EVANS, Ga. - Usually when a baseball team doesn't hit, they don't win. Case in point: the Thomson High Bulldogs when they faced the Lakeside Panthers in last Saturday's season opener played in neighboring Columbia County.
The Bulldogs were limited to just four hits in their 7-1 loss to the Panthers, who earlier had lost a 7-6 game at the hands of the Greenbrier Wolfpack.
Thomson sophomore starting pitcher Phillip Anderson got off to a rocky start; giving up five runs and yielding four hits while facing nine batters in the bottom of the first inning. Just the day before, Anderson had been tossing a football on the last day of spring football practice which lasted two weeks. He is expected to be the starting quarterback next season.
A football injury also sidelined sophomore starting shortstop Nick Rau. He suffered a right ankle injury during a scrimmage football game last Friday. Rau was expected to miss Tuesday's baseball home opener against the Screven County Gamecocks. He may see action in Friday's home game against Richmond Hill, as the Bulldogs face their first region opponent of the season. The Thomson-Richmond Hill begins at 6 p.m.
"I'm hoping I can get back in the lineup soon," Rau said.
In the game against Lakeside, Thomson Head Coach Terry Holder had to turn to his backup shortstop, Jake Unokur, a senior, who will see most of his playing time in left field this season.
After his shaky start, Anderson settled down in the second inning and kept the Panthers from scoring any more runs. In the third inning, he was replaced on the mound by Abe Cartledge, another talented sophomore pitcher. Cartledge worked three innings, allowing the Panthers just one run - a homer by Lakeside's starting pitcher, Ryan Shipp in the third that made it a 6-0 game. The homer was the only hit that Lakeside got off Cartledge, who managed to strike out four batters.
Down 6-0, Thomson struck for their only run of the game in the top of the seventh inning.
Senior catcher Jonathan Talkington led off the inning with an infield hit and later moved to second base on a ground-out by Jesse Usry. Talkington later went to third base on a wild pitch. Freshman backup catcher Austin Cooper later hit a hard grounder to shortstop which allowed Talkington to race home and prevent the Bulldogs from being shut-out in the season opener.
Sophomore starting centerfielder Dontavis "Juicy" Brown followed, laying down a perfect bunt and beating it out for an infield hit to keep the inning alive. The Thomson threat ended when first baseman and relief pitcher Will Anderson, a senior, struck out.
Aside from Talkington and Brown's hits, the Bulldogs only other two hits came off the bats of brothers Phillip and Will Anderson.