If there were any doubts before the baseball season started at Thomson High School regarding pitching, those doubts may have now been distilled.
The reason: dominate pitching of late by the Bulldogs.
Two Thomson pitchers, Will Anderson, a senior and Abram Cartledge, a sophomore, have each worked two seven-inning games thus far this season - Cartledge, a southpaw, actually firing a no-hitter in his last performance. The no-hitter came against the visiting Washington County Golden Hawks last Friday and resulted in a 9-0 victory for the Bulldogs in another key region game.
Anderson, meanwhile, like Cartledge who plays first base when he's not pitching, was dominant in his latest pitching assignment, going the distance as the Thomson defeated state-ranked Elbert County 5-2 at home last Saturday. The win avenged an earlier 11-1 defeat at the hands of Elbert County last Wednesday.
"We've been very pleased with the pitching of Abe and Will so far this season," Thomson Head Coach Terry Holder said. "Both of them have really done a good job for us up to this point. We're just hoping that we can continue to get good pitching from them and one or two more of our pitchers, too."
One of those pitchers includes Anderson's younger brother, Phillip, a sophomore, who has been suffering from tendonitis in his pitching arm. He is expected to get back into the starting rotation later this week.
Thomson was scheduled to play the Jefferson County Warriors on Wednesday before traveling to Dublin on Friday to take on West Laurens in another key region game. On Saturday, the Bulldogs will host the Burke County Bears in their annual Diamond Day. Game time is slated for 2 p.m.
In last Friday night's win over WACO, Cartledge struck out 15 batters en route to his first prep career no-hitter. He walked just three batters. Against Richmond Hill, March 13, Cartledge pitched his first complete game, but the Bulldogs ended up losing the game, 5-4. In that game, Cartledge fanned 13 batters, walked four and yielded nine hits.
Cartledge got some much needed help in the top of the seventh inning when sophomore shortstop Nick Rau made a terrific play on a hard-hit grounder that he backhanded before quickly throwing to first baseman Will Anderson to get leadoff batter Thomas Snider. He went on to get Ryan Durden on a come-backer before retiring Chris Tyree on strikes to end the game and preserve his no-hit performance.
Thomson tallied a pair of runs in the first inning to take a 2-0 lead. Third baseman Cody Ewest drove in his first of four runs. After Will Anderson reached on an error and moved to second on a pass ball, Ewest lined a single into left field that allowed Anderson to race home. Ewest eventually scored on a two-base error by the WACO shortstop.
In the second, the Bulldogs pushed across four more runs to increase their lead to 6-0. Ewest drove in two more runs with a double into right center that scored senior second baseman Zack Washington who earlier had singled and Anderson who had walked. Cartledge helped himself out with the bat, too. He drove a ball deep to center field, which the outfielder misjudged. It allowed Cartledge to get all the way to third before he ended up scoring on an overthrow.
Thomson collected three more runs on eight hits in that game. The hits were delivered by the following players: Cartledge, a pair of singles, Will Tankersley, an infield single, Will Anderson, a pair of infield singles, Phillip Anderson, a double and Rau, a single.
In the Elbert County game, meanwhile, Thomson looked like a totally different team from the one that traveled to Elberton earlier last week.
"We played like we never got off the bus the other day in that loss," Coach Holder said. "We played a much better game against them on Saturday."
Will Anderson allowed seven hits, two runs, struck out seven and walked three batters.
Thomson went up 1-0 in the bottom of the first after Anderson drew a walk off Elbert County pitcher Chance Yeargin, who went worked four complete innings. He later scored after the bases became loaded and senior left fielder Jake Unokur was hit by a pitch.
Elbert County scored two runs in the top of the fourth to take a 2-1 lead.
Thomson bounced right back to tie the game in the bottom of that frame and then went up 4-2 with a pair of runs in the fifth and another one in the sixth. Hits during that time came from Jesse Usry, a double, Cartledge, Rau and Phillip Anderson, a pair of singles.