The Region 3-AAA winning streak has ended for the baseball team at Thomson High School. It came to an end with an 8-6 loss at the hands of Richmond Hill at the Thomson field last Saturday.
Unlike the night before when the Bulldogs had no trouble getting base hits and scoring runs against the Baldwin Braves, the lack of both of those ingredients kept Thomson from continuing to have a perfect region mark. They managed only six runs on just five hits against Richmond -- not enough to get the job done.
Despite that fact, the Bulldogs, nevertheless, gave it a valiant effort in their last at-bat in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Thomson managed to get two runners to second and third bases with only one out. They included Jesse Usry, a courtesy runner for junior starting pitcher/first baseman Abram Cartledge who led off the inning with a sharp single to left field and senior third baseman Cody Ewest, who followed with a walk. The next batter, junior left fielder whose bat has been red-hot of late, hit a come-backer to relief pitcher Cody Crow for the first out. The play advanced Usry and Cartledge another base and put both of them in scoring position.
The biggest dilemma confronting Thomson at that point was they needed somebody to get a base hit. It was something that didn't come about, as junior designated hitter Nic Wood was caught looking on a third strike. Sophomore catcher Austin Cooper later grounded out to end the threat and the game.
"When you don't pitch well, don't hit the ball well and don't play defense well, that's usually the recipe for a loss," lamented Thomson head coach Jason Osborn after the game. "That's as bad as we've played all year."
Thomson had been ranked No. 5 in the latest Class AAA coaches' poll prior to the Richmond Hill loss.
Coach Mitchell Curry's Richmond Hill team, meanwhile, who had come into the Thomson game fresh off a 5-4 loss the night before to Washington County, responded when asked to do so by their coach.
"We hit the ball when we needed to and we scored some runs in the process," coach Curry, who is in his eighth year as the baseball coach at Richmond Hill told The McDuffie Mirror . "I thought we were aggressive on the base path, too."
Thomson is now 5-1 in Region 3-AAA and 13-3 overall. Richmond Hill, meanwhile, is now 3-2 in region play and 9-6 overall.
Richmond Hill junior right-handed pitcher Kevin Matthews limited Thomson to six runs on four hits. The four hits came off the bats of Thomson players Cody Ewest, Nick Rau, Will Tankersley and Dontavis Brown. Ewest and Rau collected singles, while Tankersley and Brown hit homeruns in the bottom of the sixth inning -- Brown's shot a two-run dinger, which made it an 8-6 game.
It was Tankersley's sixth homerun of the season, while Brown's blast over left center field fence was his fourth homer one of the season.
The only other hit was a single by Abram Cartledge, Thomson's starting pitcher, who reached on a single to lead off the seventh inning. That hit came off relief pitcher Cody Crow.
The lefty Cartledge was coach Osborn's pick to pitch against Richmond Hill. Cartledge was tagged for a leadoff homer by Crow, who began the game playing third base. He later allowed two more runs before getting out of the first inning.
Thomson came back and tied the game with three runs in the bottom of that same frame to tie the game at 3-3. Richmond Hill struck for three more runs in the top of the fourth to take a 6-3 lead. The biggest hit was a two-run single by catcher Cody Rushing.
Cartledge, who didn't have his usual impressive performance on the mound ended up being relieved by Rau in the top of the sixth inning.
Rau gave up a double and two-run single by C. Mitchell, which turned out to be the difference in the game.
Cartledge struck out eight batters, walked two and hit two batters. He yielded six hits. Rau struck out four batters, walked one and hit a batter.
Thomson plays three games this week.
They were scheduled to play the Washington-Wilkes Tigers on Tuesday. The Bulldogs will travel to Hinesville on Friday to battle Liberty County's Panthers. Saturday, they will play host to the Washington County Golden Hawks. Game time is 2 p.m. at the Thomson field.