Abram Cartledge went the distance in pitching and Will Tankersley hit a grand slam homerun to spark the Thomson High Bulldogs to an 11-1 win over the visiting Harlem Bulldogs in baseball action at the Thomson field last Thursday night.
The victory was sweet revenge for Thomson, who had lost a 9-8 extra inning game to Harlem in the season opener two weeks ago.
Thomson enjoyed a successful time of baseball last week -- not only getting winning an impressive game against Harlem, but defeating Elbert County 14-2 in Elberton last Friday night. Both of those wins came in shortened time due to the run rule. In the Harlem game, Cartledge ended it when he drilled a solo-homer deep over the left field fence in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Elbert County affair ended in five innings.
Thomson defeated Elbert County again on Tuesday and will host Liberty County on Saturday at 2p.m.
"I was extremely proud of them," Thomson first year head coach Jason Osborn said after the Harlem win. "It was good to see our guys battle back and get a win. That's Harlem and one of the most respected baseball coaches in the state."
Coach Osborn was referring to longtime Harlem head coach Jimmie Lewis.
The Thomson coach also was complimentary of three of his players, Cartledge, Tankersley, the junior leftfielder and Austin Cooper, the sophomore catcher.
"I thought Abe pitched real well," coach Osborn said. "He's still got some things to work on, but I thought he was very effective."
Cartledge, a junior southpaw, struck out nine batters, walked four and yielded five hits. He worked himself out of jams in the second, third, fourth and sixth innings.
The lefty, who fired two no-hitters last season, said he felt more lose than he did when he pitched his first game this year against Statesboro.
"I felt a lot more relaxed against Harlem," Cartledge said, noting his fastball and off-speed pitches were his best pitches.
Tankersley, who has quick hands and turns on the ball fast, belted his second homerun of the season off Harlem pitchers. In the season opener, he hit a solo homer. He did much greater harm to the Harlem in the latest meeting -- smashing a grand slam off Harlem starting pitcher Josh Wirsu in the bottom of the second inning that put Thomson up 8-0.
"He's really stepping up for us with the bat," coach Osborn said.
Tankersley hit his second grand slam in as many games when he went deep against Elbert County the following night.
"After it came off the bat, I knew it was gone," Tankersley said after launching the grand slam against Harlem.
Coach Osborn praised the performance of Cooper behind the plate.
"Austin was a totally different person than he was the first time we played Harlem," coach Osborn said. "Austin grew up."
Cooper drove in a run with a single in the bottom of the first inning and was responsible for a pair of put-outs, defensively, while throwing out a runner at second base who was attempting to steal.
Thomson scored three runs in the first. One of those runs came by way of a leadoff homerun by junior centerfielder Dontavis "Juicy" Brown over the leftfield fence.
Senior third baseman Cody Ewest kept things going when he hit a line drive single into left with one out. Cartledge followed with a walk and was lifted off the base path by pinch runner Josh Jones.
Junior shortstop Nick Rau then became the victim of a strikeout before Tankersley drove in Ewest with the first of his five RBI in the game with a single into leftfield. Cooper followed by getting a single, too, which scored Jones.
Thomson tallied five more runs in the second on two hits -- the biggest being the grand slam by Tankersley. The other hit, a RBI single, came from sophomore first baseman Andy Grimaud.
The Bulldogs scored three other runs -- two in the fifth and one in the sixth. Those runs were produced on hits by Rau -- an infield single and Cartledge -- the homer that ended the game.
Against Elbert County, the Bulldogs erupted for eight runs in the first inning. The winning pitcher was Rau, who worked three innings. Grimaud worked an inning in relief, as did senior pitcher Korey Austin.