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 sweep region series with White County

PHS Baseball, Team FYN Sports

Cleveland, Ga — On Thursday, March 14th, the Pickens Dragons baseball team celebrated pi day by heading up to Cleveland, Ga to take on the White County Warriors in the third game of their 3-game set. Coming into the third game, the Dragons, had won the previous two games, 4-0. In those two games, they combined to give up just 3 hits, 1 walk, and 1 hit batsman while striking out 27 batters. The Pitching for the Dragons, continued its stellar series as A.J. Rice, Cason Cannon, and J.P. Nunn combined for a shutout in the 7-0 win.

 

The Dragons, got things started early in the top of the first as Connor Shouse drew a lead off walk on a full count to reach base. Shouse, would advance to 2nd on a wild pitch, and steal 3rd. Trey Payne, would drive in Shouse with an RBI ground out to make it 1-0. Pickens threatened to score more in the top half of the frame as Kam Jenkins and Dawson Holland hit back to back singles, but the Warriors would get out of it to send it to the bottom of the first.

In the bottom half of the first, Rice, the starter for the Dragons, picked up his first strikeout on three pitches. After the Warriors would reach on a 1-out double, Rice would get out of the potential jam with a ground out and a pop fly to send it to the second with Pickens leading, 1-0.

 

In the top of the second, Trace Ledbetter, led off by drawing a walk on four pitches. Christian Starks, would follow that up with a single to put runners at 1st and 2nd. Rice, would then move them over on a sacrifice bunt. Shouse, would bring in Ledbetter on an RBI ground out to make it 2-0. A 2-out RBI double by Trey Payne would drive in Starks to make it 3-0 Dragons going to the bottom of the second.

In the bottom of the second, Rice, would have a clean 1-2-3 inning as he forced a ground out and picked up his 2nd and 3rd strikeout. Going to the third, Pickens led White County, 3-0.

 

In the top of the third, Holland, kept the inning alive with a 2-out walk, but the Warriors got out of it with a ground out. In the bottom of the frame, the Warriors would reach base with a lead off single. That would be all for the Warriors in the third as Rice struck out the side to bring his total to 6. Going to the fourth, Pickens led White County, 3-0.

 

In the top of the fourth, Starks, picked up his 2nd hit of the night with a 1-out single. The Warriors, were able to turn an inning ending double play to send it to the bottom of the fourth. In the bottom of the inning, Rice, picked up two ground outs and his 7th strikeout in a scoreless fourth. Going to the fifth, Pickens still led White County, 3-0.

 

Shouse, would lead off the top of the fifth by drawing his 2nd walk of the game. He would then steal 2nd to get into scoring position. Shouse, would then swipe his second bag of the inning as he would steal 3rd, then score on an error to make it 4-0. Jenkins, would keep the inning going by drawing a 2-out walk. His courtesy runner, Nunn, would advance to 2nd on an error. The Warriors, would get out of the inning with a strikeout.

In his final inning of work, Rice, struck out the side for the second time to bring his strikeout total to 10 on the night. Going to the sixth, Pickens led White County, 4-0.

 

In the top of the sixth, the Dragons worked a little 2-out magic as Starks reached base after his third hit of the game. Rice, would follow that up with an RBI double to stretch the lead out to 5-0. Shouse, would then draw his third walk of the night to put two runners on. The Warriors, would get out of the sixth after forcing a pop up. Cannon, would come on in relief of Rice in the bottom of the sixth.

Cannon, would work around a 2-out single as he struck out 2 in his lone inning of work. Going to the seventh, Pickens led White County, 5-0.

 

Cade Sutton, would lead off the top of the seventh by drawing a walk. Jenkins, would bring him in with an RBI double to make it 6-0. Jenkins, would be thrown out at 3rd trying to stretch it to a triple. Holland, would then pick up his 2nd hit of the night as he smacked a double into center. After Holland advanced to 3rd on a wild pitch, Sam Hammontree would drive Holland in with an RBI ground out to make it 7-0 Dragons going to the bottom of the inning.

Nunn, would come on in relief of Cannon in the bottom of the seventh to finish the game off. Nunn, would toss a scoreless inning with a strikeout, a pop out, and a ground out to seal the 7-0 win and a sweep for the Dragons.

 

Stats for the Dragons:

Connor Shouse: 3 walks, 1 RBI, and 2 runs scored

Trey Payne: 1-4 with a double and 2 RBI

Cade Sutton: 1 walk and 1 run scored

Kam Jenkins: 2-3 with a single, a double, a walk, and 1 RBI

Dawson Holland: 2-3 with a single, a double, a walk, and 1 run scored

Sam Hammontree: 1 RBI

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

Christian Starks: 3-4 with 3 singles, and 2 runs scored

A.J. Rice: 1-2 with a sac bunt, a double, and 1 RBI & 5 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 0 R, 0 ER, 10 K on 71 pitches

Cason Cannon: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 K on 14 pitches

JP Nunn: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 K on 17 pitches

 

7-AAA Baseball Standings:

Pickens: 12-3 (5-1)

Lumpkin: 8-6 (4-2)

Dawson: 10-4 (4-2)

White County: 8-7 (2-4)

West Hall: 4-11 (2-4)

Wesleyan: 4-7 (1-2)

Gilmer: 6-7 (0-3)

 

In the series sweep against White County, Dragons pitchers combined to go 21 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 0 R, 0 ER, 40 K on 276 pitches. The Dragons will now turn to the busy week they have next week as they will play four games. The first game being a non-region game against the Fannin Rebels on Monday, March 18th at Dunn Field. First pitch set for 5:30.

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.

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 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 Bobcats to push win streak to 10 games

PHS Baseball, Team FYN Sports

Ellijay, Ga — It was a nice but windy day on Tuesday, March 28th as the Pickens Dragons traveled the short distance up to Ellijay for game 1 of their 3-game region series against their 515 rival, the Gilmer Bobcats. Coming into the game, the Dragons were riding a 9 game win streak and were tied atop the 7-AAA Standings with Lumpkin. The Bobcats, came into the game looking to break a bad string of luck and to pick up their first region win. The Dragons, piled up 15 K’s as a team continued their winning ways with a 7-1 victory.

 

In the top of the first, the Dragons wasted no time getting on the board as Ga Tech commit Connor Shouse, worked a full count and then sent a baseball over the left field wall to give Pickens the 1-0 lead. Harlan Will, reached on a 2-out walk, but the Bobcats starter Ethan McCollum, got out of the top half of the first only allowing the 1 run. In the bottom of the first, Austin Zabala led off by drawing a walk.

Shouse, the starter for the Dragons, settled down and got a grounder to 3rd base, and 2 strikeouts to send it to the top of the second with Pickens leading, 1-0.

 

In the top of the second, James Tilley reached after drawing a full count walk. Colby Brooks, then reached on a bunt single with 2-outs. Shouse, followed that up by drawing a walk to load the bases. McCollum, again was able to avoid the scoring threat and send it to the bottom of the second. In the bottom of the frame, the Bobcats, got a 1-out walk, and a 2-out walk. Shouse, was able to work around those pair of walks to send it to the third with the Dragons up, 1-0.

 

In the top of the third, Dawson Holland led off by reaching on an error. Will, followed up with a single. Holland, came in to score after a single by Trey Payne to make it 2-0. Kam Jenkins, reached after a dropped 3rd strike. Tilley, brought in pitch runner Ezra Faber with a sacrifice fly RBI to make it 3-0 Dragons going to the bottom of the third. In the bottom of the third, Shouse, had his cleanest inning of the game as he picked up 2 K’s and a grounder on 8 pitches.

Going to the top of the fourth, the Dragons now led the Bobcats, 3-0.

 

In the top of the fourth, Shouse led off by drawing his 2nd walk of the game. He then stole 2nd base to put himself in scoring position for Trace Ledbetter. Ledbetter, drove in Shouse with an RBI double to make it 4-0 Dragons. Holland, followed that up by reaching on an error. Tyler Payne, pitch hitting for Will, drove in Ledbetter with a grounder to make it 5-0. Holland, would come around to score as Jenkins reached on a 2-out single and Tilley drew a full count walk.

In the bottom of the fourth, Shouse picked up his 2nd consecutive 1-2-3 inning as he struck out the side on 11 pitches to send it to the top of the fifth with the Dragons leading the Bobcats, 6-0.

 

In the top of the fifth, Brooks led off with his 2nd hit of the game. Brooks, then advanced to 2nd on a wild pitch. After the Bobcats got Shouse out on a fly out, they would get Brooks out in a rundown for the 2nd out. Hayden Berry, who came on in relief of McCollum, got a come backer for the 3rd and final out of the top of the fifth. In the bottom of the fifth, Shouse, finished his outing off strong with 2 more K’s and a grounder to send it to the sixth.

 

In the top of the sixth, Haden West, who came on in relief of Berry, picked up the Bobcats first 1-2-3 inning as he got 2 grounders and a pop up to send it to the bottom of the inning with the Dragons leading 6-0. Cason Cannon, came on in relief of Shouse in the bottom of the sixth and he was impressive in his 1 inning of work. Cannon, picked up 2 K’s and a pop up to send it to the seventh, with Pickens leading Gilmer, 6-0.

 

In the top of the seventh, Christian Starks, pitch hitting for Tilley, reached on an error. Sam Hammontree, pitch hitting for Evan Giddens, followed up with a single. Brooks, reached on a 4-pitch walk to load the bases. Shouse, now at shortstop, hit a deep fly ball into the outfield that would bring in Starks to make  it 7-0 Dragons going to the bottom of the seventh.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Bobcats got a lead off walk. The Bobcats then got back to back 1-out walks to load the bases. Gilmer, picked up their first hit and their first run after a single to make it 7-1. JP Nunn, who came on in relief of Cannon, got back to back strikeouts to preserve the 7-1 win for the Dragons.

 

Stats for the Dragons:

Connor Shouse: 1-3 with a solo home run, 2 walks, 1 RBI, 2 runs scored, & 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 11 K on 77 pitches

Trace Ledbetter: 1-5 with a double, 1 RBI, and 1 run scored

Dawson Holland: 2 runs scored

Harlan Will: 1-1 with a single and a walk

Ezra Faber: 1 run scored

Tyler Payne: 1 RBI

Trey Payne: 1-4 with a single

Kam Jenkins: 1-4 with a single

James Tilley: 2 walks, 1 RBI

Christian Starks: 1 run scored

Sam Hammontree: 1-1 with a single

Colby Brooks: 2-3 with 2 singles, and 1 walk

Cason Cannon: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K on 13 pitches

JP Nunn: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K on 34 pitches

 

The Dragons, got a little bit of help from the Dawson Tigers as they defeated the Lumpkin Indians in the first game of their series. With that Lumpkin loss, the Dragons are now in sole possession of 1st place in 7-AAA. Pickens, will be back home on Thursday, March 30th as they will host the Gilmer Bobcats for game 2 of their 3-game series. First pitch is set for 5:55 pm.

Dragons take series against White County

PHS Baseball, Team FYN Sports

Jasper, Ga — It was a beautiful day for high school baseball as the Pickens Dragons hosted the White County Warriors in game 2 of their 3-game region series on Thursday, March 16th. After taking game 1 of the series, 4-3 on Tuesday, March 14th, the Dragons looked to get the series win in front of their home fans. Behind a complete game from James Tilley, and a great showing by the offense, the Dragons picked up a 7-2 win.

 

In the top of the first, Dragons starter James Tilley set the Warriors down in order with a strikeout and 2 ground outs to send it to the bottom of the first. In the bottom of the frame, Connor Shouse led off by reaching on a double. After Shouse stole 3rd, Trey Payne brought in Shouse with an RBI single. Later on in the inning, Harlan Will would reach with a single, Dawson Holland would draw a walk, and Kam Jenkins would reach on a single to load the bases.

The Warriors, were able to get out of the bases loaded jam with a strikeout to send it to the second with the Dragons leading, 1-0.

 

In the top of the second, the lead off man for the Warriors got on after getting hit with a pitch. Tilley, then got a pop up, catcher Kam Jenkins, then made a great throw to Shouse at 2nd to throw out the runner trying to steal. Tilley, picked up his 2nd K of the game to send it to the bottom of the second. In the bottom of the second, new Young Harris College commit Evan Giddens, led off by drawing a full count walk. Colby Brooks, followed that up with a single.

Shouse, brought in Giddens with a sacrifice fly RBI to make it 2-0 Dragons. After a double by Trace Ledbetter, Trey Payne drove in both Brooks and Ledbetter with a 2-RBI single to make it 4-0. Will, reached after being hit with a pitch. Holland, then reached on an error that would score Trey Payne to make it 5-0 Dragons going to the top of the third.

 

In the top of the third, Tilley snagged a come backer and took it to 1st himself for the first out. Tilley, then picked up his 3rd strikeout for the 2nd out. The top of the third came to an end as Tilley got another come backer. This one he would toss to Ledbetter to send it to the bottom of the third. In the bottom of the third, the Dragons got a 1-out single from Brooks, who then took 2nd after a steal attempt. The Warriors, got out of the third with back to back strikeouts. Going to the fourth, Pickens led White County, 5-0.

 

In the top of the fourth, the Warriors picked up their first hit of the game with a lead off single. A great play by 3rd baseman AJ Rice, nearly led to a double play, but the Dragons settled for getting the lead runner. Tilley, then picked up his 4th and 5th K of the game to send it to the bottom of the frame. In the bottom of the fourth, The Dragons, got a lead off walk by Trey Payne, a single by Tyler Payne, and a full count walk by Holland to load the bases with nobody out.

Jenkins, drove in Trey Payne after a come backer to the pitcher to make it 6-0. Sam Hammontree, pitch hitting for Rice, brought in Tyler Payne on a sacrifice RBI to make it 7-0 Dragons going to the fifth.

 

In the top of the fifth, after Tilley recorded his 6th K, the Warriors got a 1-out single. After a nice diving stop by Ledbetter at 1st, his throw would hit the runner as he tried to go to 2nd for the out. The Warriors, got another hit to load the bases with 1-out. A wild pitch brought in the Warriors first run to make it 7-1. A single then drove in the 2nd run to make it 7-2. A 3rd run would try to come in after a passed ball, but Jenkins fired it to Tilley for the tag at the plate.

After Tilley issued his first walk of the game, he settled down and picked up his 7th K of the game to send it to the bottom of the fifth. In the bottom of the fifth, the Dragons would go down in order and they’d go to the sixth with the Dragons now leading, 7-2.

 

In the top of the sixth, the Ga Tech commit, Shouse, made an outstanding diving play and throw to 1st to get the runner for the first out. Tilley, polished off the inning with his 8th and 9th strikeout to send it to the bottom of the sixth. In the bottom of the sixth, Tyler Payne reached on an error with 1-out. Jenkins kept the inning alive with a 2-out single. The Warriors, got a fly out to send it to the seventh with the Dragons up, 7-2.

 

In the top of the seventh, Tilley put a bow on his incredible start with a pop out to Giddens at 2nd, and his 10th and 11th strikeout to give the Dragons the 7-2 win. With the victory, the Dragons take the series against the Warriors.

 

Stats for the Dragons:

Connor Shouse: 1-3 with a double, 1 run scored, and 1 RBI

Trace Ledbetter: 1-4 with a double and 1 run scored

Trey Payne: 2-3 with 2 singles, 1 walk, 3 RBI, and 2 runs scored

Harlan Will: 1-1 with a single and a hit by pitch

Tyler Payne: 1-2 with a single and 1 run scored

Dawson Holland: 2 walks

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

Sam Hammontree: 1 RBI

Evan Giddens: 1 walk, and 1 run scored

Colby Brooks: 2-3 with 2 singles and 1 run scored

James Tilley: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 11 K, on 92 pitches

Dragons sweep Luella, earn first trip to Sweet 16

PHS Baseball, Team FYN Sports

Jasper, Ga — After sweeping the Ridgeland Panthers last week, the Pickens Dragons earned the #2 seed for 7-AAAA. For the first time in school history, the Dragons would be hosting a playoff series as they welcomed the #3 seed out of region 5, the Luella Lions. The 4A State Baseball Tournament format is a doubleheader on one day, and if needed, a third and final game the next day. Two wins advances you to the next round. The Dragons, had outstanding pitching in both games on Wednesday, April 27th, and the bats weren’t bad either as they swept the Lions in the doubleheader, 16-1 and 12-1.

 

Game 1:

Trey Payne took the mound for the Dragons in game 1 of the best of 3 series and he was fantastic. Payne, got the Lions in order with a strikeout, a pop out, and a fly out to left field on 12 pitches to send it to the bottom of the first. In the bottom of the first, the designated hitter Sam Hammontree, led off with a double. Hammontree, would then advance to 3rd on a grounder by Trace Ledbetter. Anthony Antinozzi would drive in Hammontree on another grounder to give the Dragons a 1-0 lead going to the second.

 

In the top of the second, Payne picked up where he left off in the first as he again sat Luella down in order on 11 pitches. In the bottom half of the second, Payne led off by reaching on an error by the center fielder. After a pop out and a fly out, James Tilley drew a walk to reach 1st. Colby Brooks, then laced a single into the outfield as both courtesy runner Tee Knight and Tilley would come around to score to make it 3-0 Dragons. Hammontree, then hit another double, this one scoring Brooks to make it 4-0 Pickens going to the third.

 

In the top of the third, Payne got the bottom third of the Lions lineup in order on 11 pitches to send the Dragons bats back up to the plate. In the bottom of the third, Pickens broke things open. Using 6 hits, a couple of errors, and several stolen bases, the Dragons scored 7 runs in the bottom of the third to make it 11-0 going to the the fourth.

 

In the top of the fourth, Luella got it’s only hit and run of the game off of a solo home run. The Lions, would also draw a 2-out walk, but Payne would get the next batter to pop up to Evan Giddens on the next pitch to send it to the bottom of the fourth with Pickens leading, 11-1. In the bottom of the fourth, Cade Sutton reached on a 1-out walk. Giddens, then drove him in with an RBI single. Tilley, then reached on a single of his own. Brooks, would drive in both Giddens and Tilley with a 2 RBI single to make it 14-1. With 2 outs, Ledbetter stepped to the plate. On a 1-0 count, he would smack one over the left field wall for a 2-run home run and to walk off game one giving the Dragons a 16-1 win.

 

Game 2:

For game 2 of the best of 3 series, the Dragons were designated the “away” team, and the Lions were designated the “home” team. In the top of the first, the Dragons carried over their hot bats from game 1 as Sam Hammontree led off with a double. Trace Ledbetter would drive him in with an RBI single. Anthony Antinozzi, then drew a walk. After Ledbetter advanced to 3rd, the Dragons did a double steal as Antinozzi took 2nd, and Ledbetter came home on the throw to 2nd to make it 2-0. Antinozzi, was then able to tag up and advance to 3rd after a fly ball to right field by Harlan Will. Antinozzi, came in to score on a sacrifice by Trey Payne to make it 3-0 Pickens going to the bottom of the first. In the bottom of the first, Dragons starter JP Nunn, got into a bit of a jam as he issued a 1-out walk and then the next batter would reach on an error to put runners at 2nd and 3rd. Nunn, was able to shake it off and pick up his 1st and 2nd strikeout of the game to send it to the second with the Dragons ahead, 3-0.

 

In the top of the second, Pickens got hits from Hammontree, Antinozzi, and Will as they plated 4 runs on 3 hits and 2 errors to stretch the lead out to 7-0 going to the bottom of the frame. In the bottom of the second, Nunn had a less stressful half inning as he picked up his 3rd and 4th strikeout and sat the Lions down on just 9 pitches. Going to the third, the Dragons led Luella, 7-0.

 

In the top of the third, James Tilley reached on an error by the 3rd baseman with 2-out to keep the inning alive. Colby Brooks, drove in Tilley with a double to make it 8-0 Pickens going to the bottom of the third. In the bottom of the third, Nunn kept rolling as he picked up his 5th and 6th strikeout of the game and sent it to the fourth with the Dragons leading, 8-0.

 

In the top of the fourth, Ledbetter led off with a walk. After Antinozzi flew out to right, Will drew a walk. Payne, brought in both runs with a base hit to make it 10-0. After a fly out by Sutton, Giddens drew a walk. Tilley, would then bring in Payne with an RBI single to make it 11-0. Brooks, followed that up with an RBI single of his own as Giddens would come in to score. Going to the bottom of the fourth, Pickens led Luella, 12-0. In the bottom of the fourth, the Lions got on the board again with a solo home run to make it 12-1. Luella followed that up with a little bloop hit down the right field line. Payne, patrolling right, got to the ball and threw a strike to Tilley covering 2nd to get the runner trying to stretch a single into a double. Nunn, did the rest of the work in the fourth as he picked up his 7th and 8th strikeout to send it to the fifth with the Dragons up, 12-1.

 

In the top of the fifth, the Dragons brought in some substitutions to get an at bat. First up, Cason Cannon, who sent a shot right back where it came from, but was caught by the pitcher. After a line out to right by Stephens, Jackie Jarrett drew a 2-out walk. He would be left stranded at 1st as the Lions got a strikeout to send it to the bottom of the fifth. In the bottom of the fifth, Ledbetter came on to try to finish this game off. After striking out the first two batters looking, the Lions were able to draw a 2-out walk. Not fazed by the walk, Ledbetter struck out the next batter looking to seal the win 12-1, and send the Dragons to the Sweet 16.

 

Up next for the Dragons, a date with the Thomas County Central Yellow Jackets in the Sweet 16. The Yellow Jackets, are the #1 seed out of region 1. They swept New Hampstead in the first round. This will be the Dragons first ever trip to the Sweet 16 of the state baseball tournament. Games 1 and 2 are set for Tuesday, May 3rd and the “if” game is set for May 4th. Times are to be determined.

Dragons sweep series with Southeast Whitfield

PHS Baseball, Team FYN Sports

Jasper, Ga — After defeating the Raiders on Tuesday, 13-1, the Pickens Dragons welcomed Southeast Whitfield to Dunn Field for games 2 and 3 of the series on Friday, April 8th. After a tough stretch that included a 4 game losing skid, the Dragons looked to sweep the Raiders and keep pace near the top of the 7-AAAA standings. Using timely pitching in game 2, and hot bats in game 3, the Dragons did indeed pick up the sweep.

 

Game 2:

Trey Payne started for the Dragons in game 2 of the series. After giving up a 1-out solo home run, Payne settled down and sent it to the bottom of the first. In the bottom of the first, Trace Ledbetter and Anthony Antinozzi both reached on 1-out walks. Harlan Will, then reached on an error, which allowed both Ledbetter and Antinozzi to score. Trey Payne then laced a double into the outfield to put runners at 2nd and 3rd. The Raiders, were able to force two consecutive pop outs to get out of the inning. Going to the second, Pickens led Southeast Whitfield, 2-1.

 

In the top of the second, Payne worked around a pair of walks as he picked up his first two strikeouts of the game to send us to the bottom of the frame. In the bottom of the second, Evan Giddens reached with a 1-out single and Ledbetter reached with a 2-out walk. They would be left stranded however as the Raiders once  again forced a fly out to end the inning and keep it 2-1 Dragons going to the third.

 

In the top of the third, Southeast Whitfield retook the lead using two hits and two walks to plate 2 runs to make it 3-2 Raiders. In the bottom of the third, Pickens went down in order. Going to the top of the fourth, the Raiders now led the Dragons, 3-2.

 

Tate Hales came on in relief of Trey Payne in the top of the fourth and Hales had a phenomenal outing. Hales, kept the Raiders bats quiet in the top of the fourth to send it to the bottom of the frame. Hales, then reached on a 1-out single. Tyler Payne, then reached on a 2-out single. The Raiders, were able to get the runner at the plate to end the inning and send it to the fifth with Southeast Whitfield still leading, 3-2.

 

In the top of the fifth, Hales again held the Raiders scoreless as his impressive outing continued. In the bottom of the fifth, Antinozzi reached on a 1-out single. Will, then reached after drawing a walk to put runners at 1st and 2nd with still 1-out. After the runners moved up to 2nd and 3rd, Trey Payne drove in Antinozzi with a grounder to the second baseman. After a 2-out walk drawn by Cade Sutton, the Dragons had runners at 1st and 3rd. The Raiders, were able to get out of the inning having just given up the 1 run. Going to the sixth, Pickens and Southeast Whitfield were tied at 3.

 

In the top of the sixth, Hales needed just 5 pitches to sit the Raiders down in order, and send it to the bottom of the inning. In the bottom of the frame, Hales, reached with his second hit of the game. Colby Brooks, running for Hales, stole 2nd to get in scoring position. Sam Hammontree, who came on in the top of the inning as a replacement for Ledbetter, drove in Brooks with an RBI single to give the Dragons a 4-3 lead going to the seventh.

 

JP Nunn came on in relief of Hales to try and close it out. The Raiders, made it interesting as they drew three straight walks to load the bases. Nunn, then forced a grounder to the shortstop Giddens who threw home for the force out. Nunn, then got back to back strikeouts to close it out and give the Dragons the 4-3 win.

 

Game 3:

After winning game 2 and taking the series, the Dragons looked to get the three game sweep over the Southeast Whitfield Raiders. In the top of the 1st, Dragons starter James Tilley needed 11 pitches to get the Raiders in order. In the bottom of the first, Pickens struck early as Harlan Will led off with a walk, his courtesy runner Tee Knight, stole 2nd, reached 3rd on a wild pitch, then ended up scoring on that same wild pitch. Anthony Antinozzi, who drew to walk initially, reached 2nd during the madness. Tyler Payne, then drove in Antinozzi with a 1-out double to make it 2-0 Dragons. Cade Sutton, followed that RBI double with an RBI double of his own to score Payne to make it 3-0 Pickens going to the second.

 

In the top of the second, Tilley continued his stellar outing as he needed 10 pitches to get out of the top half of the second. In the bottom of the second, the Dragons bats came alive. Pickens, batted around and plated 7 runs to stretch their lead over the Raiders to 10-0 going to the third.

 

In the top of the third, Tilley struck out the side to bring his total to 4 on the night. Heading to the bottom of the frame, the Dragons still led Southeast Whitfield, 10-0. In the bottom of the third, Antinozzi started it off with a lead off walk. Trey Payne drove in Antinozzi with an RBI single to make it 11-0. Sutton, drove in Payne after a grounder to the third baseman to make it 12-0. Tilley, reached on a walk, and Sam Hammontree reached on an error. A single from Colby Brooks drove in Tilley and Hammontree to make it 14-0. Evan Giddens, then reached on a walk. Will, then blooped one into shallow left field to score Brooks to make it 15-0. With the run rule in place, the Dragons took game 3, 15-0, and earned the sweep of Southeast Whitfield.

 

7-AAAA Baseball Standings:

Cedartown: 16-7 (10-2)

Heritage: 15-9 (8-4)

Pickens: 14-9 (9-6)

Central-Carroll: 15-8 (7-5)

Northwest Whitfield: 13-10 (7-5)

Ridgeland: 7-12 (3-9)

Southeast Whitfield: 3-23 (1-14)

 

The Dragons, will be out of region play next week as they will play four games with three different teams. First up, a home and home series with the Sonoraville Phoenix. The first game of the series will be at Sonoraville on Monday, April 11th. First pitch is set for 5:55 pm.

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