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Wildcats take second in 4-A, head to state

The Schley County Wildcats baseball team completed a hectic week on the diamond to wrap up the baseball team’s 2015 regular season. Due to all the rainouts and rescheduled games, the ‘Cats were faced with having to win four region games on consecutive days just to force a region tie breaker game on April 25 for the coveted top spot.

The Wildcats took a substantial 8-1 victory over St. Anne-Pacelli before defeating Brookstone, Taylor County, and Hawkinsville to extend the team’s winning streak to 11 games and earn the right to play in a tie-breaker with Brookstone for the title of region champion. Schley lost the tiebreaker 0-1 in a matchup between two very talented teams.

Schley hosted Brookstone on April 22 in Ellaville, avenging their only region defeat of the season with an 11-2 win over the Cougars.

Schley scored early and built a 9-0 lead after the first four innings. Brett Usry got the start for the ‘Cats and was brilliant on the hill, tossing seven innings and giving up two hits.

Usry struck out eight batters and did damage at the plate as well. His fourth inning grand slam put the game away for the home team. Barry, Patrick, and Michael Leeder contributed multiple hits in the game as well.

Schley traveled to Taylor County on April 23 to restart a game that was called due to rain in the fifth inning, with the Cats leading 8-1.

Schley started a little slower in this game, taking a 2-1 lead into the fifth inning.

Usry came up big again, hitting a two-run homer in the fifth to put the Wildcats up 4-1. Usry finished 3-3 on the day.

Barry added a key two-RBI double to extend the lead and give Schley’s boys some breathing room. Howell got the complete game win, throwing seven innings, striking out seven opponents, and allowing five hits.

Schley traveled to Hawkinsville on April 24 to play the Red Devils. The Wildcats needed a win to force a tie breaking championship game the next afternoon in Columbus against Brookstone. Schley won the slugfest 16-12.

Hawkinsville took an early 1-0 lead on an error going into the second inning. Sellars launched a solo shot to lead off the top of the second and tie the game.

The teams traded runs for most of the rest of the contest, leading to five lead changes in the exciting game.

Sellars was hot from the plate for the Schley’s varsity boys. Sellars went 4-5, drove in one and scored two runs. He slammed a homerun in the second inning and singled in the third, fourth, and sixth innings. Barry also had a huge RBI double in the seventh inning.

Sellars got the win in relief for the Wildcats. He struck out three, walked one and surrendered three hits after coming into the game in a tough spot.

Hawkinsville survived the Wildcats’ surge and put up four runs of their own in the third. Hawkinsville scored on a two-run home run by Dakota Sloan and another two-run homer by Jonathan McDaniel.

The Wildcats increased their lead with seven runs in the sixth. Chase Patrick had a big two-RBI single in the inning to get the ‘Cats momentum going.  

Six runs in the bottom of the sixth helped Hawkinsville close the team’s deficit to 14-12. Patrick was able to come in and strike out the last batter to and preserve the victory earn the team a shot at the championship.

The teams totaled 25 hits, including five extra base hits in the game.

The Wildcats traveled to Brookstone on April 25 for a five-inning region tie breaking game. The Wildcats were attempting to win their third consecutive region championship.

Michael Leeder took the mound for the ‘Cats and was excellent over three innings, giving up only a soft base hit to left field for Brookstone’s lone run.

Schley had a couple of chances to score, but a strike out and a great play on a line drive off the bat of Knox Theus by Brookstone’s first baseman kept the ‘Cats off the board and both teams stubbornly refused to give up any ground for the remainder of the match.

Brookstone finished the regular season with a 19-3 record as the region 4-A Champions. Schley finished the season with a 17-3 record and a second-place finish in region 4-A.

Schley will open the playoffs as the number-two overall seed in the public school power rankings and will host the Trion Bulldogs in first round of playoffs on May 1 at Wildcat Park in Ellaville.

On the team’s second-place finish under such grueling circumstances, Wildcat head coach Chuck Cheek told the Times-Recorder “I’m so proud of our guys. Playing five games in five days against that kind of competition is a lot to ask. I was worried about our pitchers a little, but they were really strong and carried us this week. We are hitting the ball up and down the line up right now, and that’s what it’s going to take in the playoffs. I don’t know about [the rest of the team], but I was exhausted Saturday night… They never complained once, never talked about rain at all. They just played hard and gave it all they had. We’ve got a chance to do something special in the playoffs. That’s all we can ask for. I love our team. I love how they compete. We’ve got some great kids and it’s a privilege to get to coach them.”