The Thomson Bulldogs defeated the Harlem Bulldogs by a score of 11-3 Friday to win the Region 3 AAA Championship.
"It's a great feeling to beat Harlem just one time," coach Jason Osborn said after the game. "But to beat them three times in one season, that's really something. All week long people have been saying it's hard to beat a team three times. But I believe if you can beat them twice, you can beat them three times. And we've got a great group of guys here who really just went out and laid it on the line today and did just that."
Starting pitcher Abe Cartledge again gave a strong performance, facing no more than three batters per inning in five innings and serving up 12 strikeouts.
"My fast ball was definitely my best pitch today," Cartledge said after the game. "That's what I used the most, and I mixed in my curve ball some in the middle of their order."
"Anytime Abe's pitching he's going to give you a real good chance to win, and the last two games he's pitched are probably the best I've ever seen him pitch." Osborn said. "I'm real proud of him, and tickled to death for him."
Will Tankersley hit two homers for Thomson, including a two-run homer in the first inning and a grand slam blasted over the right center field fence in the second inning, his second grand slam of the season.
"I knew he was going to come in with a curve ball 'cause the first homer I hit had been a fast ball," Tankersley said after the game. "So I just waited on it, and when it came, I hit it. I knew it was gone the moment I hit it. It just felt right."
Though he plays center field, Dontavous "Juicy" Brown had a sorer arm after the game than even Cartledge. Harlem pitchers hit Brown with pitches three times in the game, all hitting him on the left arm.
"I haven't gotten hit with as many pitches this year as last year," Brown said after the game as team trainer Brooks Johnson applied three ice bags to his arm.
"I got hit nearly every game last year. I don't know; maybe the Harlem pitchers wanted me to catch up some. But it's the first time I've ever been hit three times in one game."
The win gives the Bulldogs the region championship and sends them on to the state playoffs.
"We've said all season our goal was the region championship," Osborn told his team after the game, amidst shouts of "Three-peat, Three-peat!" "Our goal now is the state championship. We've got bigger fish to fry now."
The Bulldogs next face Worth County in a doubleheader in the first round of the state playoffs Friday in Thomson. Game time is 4 p.m.