The Thomson varsity baseball team coasted to an 8-3 victory over Washington-Wilkes in a game played at Thomson on April 6.
Coming off a 14-0 victory over Washington-Wilkes the night before, coach Jason Osborn decided to have some players from other positions spend some time on the mound.
We're free-subbing in the pitcher's spot," Assistant Head Coach Aaron Hall said during the game. "It doesn't affect the batting lineup, just who's pitching."
Senior Abe Cartledge started for the Bulldogs and pitched the first two innings, striking out five of the six batters he faced. Junior Austin Cooper, who normally catches, came in to relieve Cartledge in the third.
Freshman Hunter Bragg relieved Cooper in the fourth, and was himself relieved by senior Andy Grimaud in the fifth. Senior Nick Rau came in to pitch the sixth, and fellow senior Dontavus "Juicy" Brown was the closing pitcher in the seventh.
"You worry about it when you do that," coach Osborn said after the game, "because you're never sure that everyone's going to come into the game with the right mindset. But we threw six different pitchers out on the mound today, and I thought they all did a real good job, and that was good to see. It shows you can win when anybody is throwing."
"It felt good to come in and close," Brown said after the game. "I'm glad I got the opportunity to do it. I've been wanting to pitch for the longest time, and coach finally gave me a chance to come in and do it.
"I spent a lot of time in hard practice with coach, and he got me ready for it."
Cooper was also grateful for having had the opportunity to pitch in a game.
"It was the first time I've gotten to pitch since the ninth grade," he said after the game. "I've still got to work on it and get better, 'cause I'm hoping to do some more pitching next year as a senior. I'm going to use my time off to get better. I don't just want to catch. I want to pitch and to help the team score runs, too."
The Bulldogs scored eight runs on 13 hits, including back-to-back home runs by Nick Rau and Abe Cartledge in the third inning.
"When I got up to bat, the pitcher started me off with two fast balls that were called balls, and he followed with another fast ball that was a good pitch, and I just leveled up with it," Rau said of his homer, his fourth of the year.
Second baseman Cody Corbitt also scored a run by stealing home after hitting a triple in the fourth inning.
"I saw the pitch get away from the catcher, and I got a good jump and went for it," Corbitt said after the game. "You're always looking for it, and so when I saw it, I took advantage of it."
The Bulldogs were next scheduled to have three region games Tuesday, Wednesday and today against Josey, Harlem, and Grovetown respectively.
"It's going to be the biggest week that we've had all year," Osborn said. "But our guys have done a great job. They came out and practiced hard on Monday during spring break, then had two games.
"I promised them if they gave me three good days, I'd give them four. Now, hopefully they'll get some rest during their break and come back revived and ready for a tough week."