By Derrick Mahone
With his team marred in an eight-game losing streak, Mount Zion coach Kelcey White decided to pull out all the stops against North Clayton, another struggling team.
The Bulldogs new found aggressive style was evident in the fourth inning of their 8-6 win over North Clayton when Cedric Hathaway stole home with two out to give them the go-ahead run.
Hathaway gave the Bulldogs a 5-4 lead before they closed out the inning with two more runs. The win snapped the eight-game losing streak as Mount Zion improved to 3-12 overall and 2-7 in Region 4-AAAA.
"Coach told me that I had the green light this season," Hathaway said. "It is something we had talked about, I decided to go at that moment. We were kind of down about the season and I felt the team could fed off something positive."
Mount Zion was able to hang on for the win despite North Clayton picking up a run in both the fifth and sixth innings. It was the sixth straight loss for the Eagles, who were coming off a 21-7 loss to Alcovy last week.
The Bulldogs got a strong pitching performance from freshman Kenneth Wiggins, who went the distance. Wiggins gave up six runs on seven hits to go with seven strikeouts.
He struggled in the sixth inning, but was able to work his way out of a bases load, two-out jam. With two outs and a run already scored, Wiggins loaded the bases with three straight walks. However, Eagles' shortstop Viraj Patel flied out to right field to end the inning with three runners stranded.
For the game, North Clayton left six runners on base.
"I wasn't nervous out there because I've started a game before," Wiggins said. "The team did a good job of picking me up. I felt like the team was there for me."
The Bulldogs host Stockbridge Wednesday before traveling a couple miles to take on Jonesboro on the road Friday. North Clayton dropped to 6-10 and 2-8 with a road game at Forest Park on Wednesday.
White is hopeful that this win will boost his team's confidence as they head into the last two weeks of the season.
"Our confidence was a little shaken because we had lost some close games," said White, who is in his first season at the school.
"Kids need to get a good feeling about the things they are doing. They need to have confidence in their ability. We had some pitching and just enough hitting today to win."
With five freshmen on the roster, White says the Bulldogs are in the midst of a building stage.
"I got a good nucleus coming back," White said. "I'm just so happy for the kids right now that we got this win. Last time we played North Clayton it was a close game. I know this team has potential. We beat a good team in North Clayton. I'm hoping this win will turn things around. Some of these freshmen are no longer freshmen, because they have played a lot of games."