The Apalachee High School and Winder-Barrow High School baseball teams were able to faceoff Monday after two delays and when all was said and done the host Wildcats had upset the Bulldoggs 5-4.
AHS (9-14 overall, 4-9 in 8-AAAAA) overcame six errors to upset WBHS, who is still fighting for a postseason berth. The Bulldoggs, who had defeated state-ranked Loganville High School in their last outing, slipped to 14-9 overall and 8-5 within the region.
Tyler Starnes went the distance for the Wildcats, throwing 104 pitches and recording three strikeouts. He scattered six hits and held on when WBHS attempted to rally late in the game.
“Tyler told me he didn’t want to come out of the game,” AHS coach Mike Cavey said. “He wanted to keep throwing so we left it in his hands.”
The win Monday afternoon no doubt left Cavey and the AHS baseball team with a feeling of “what if?”
Several close region losses this spring will have the Wildcats once again on the outside looking in when it comes to the state playoffs.
“Even with this win, it is a season of could have been and should have been,” Cavey said. “We let two games with Heritage get away and didn’t give ourselves a chance to legitimately compete for the playoffs. That’s the frustrating part. It’s still great to beat Winder-Barrow, but when you look at the bigger picture, the playoffs are what we strive for.”
AHS took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning after Jacob Campbell reached home when Tyler Adams was out on a double play.
WBHS tied the game in the top of the second on a sacrifice fly by Tyler Hamrick.
The Wildcats used a three-run bottom of the fourth inning to momentarily give themselves some breathing room. Wright Patterson had an RBI single in the inning for AHS.
The Bulldoggs pushed two runs across in the top of the fifth and added one more in the sixth, but were not able to tie the game. In the top of the seventh inning, Christian Hodge delivered a long fly out that landed in foul territory. Aaron Gonzalez reached base with a two-out single but Starnes recorded a strikeout to close the door.
“Winder-Barrow is a good hitting team,” Cavey said. “You knew they would stay in the game. Tyler had to work out of trouble in the first inning after we made a couple of errors. We also got in trouble late but Tyler wasn’t pitching bad.”
While the win Monday was enough to bring a smile to Cavey’s face, the long-time AHS coach couldn’t help but ponder a season of missed chances.
“You look at several games and if we had taken care of business then this series has playoff implications for us,” the coach said. “It’s tough. I did think we came ready to play and it was good to see us have focus. Even with the errors, we never lost focus and never stopped believing we were going to win.”
In Tuesday’s rematch at Charles W. Maddox Complex, WBHS rallied for a 7-5 win. The game was tied 3-3 going into the bottom of the sixth inning when the Bulldoggs pushed four runs across.
AHS answered with two runs in the top of the seventh and had two runners on base when Winder-Barrow’s Tyler Hamrick recorded a strikeout to seal the win. Thomas Brown worked five solid innings for WBHS while Kody Glausier, after a rough first inning, settled in and pitched well for the visiting Wildcats.
Hunter Jackson, Christian Hodge, Aaron Gonzalez and Bailey Hawkins helped lead the offense in the win for Winder-Barrow Tuesday.
The Bulldoggs will now play a series against Flowery Branch with the final state playoff spot from 8-AAAAA on the line. Coach Brian Smith said after Tuesday’s game his team needs to sweep the series.
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