Winder-Barrow High School completed the season sweep of Apalachee High School Monday and knows it is now officially in the postseason.
The Bulldoggs, however, are still hoping to be able to move into second place and host a first-round state playoff series in coming weeks. For coach Brian Smith, the focus for his team will be to simply take care of their own business.
“We need to win our final two region games and then see where things stack up,” Smith said after Monday’s 7-2 win against region foe Apalachee. “We aren’t mathematically out of second place.”
Drew Dunagan earned the win Monday to improve his season record to 6-0. Dunagan worked the first four innings, throwing 71 pitches and recording two strikeouts while allowing three hits and two walks.
Blake Oviedo earned a save after working the final three innings with four strikeouts.
“Drew gutted it out and competed well,” Smith said. “Blake then came in and slammed the door. Both guys did a great job.”
WBHS (16-4 overall, 11-3 in Region 8-AAAAA) fell behind 2-0 after the first inning Monday. Tyler Adams scored the first run for the Wildcats on a passed ball. Tony Salvaggio grounded out to allow Clint Ashe to cross home.
The Bulldoggs would respond with five runs in the top of the third. Cole Baggett delivered a two-run homer followed by a solo blast by Dalton Carter. Jake Frady later walked with the bases loaded to score courtesy runner Alex Childers. Grayson Ivey scored the fifth run on a wild pitch.
AHS coach Mike Cavey went with Tyler Adams on the mound but made the switch to Tyler Starnes when Adams ran into trouble in the third.
“That big inning cost us,” Cavey said. “If we could have stopped the damage before they scored five runs we might have had a chance.”
WBHS would add two more runs in the top of the sixth on a two-run blast by Travis Demeritte. Hunter Jackson had previously singled.
“Hunter has been on fire lately,” Smith said after Jackson’s two-hit performance Monday.
For AHS, one story line Monday was missed opportunities. The Wildcats left runners on base in several innings.
“We still need to be able to get a key hit when we need it,” Cavey said. “We put runners on base and get them in scoring position, but couldn’t bring them home. Winder-Barrow on the other hand did a good job with their situational hitting.”
WBHS will complete its region schedule with a Wednesday-Friday series with Salem. Wednesday’s game will be in Conyers with the Bulldoggs back at Charles W. Maddox Complex Friday.
AHS is off the remainder of the week as the Wildcats play their final region series of the season against Gainesville beginning Monday on the road.
REGION NOTES: Gainesville is currently in the driver’s seat to win the Region 8-AAAAA title. The Red Elephants swept Loganville and is 11-1 in region play with the lone loss coming to Winder-Barrow.
LHS has now lost three region games and split its series with WBHS. The Red Devils have two region series left (against Heritage and Clarke Central). Both LHS and WBHS are favored to win their final 8-AAAAA contests.
Flowery Branch will also be one of the top four teams and has series left with Gainesville and Heritage.