By Jeffery Armstrong
This is the year of the streak for the Stockbridge Tigers baseball team.
The Tigers won their second straight Region 2-AAAAA contest Friday night, defeating the Mt. Zion Bulldogs 10-5 at Stockbridge to even their overall record at 9-9 and up their region record to 6-4.
This two-game winning streak followed a four-game region losing streak. That losing streak came after a four-game region winning streak early in the year. The Tigers travel to play No. 1 Henry County Monday at 5:45 p.m. in a huge region game.
The Tigers belted 10 hits Friday, with four players getting multiple base knocks. Eight of the hits were against Mt. Zion starting pitcher Cannady Walker, who was the victim of bad defense by his teammates. Mt. Zion (7-10, 4-5) committed four errors in the game and they were costly. Walker actually allowed only three earned runs in the game n he pitched five innings, striking out five, walking three and hitting five batters.
Stockbridge freshman Daniel Jackson was the winning pitcher, scattering eight hits over seven innings, allowing five runs (three earned), walking three and striking out five.
The game didn't start well for Jackson. He allowed first-inning singles to Mt. Zion's Brian Rice and Emory Clark and then gave up a triple to Chris Coggins, which cleared the bases for a 2-0 lead. Coggins was stranded at third as Jackson got the next three batters out to end the inning.
Stockbridge took the lead in the second. Andy Love was hit by a pitch and stole second. Jackson walked and both runners advanced a base on a wild pitch by Walker. After a strikeout, hot-hitting Joey Shoemaker hit an opposite-field two-run single, tying the game at two. After a Dusty White error allowed Blain McGhee and Shoemaker to reach first and second, Jamaal Teagle (2-for-4, one run) laid down a nice bunt base hit to load the bases for the Tigers. Matt Settle drove in a run on a groundout, then Zach Walden smashed a two-run double to left field. Coggins misplayed the ball and Walden advanced to third. Walden's pinch runner Bernard Tarplin came home on a wild pitch to make the score 6-2, Stockbridge.
"I'm glad I got the bunt down for a hit because I haven't been hitting the ball well lately," Teagle said. "Now we have to hit this well on Monday against Henry County n they'll be gunning for us."
Coggins atoned for his error with a solo home run to center in the third inning to cut the Tigers lead to 6-3. A two-run triple by Mt. Zion catcher David Nemeth cut the Tigers lead to 6-5 in the fourth inning. Mt. Zion had a chance for more runs as Clark walked and Coggins was intentionally walked to load the bases with two outs, but Jackson induced a flyout by Caleb Lester to end the threat.
Shoemaker's RBI single drove in Brett Hays (2-for-4, one run) in the fifth inning to make the score 7-5 and the Tigers scored three more runs in that inning for the final margin. Shoemaker was 2-for-2 with a run scored and three RBIs on Friday. Shoemaker batted 4-for-6 with two runs, five RBIs and a home run in his last two games.
"I was looking for a fastball in the fifth inning and I just put it in play. It was great to get a win; we really needed it," said Shoemaker.
Ja'ell Pope went 2-for-2 with an RBI for Stockbridge; Coggins was 2-for-3 for Mt. Zion with a run and three RBIs.
n Union Grove 17, Pace Academy 9: The Wolverines (9-7, 7-2) moved into second place in the Region 5-AA standings with a 17-9 victory over Pace Academy Friday night at home.
Sophomore Justin Timbs led the way Friday night, going 4-for-4, including a double and a triple with four runs and two RBIs. Zach Blakeney went 3-for-3, Scott Mayo went 3-for-5 with one run and an RBI and Greg Davis went 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI. Cole Williams was the winning pitcher while adding a three-run home run.