The Thomson Bulldogs are knocking on the door of first place in Region 3-AAA prep baseball.
Players, coaches and fans couldn't be happier. For they have won four of their last five games - three of them coming against region foes Baldwin County, Richmond Hill and Liberty County. The Bulldogs, however, were upset by the Washington County Golden Hawks last Saturday. The score was 4-3. The Bulldogs picked up two of those big wins during last week's spring break or Masters Week.
Some are saying the Bulldogs are peaking at just the right time as regular season draws closer to an end and the playoff picture looms.
Thomson was scheduled to have played Jefferson County on Monday, Washington-Wilkes on Wednesday - both road games - before returning to Thomson to host West Laurens in a key region game this Saturday. Game time is set for 1 p.m. The West Laurens team, which still holds down the top spot in region, fell to Liberty County last weekend.
A win against West Laurens could put the Bulldogs on top of the region standings.
Even though the team has been getting better than average pitching performances from its corps of pitchers, one thing is troublesome to Thomson Head Coach Terry Holder - hitting.
"We've got to start swinging the bats and getting base hits," Coach Holder said after his Bulldogs defeated Liberty County's Panthers 2-1 last Friday night. "We're leaving too many people on base. We've got to start swinging the bat."
Overall, Coach Holder described the game against Liberty County, as "a real good high school game."
He also praised the combined pitching of starting sophomore left-hander Abram Cartledge, now 3-2, who picked up the win and sophomore right-hander Phillip Anderson, who earned the save. Carledge, who along with senior Will Anderson, have carried the Bulldogs on the mound this season, worked 5 1/3 innings in the game against Liberty County. He gave up only two hits - the only two the Panthers got, while striking out six and walking five.
"I think I did a good job up until the sixth," Cartledge said. "I started getting a little tired and started aiming the ball."
Phillip Anderson, the younger brother of Will, meanwhile, came on in relief of Cartledge after he gave up a solo homerun to Liberty County's Chris Arnold and rendered walks to the next two batters. It marked the first time that Anderson had pitched since the season opener against Lakeside back on March 7, 12 games ago. During that game, he injured his elbow. He went on to strike out Brandon Whitmore and Matt Desbiens to end any further threat by the Panthers.
Anderson returned in the seventh, fanning two of the batters he faced, while getting the other one to ground out to sophomore shortstop Nick Rau, who made a fine defensive play.
"It was good to get Phillip back on the mound," Coach Holder said, noting the doctor released him to return to pitching form earlier last week. Anderson is another one of the Bulldogs' starters. "We're hoping that helps our chances a little more down the stretch."
Anderson said he felt "great" being back on the mound.
"It feels great to be back," Anderson said. "I hope I get to see a lot more pitching time now that I'm back."
One of the biggest defensive plays in the game was made by Thomson senior catcher Jonathan Talkington, who managed to save a run in the top of the sixth inning by making a block of a pitch thrown by Anderson.
"I was due for a big save," Talkington said. "It was the time to do it to help the team."
Earlier last week, Thomson defeated the Washington-Wilkes Tigers 11-7.
Against Washington County last Saturday, the Bulldogs, again, didn't get the hits needed to win the game.
"We didn't hit the ball well at all," Coach Holder said. "We've just got to start hitting the baseball."