Thomson Middle School is building a dynasty of sorts. TMS Athletics added another notch to their championship belt this past weekend. The TMS Diamond Dogs claimed the Super-10 Region Championship in baseball, to combine with wins in the title contests in cross country, football, boys' basketball, and soccer.
The Dogs defeated Putnam County in the sub-region championship contest at Sweetwater Park in eight innings by a score of 5-4 to advance to the region championship game.
Austin Phillips had eight strikeouts, one hit batsman, and one walk while allowing two runs on five hits. He was relieved by Justin McCorkle who added eight strikouts, one hit batter, three walks, and two runs on two hits. McCorkle recorded the victory.
Coach Brett Chalker praised the competition. "They had a tremendous pitcher who was mowing us down the first three innings. After we timed his fastball, we were able to collect a few hits and to tie the game up at two apiece."
However, in the fifth inning Putnam took the lead on a solid base hit to left field. The never-say-die Dogs fought back, though, in the bottom of the inning by garnering a few walks and a base hit to take the lead at 4-3 heading into the sixth inning. A Thomson error which led to an unearned run tied the game at 4-4.
After being unable to mount an attack in the sixth inning, Thomson pitched its way out of a jam in the seventh.
"Putnam had the winning run on third with one out, and Justin McCorkle pitched out of it by striking out the next two batters," said Coach Chalker.
The Dogs, though, were not able to get their offense going in the bottom of the seventh and the score remained tied. In the top of the eighth, Putnam had a runner on first with two out. Given the sign to steal, he headed for second base when the Dogs' Jonathan Talkington threw him out to end the threat.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Dogs' offense came alive. Ben Barmore led off with a single up the middle and stole second. Austin Phillips dribbled a swinging bunt to the Putnam County third baseman whose throw was errant. Barmore rounded third with the winning score.
"I was pleased with the way that we came back and defeated an outstanding pitcher," said Coach Chalker. "He kept us off-balance the whole game until he tired in the eighth. Once we put the ball in play, good things started happening for us."
Good things must come in pairs for the Dogs. In the second game, Thomson challenged A-side sub-region champ Wilkinson County, winning 12-0 to earn the championship.
In the championship game, the leading hitters for the Dogs were Austin Phillips, who was a perfect 4-4 with three doubles at the plate, and Austin Smith, who doubled twice en route to a 3-3 performance.
Justin McCorkle was the winning pitcher. He was credited with a perfect game, recording eleven strikeouts, no walks, no hits, and no runs.
"All year long we talked about winning the championship on our home field and all the hard work that we put into the season paid off. It was an awesome feeling to be able to celebrate in front of our fans, who graciously supported us all year. I enjoyed coaching these guys because they deserve all the credit for the championship," said Coach Chalker.