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Region travel schedule creates headaches for Diamond Dogs

A bad second inning in which they surrendered three runs ultimately cost the Thomson Bulldogs a 6-5 loss to West Laurens High School in Dublin last Friday evening. The loss gives Thomson a Region 3-AAA record of 2-2 and an overall mark of 4-5 in games through last weekend. Saturday's game with Burke County was postponed due to rain until April 30.

In a game that matched what appeared to be two rather evenly talented squads both Thomson and West Laurens put a single run on the scoreboard in the first inning. Dontavis Brown scored for Thomson after leading off the game with a walk. West Laurens benefited from three walks by Bulldog pitcher Abram Cartledge. The run scored by the Raiders was the result of a bases loaded walk.

In the second frame, the Raiders took advantage of a walk to the leadoff hitter, catcher's interference and an error coupled with some timely hitting to score three runs. From that point both Cartledge and West Laurens pitcher A.J. Wright settled into a pitcher's duel until Thomson tallied two runs in the fifth inning to pull within one run of the Raiders at 4-3. With one out, Dontavious Brown doubled, Will Anderson singled, Phillip Anderson scored Brown on a sacrifice fly and Nick Rau then singled after two outs to plate another run.

Brown hit a two-out, solo homerun to tie the game at 4-4 in the top of the sixth. West Laurens responded in the bottom of the inning when a leadoff walk came around to score allowing the Raiders to regain the lead 5-4. Phillip Anderson led off the top of the seventh with a double and pinch runner Jesse Usry later scored on an error to retie the game 5-5.

West Laurens led off the bottom of the seventh with a single. Will Anderson then relieved Cartledge upon which the Raiders bunted the runner to second base. Anderson struck out the next hitter for the second out before the fourth Raider batter lined a single to right field on a 2-2 count to score the winning run.

The Bulldogs enter a huge region weekend technically tied with Washington County for fourth place in the region. In the loss column however, Thomson is tied for second place with the Richmond Hill Wildcats, who have three region victories, and Washington Co. West Laurens enjoys possession of first place with a 4-1 record, 9-5 overall followed by Baldwin at 2-1 and 8-4 overall. Liberty County is 2-3 in the region, 5-5 overall while Burke County is 0-4 and 2-9.

Thomson will road trip from one end of the region to another this weekend for two crucial games. On Friday they travel to Milledgeville to face Baldwin in a 6 p.m. contest. On Saturday they face a rematch with Richmond Hill on the coast at 2 p.m. Richmond Hill defeated the Bulldogs 5-4 on March 13.

And now I present my editorial comment of the week. The Thomson baseball team was either not represented or poorly represented when the region baseball schedule was drawn. Maybe there was not even a meeting. Either way, the region schedule was delivered to the Thomson coaches without their input. Thusly they have this weekend's road trip to Milledgeville and Richmond Hill in well less than 24 hours time.

Rand-McNally tells me that Thomson to Milledgeville is 60 miles and Thomson to Richmond Hill is 158 miles. The coaching staff is considering spending Friday night on the road somewhere between Milledgeville and Richmond Hill rather than returning to Thomson late Friday night only to get right back on the bus Saturday morning. Neither choice is a good one. It is 170 miles from Milledgeville to Richmond Hill.

It seems too me that this problem could have been remedied by scheduling the schools with close proximity to one another on Tuesdays rather than in the Friday/Saturday format. Thomson, Burke County and Washington County are basically an hour's drive from each other.

I also suggest that Thomson would have been better served if they played Richmond Hill and Liberty County on the road on the same weekend. Those two schools are a mere 20 minutes apart. That would still involve paying for hotel rooms but a heck of a lot less diesel fuel, not such late hours and a baseball team that won't have sore legs and rear ends from so much bus riding.

Maybe Region 3-AAA needs a travel agent with a brain for logistics as secretary or maybe it was a plan.

Who knows?

Web posted on Thursday, April 02, 2009

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