As hot as the temperatures have been of late, so has the baseball bat of Will Tankersley.
The 17-year-old rising senior at Thomson High School apparently has picked up in summer league baseball where he left off while helping the Bulldogs get to the Georgia Class AAA state playoffs for the first time in 40 years.
Tankersley, who lives in the Boneville Community of McDuffie County, drilled a pair of two-run homers as the Thomson blanked Marist 8-0 in summer league baseball action at the Evans High School baseball field last Friday night.
"It feels good," remarked Tankersley after his fifth homerun of the summer, which came during the bottom of the fifth inning. It ended the game with Marist due to the run limit rule.
Prior to his second homerun of the game, which scored teammate Andy Grimaud who led off the inning with a walk, Tankersley hit his fourth homer of the season -- a shot deep over the left field fence with Grimaud, once again aboard. Grimaud, the team's first baseman and a rising junior, smashed a two-run double that scored Matt Connor and Dontavis Brown.
Connor was a courtesy runner for catcher Austin Cooper, who reached earlier on a fielding error by the Marist second baseman. Brown, who went 2-for-3 in the game, later hit a single to place a pair of runners in scoring position.
Before Thomson erupted for fours in the bottom of the fourth, they held a 2-0 lead -- both runs having been tallied during the first inning.
Brown, one of seven rising seniors on the Thomson High School team, led off with a double into left field. He later moved to third base and eventually raced home with the game's first run on pass balls. Grimaud followed with a single and later scored on a wild pitch.
Thomson pitcher Abram Cartledge worked four complete innings, yielding just one hit to the Marist team before he was relieved by Brown in the fifth. Cartledge struck out five batters and walked three.
Brown, who had played center field before being called upon to pitch, faced four batters, struck out none and walked one.
Earlier last Friday, Thomson defeated Evans 7-2 behind the impressive pitching of rising sophomore Clay Blasingame, who also is a backup catcher. Blasingame was supported by some big hits -- one of which was a two-run homer deep over the left field fence by Cartledge, who continues to get stronger with the bat.
Other summer league games last week saw the Thomson team defeated by Washington-Wilkes 4-1. The game was played last Tuesday in Washington. Thomson's Austin Cooper was the loser pitcher.
"We didn't play well at all in that game," said Thomson assistant head coach Aaron Hall. "We only had three hits."
Thomson started summer league play winning their first four games.
They also suffered a heartbreaking loss at the hands of the Lakeside team in Evans last Thursday night. The final score was 8-7 in a game called in the sixth inning because of the time limit.
"I think we could have beaten them, if we had another chance to bat and if we had had all our players with us," added coach Hall.
One of Thomson's star players, Nick Rau, the team's shortstop and a starting pitcher, did not see action in summer league play last week.
He is playing out in Oklahoma with the prestigious Team Georgia -- made up prep baseball standouts from throughout the Peach State.
Grimaud was the losing pitcher of record against Lakeside.
In another game, which was played at the Harlem High field last Saturday afternoon, the Thomson team played Cross Creek of Augusta. Thomson won that game, too.