The Thomson High Junior Varsity Diamond Dogs learned how important defense can be last Saturday. Two costly errors in the final inning turned what looked to be a 5-4 victory over the Greenbrier Wolfpack into a 5-5 tie. In the second of two five inning games, Greenbrier upended Thomson 11-0.
Thomson JV Baseball Head Coach Wesley Harrell said his team is a learning process.
"We've got young kids. We have a lot of talent on this team, we just need to play more and learn to compete," he said.
The Wolfpack took an early lead in the first game when shortstop Blake Lane singled to left and later scored on a throwing error by Thomson first baseman Hunter Brinkman. The Dogs came right back with a score of their own in the bottom half of the inning when designated hitter Nic Wood was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on catcher Austin Cooper's base hit to right field. Greenbrier then came back to score two more times in the second inning and once in the third, with Thomson pitcher Korey Austin striking out Greenbrier's David Brown and getting left fielder Ricky Hebert to pop out to second, stranding runners on second and third bases.
"I'm proud of the effort our pitchers gave. They really competed well. ... Even when we weren't making plays behind them, they didn't get their heads down," Coach Harrell said.
In the bottom half of the third inning, the Dogs tied the game 4-4 on late roster addition Andy Grimaud's two-run single to center field. Thomson took the lead in the fourth when Austin doubled and moved to third and before scoring on a wild pitch. The lead would be short lived, though.
In the fifth and final inning, Thomson shortstop Josh Jones had problems fielding a ground ball hit by Greenbrier's Spencer Duffie. On the next play, Thomson center fielder Drake Smallwood allowed a grounder to get past him and go all the way to the fence, allowing Duffie to score the game's tying run.
Thomson threatened in the home half of the inning, loading the bases with two outs. Third baseman Cody Corbitt, however, flied out to center ending the game.
The second game was less exciting with the first inning setting the tone for how the rest of the game would go. Greenbrier scored three runs in the first without the ball ever leaving the infield.
Greenbrier's Dylan Ward got things started with an infield single. Thomson later committed two errors.
Greenbrier pitcher Rex Davis had the Dogs tamed at the plate allowing only two hits that came off the bats of Cody Corbitt and Drake Smallwood. The Dogs' only scoring threat came in the fourth when Corbitt reached on a fielder's choice while Smallwood and Korey Austin reached on dropped third strikes by the catcher to load the bases with two outs. Davis then struck out right fielder Brett Jenkins on three pitches to stop the rally.
The Bulldogs are now 1-2-1 on the season. They were scheduled to play Washington-Wilkes on Monday and will face Burke County on Saturday in the annual Diamond Day at the Thomson High field. Game time is 10 a.m.