One of the most successful baseball seasons in a number of years has ended at Thomson High School.
The Bulldogs' season ended when they lost the second of a best-of-three game series against Northside-Columbus at the Thomson field last Thursday. The Patriots scored what proved to be the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning to win 4-3 in Game 3 and advance to the third round of the Class AAA state baseball playoffs against Cartersville this week.
In Game 1, it was the Bulldogs prevailing victorious, 7-4 last Wednesday. In Game 2 of the doubleheader that same day, the Patriots came back to even the series at a game apiece, winning 1-0. It set the stage for the dramatic third game of the series the following day.
Thomson Head Coach Terry Holder summed up the Bulldogs' 18-10 season, saying, "It was a remarkable season to say the least. This program really improved a lot from the time we started the season until we finished in the second round of the state playoffs. I'm very proud of how far our program has come. We just have to work hard and continue to get better and better here on out."
Coach Holder and one of his star players, Abram Cartledge, were not with the team during Game 3. Coach Holder was ejected for arguing a controversial strike-out call against his third baseman, Cody Ewest in Game 2, while Cartledge was ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct in throwing his bat down earlier in the same game.
The two shared a special time together while sitting out Game 3. They road together in Coach Holder's pickup truck, passing the ball park several times, while listening to the game via radio station WTHO in Thomson.
"That's all we could do," Coach Holder said. "They wouldn't let us on the field."
In Game 1 of the series, it was all Thomson.
The Bulldogs struck for three runs in the first inning. Will Anderson smashed a one-out double into right center field before Ewest followed with an infield single hit deep to shortstop.
Phillip Anderson, the sophomore right fielder, then reached on a fielder's choice that allowed his older brother to race home with his team's first run. It tied the game at 1-1. The younger Anderson and sophomore left fielder Will Tankersley later scored on back-to-back singles by Nick Rau and Cartledge, boosting Thomson to a 3-1 lead.
North-Columbus scored another run in the third before the Bulldogs responded with three more runs in the bottom of that frame.
Tankersley reached on a fielder's choice before Rau was walked with two outs. Tankersle later scored on an error before Cartledge reached on a fielder's choice. Rau and Jake Unokur, pinch runner for Cartledge, later scored on a two-run double by freshman designated hitter Andy Grimaud.
In the fourth, the Bulldogs went up 7-2. Dontavis Brown led off with a double into the right center field gap and eventually scored on a RBI infield single by Tankersley.
The Patriots scored their last two runs in the fifth - one a solo homer by Matt Hall off Cartledge, who went the distance. He yielded eight hits, while striking out nine batters and walking five. He also had three balks called against him during the game.
In Game 2, Matt Hall's leadoff homerun off Thomson senior pitcher Will Anderson was the only run scored in the game.
The big hit enabled the Patriots to keep the series going another day.
Thomson was held to two hits in that game by Northside-Columbus' pitcher, Tim Massengale, who fanned 15 Thomson batters. The Bulldogs' only two hits in that game came off the bats of Cartledge and Grimaud.
Game 3 was a different story, as the series between the two teams went right down to the wire.
Andrew Roy hit a one-out sacrifice fly to left fielder Will Tankersley that drove home the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning, as the Patriots claimed a 4-3 victory. The loss suffered by Thomson brought to an end a highly successful season - one that included winning their first region baseball title in 40 years.
Thomson led 3-2 after three innings. The Bulldogs went up 1-0 in the top of the second after Phillip Anderson, the pitcher, led off with a double to the warning track in left field. He later moved to third base on an infield single by Tankersley. Anderson eventually scored when Grimaud grounded out to the second baseman.
The Bulldogs scored two more runs in the third to take a 3-0 lead. Brown and Will Anderson scored the runs on a double by Ewest and and sacrifice fly by Phillip Anderson.
Thomson was held to just one more hit in the game by Northside-Columbus pitchers Rhett Jones and Tim Massengale.