for 5:55 pm weather permitting.

Rice throws complete game shutout as Dragons sweep Tigers

PHS Baseball, Team FYN Sports

Jasper, Ga — On another beautiful day for baseball, the Pickens Dragons welcomed the Dawson Tigers to Dunn Field for the third and final game of their 7-AAA series on Thursday, April 6th. The Dragons, came into the game looking to sweep the series, while the Tigers came into the game looking to at least steal a game. The Dragons, got a masterful performance from Freshman A.J. Rice as he threw a 4-hit complete game shutout as Pickens picked up a 3-0 win.

 

In the top of the first, Rice started off the game with a strikeout. After a 1-out single by Sawyer Bearden, he would advance to 2nd after a ground out by Julian Horner. The Tigers, would leave Bearden stranded at 2nd after Rice picked up his 2nd K of the inning to send it to the bottom of the first. In the bottom of the frame, the Dragons got a 1-out double by Trace Ledbetter, and a 2-out walk by Tyler Payne.

Tigers starter Banks Hickman, got out of the first with a strikeout to send it to the second with the game still tied.

 

In the top of the second, Elijah Odom led off with a single. After Rice picked up his 3rd K of the game, Odom would be out at 2nd as Chase Adams reached on the fielder’s choice. Rice, got his 4th K to end the top of the second and keep the game scoreless. In the bottom of the second, James Tilley would reach on a 1-out single. He would then steal 2nd to put himself in scoring position. Colby Brooks, kept the inning going with a 2-out infield hit.

Hickman, was able to get out of the runners at 1st and 3rd jam with a ground out to send it to the third with the game still scoreless.

 

In the top of the third, Rice needed just 7 pitches to get out of the top half of the inning as he picked up 2 more strikeouts and a ground out. In the bottom of the third, Ledbetter, would reach after being hit by a pitch. Ezra Faber, would then come in to pitch run for Ledbetter. Tyler Payne, drew his 2nd walk of the game to put runners at 1st and 2nd. Davin Abernathy, would come in to pitch run for Payne.

Dawson Holland, drove in Faber with the RBI double to make it 1-0 Dragons. Abernathy, would advanced to 3rd on the double, would come in to score after a wild pitch to make it 2-0 Dragons going to the fourth.

 

In the top of the fourth, Rice picked up his 7th strikeout to begin the inning. After a 1-out double by Davis Glass, Rice induced a grounder to 3rd and picked up his 8th strikeout leaving Glass stranded at 3rd. In the bottom of the fourth, Young Harris commit Evan Giddens, led off with a single. He would then steal 2nd to advance to scoring position. Ga Tech commit Connor Shouse, would advance Giddens to 3rd on a fly out to right.

Ledbetter, drove in Giddens with the RBI single to make it 3-0 Dragons going to the fifth.

 

In the top of the fifth, Rice continued his stellar night as he struck out the side giving him 11 punch outs on the night. In the bottom of the fifth, Bearden came on in relief of Hickman. Bearden, picked up 2 ground outs and a strikeout in a 1-2-3 inning to send it to the sixth with the Dragons leading, 3-0.

 

In the top of the sixth, Rice had his 2nd straight 1-2-3 inning as he picked up his 12th K, and 2 fly outs to send it to the bottom half of the inning. In the bottom of the sixth, Brooks reached with his 2nd hit of the night. He advanced to scoring position after stealing 2nd. Bearden, got out of the inning by getting a fly out. Going to the seventh, the Dragons still led the Tigers, 3-0.

 

After Rice picked up two quick outs to start the top of the seventh, Preston Bannister kept the game alive for the Tigers with a 2-out single. In a fitting way to end the game, Rice fielded a grounder right to him and he would flip it to Ledbetter for the third and final out. The Dragons, pick up the sweep with the 3-0 win.

 

Stats for the Dragons:

Trace Ledbetter: 2-2 with a double, a single, a hit by pitch, and 1 RBI

Tyler Payne: 2 walks

Dawson Holland: 1-3 with a double and 1 RBI

James Tilley: 1-3 with a single and 1 stolen base

Evan Giddens: 1-3 with a single, 1 stolen base, and 1 run scored

Colby Brooks: 2-3 with 2 singles and 1 stolen base

Ezra Faber: 1 run scored

Davin Abernathy: 1 run scored

 

7-AAA Region Standings:

Pickens: 22-3 (14-1)

Lumpkin: 18-5 (9-3)

Wesleyan: 12-7 (9-3)

Dawson: 12-11 (8-7)

White Co.: 8-14 (3-9)

West Hall: 6-16 (2-10)

Gilmer: 6-16 (0-12)

 

With the win, the Dragons have run their win streak up to 15 games in a row. Next week, the Dragons will play their final region series of the season as they take on the Lumpkin County Indians. Game 1 of the series, is set for Tuesday, April 11th. Game will be at Lumpkin. First pitch set for 5:55 pm.

Dragons open series with big win against Dawson

PHS Baseball, Team FYN Sports

Jasper, Ga — It was another beautiful day for high school baseball as the Pickens Dragons welcomed the Dawson Tigers to Dunn Field on Tuesday, March 4th for game 1 of 3 in 7-AAA. Coming into the game, the Dragons, were in 1st place in 7-AAA and had won 12 games in a row. For the Tigers, they came into the game in 3rd place in 7-AAA having taken 2 out of 3 from Lumpkin last week. The Dragons, got some great hitting and some clutch pitching down the stretch to take game 1, 5-3.

 

In the top of the first, Dragons starter Connor Shouse, sat the Tigers down in order with a fly out, a ground out, and a strikeout to send it to the bottom of the inning. In the bottom of the frame, Shouse led off with a double. Trace Ledbetter, followed that up with a single. Trey Payne, brought in Shouse with the RBI ground out to make it 1-0 Dragons going to the second.

 

In the top of the second, Shouse got 2 quick outs with a pop up to 2nd and strikeout. The Tigers, got their first base runner of the game after being hit with a pitch. Shouse, got out of the top of the second on the very next pitch with a fly out to center. In the bottom of the second, James Tilley led off by drawing a walk. Christian Starks, then moved him over with a sacrifice bunt. Evan Giddens, drove in Tilley with a sacrifice fly RBI to make it 2-0 Dragons.

Colby Brooks, kept the inning going by reaching on a bunt single. He would then find himself in scoring position after stealing 2nd base. Tiger starter Trey Harvey, got out of the second as he induced a grounder to 3rd for the final out. Going to the third, the Dragons led the Tigers, 2-0.

 

In the top of the third, the Tigers picked up their first hit of the game with a 1-out single. After Shouse struck out his 4th batter of the game, the Tigers got another base runner after a hit by pitch. Shouse, picked up his 5th K of the game as he ended up striking out the side in the top of the third. In the bottom half of the inning, Trey Payne reached with a 1-out single. He then made it all the way to 3rd after a throwing error on a pick off attempt.

Tyler Payne, then brought in Trey Payne with the RBI ground out to make it 3-0 Dragons going to the top of the fourth.

 

In the top of the fourth, the Tigers led off with back to back singles. The 6th strikeout from Shouse was the first out of the inning. A wild pitch brought the Tigers first run of the game to make it 3-1 Dragons. A sacrifice fly RBI to center brought in the Tigers 2nd run of the inning to make it 3-2. The Dragons, got out of the inning with a ground out. Going to the bottom of the fourth, it was now 3-2 Dragons.

In the bottom of the fourth, Tilley led off by reaching on an error. Starks, followed that up by reaching on a single on the very next pitch. Giddens, laid down a great sacrifice bunt to move them over to 2nd and 3rd. Harvey, then got Brooks to pop out for the 2nd out. The Tigers, then chose to intentionally walk Shouse to load the bases. The Tigers, got out of the jam with a grounder to 1st. Going to the fifth, it was still 3-2 Dragons.

 

In the top of the fifth, the lead off man for the Tigers reached on a single. Shouse, who was still on the mound, forced a grounder that went to shortstop A.J. Rice, who took it himself to 2nd and then fired to 1st base for the double play. Shouse, then got a fly out to right on the next pitch to send it to the bottom of the frame. Trey Payne, led off the bottom of the fifth with his 2nd single of the game. The Tigers, then got a double play of their own for the 1st and 2nd out.

Kam Jenkins, kept the inning alive for the Dragons with a 2-out single. Tilley, drew his 2nd walk of the game to put runners at 1st and 2nd with 2 outs. The Tigers, got a grounder to 3rd for the third out of the frame. Going to the sixth, the Dragons were still holding on to a 3-2 lead.

 

In the top of the sixth, the Tigers had batters hit with back to back pitches to begin the inning. JP Nunn, then came on in relief of Shouse to try to keep the Dragons in the lead. Nunn, picked up a strikeout, then got a come backer and the out at 2nd for the second out, then a fly out to right for the 3rd out and to keep the lead intact for the Dragons. In the bottom of the sixth, Giddens, reached on a lead off full count walk.

Brooks, then moved Giddens over with a sacrifice bunt. Shouse, was then rung up on a pitch that looked to be outside for the 2nd out. Ledbetter, was then hit by a pitch to keep the inning alive. Tee Knight, then came in to run for Ledbetter and he and Giddens advanced after a passed ball. Trey Payne, came up with a massive hit for the Dragons as he drove in both Giddens and Knight with the 2-RBI single to make it 5-2 going to the seventh.

 

In the top of the seventh, the Tigers got their lead off man on with a single. After a long at bat, the Tigers picked up a walk to put runners at 1st and 2nd. The Tigers, followed those up with a single to load the bases with no outs. A grounder to 2nd led to a run scoring for Dawson making it 5-3. After Nunn picked up his 2nd K for the second out, the Tigers would again load the bases after a hit by pitch.

With the bases loaded, 2-outs, and his team up by 2 runs, Nunn locked in and picked up the 3rd and final out of the game with a strikeout on 3 pitches to preserve the 5-3 win for the Dragons.

 

Stats for the Dragons:

Connor Shouse: 1-3 with a double, 1 walk, and 1 run scored & 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 HBP, 6 K on 77 pitches

Trace Ledbetter: 1-3 with a single, and 1 hit by pitch

Trey Payne: 3-4 with 3 singles, 3 RBI, and 1 run scored

Tyler Payne: 1 RBI

Kam Jenkins: 1-3 with a single

James Tilley: 2 walks and 1 run scored

Christian Starks: 1-2 with a single and a sacrifice bunt

Evan Giddens: sacrifice fly, sacrifice bunt, 1 walk, 1 RBI and 1 run scored

Colby Brooks: 1-2 with a single, and a sacrifice bunt

JP Nunn: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 3 K on 30 pitches

Tee Knight: 1 run scored

 

The Dragons, will be back on the ball field on Wednesday, April 5th as they head to Dawsonville to take on the Dawson Tigers in game 2 of the series. First pitch is set for 5:55 pm.

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