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Bulldogs blank Statesboro, 11-0

A week earlier, the Thomson Bulldogs had fallen two runs shy of beating Statesboro.

So as Thomson senior Abe Cartledge took the mound Saturday at Thomson High, he had a plan.

"I kept looking to my curve ball for my strike-out pitch, but I believe my fast ball was my better pitch 'cause they couldn't catch up to it, so I stayed with that," Cartledge said after the game.

Thomson came back strong, fueled by Cartledge's arm and six errors by Statesboro. The Bulldogs blanked the Blue Devils 11-0 in a five-inning game ended by the mercy rule.

"We played well on both offense and defense today, and it felt great to pay these guys back," said Cartledge, who held the Blue Devils hitless.

Both teams got off to a slow start, prompting a pep talk from Thomson head coach Jason Osborn.

"We're here today to work hard," he told his players. "Everything we did last year, we do this year."

The Bulldogs listened. They scored three runs in the second inning and three runs in the third -- including senior Andy Grimaud's fourth home run of the season, a two-run shot over the right field fence that scored Nick Rau.

"We started playing good against Westside, and it seems to have carried through," Grimaud said after the game.

Thomson went on to score five more runs in the fourth inning, and the game was called after Statesboro failed to score in the top of the fifth.

"I thought we had a good week this week," Osborn told his players after the game. "I saw some things today that I haven't seen this team do. We made some good defensive plays, guys were in the right spot, and the big thing I liked is that we were running the bases aggressively, and that's good. I mean, we got people getting down, people not making mistakes on the bases, and that's getting back to the ball this team is capable of playing. And that's what we've got to do, and that's what's going to make us successful. When you expect to win, losing isn't an option."

Offensively, the Bulldogs changed their batting lineup, putting right fielder Jesse Usry in the second slot.

"He's been putting the ball into play good, and that's what we've got to have in that slot," Osborn said. "Jesse's got a little more speed, he can hit, he can bunt, he can run. It also let us have a little more power in the bottom of the order as well, with Andy (Grimaud) down there. I was pleased with the lineup the way it was today."

On defense, Thomson had two double plays and several excellent plays in the outfield.

"We're really playing as a team now, not just individuals making effort, but all our guys making a team effort, and that's what makes the difference," Osborn said.

Thomson traveled to Grovetown on Tuesday for a regional game.

Web posted on Thursday, March 24, 2011

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