Wildcats split with Patriots after losing 10 inning Game 2

Published 3:02 pm Thursday, May 11, 2023

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ELLAVILLE – After defeating the Wilcox County Patriots 6-4 in Game 1 of the best of three game series in the quarterfinals of the GHSA Class A Division 2 state playoffs, the Schley County Wildcats fought WCH for 10 innings before losing Game 2 by the score of 3-2 on a passed ball in the bottom of the 10th at Wildcat Park.

As a result, the series is tied at one game a piece and the winner take all Game 3 will be played on Thursday at 6 p.m. at Schley County High School.

In Game 2, the Wildcats jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Jack Clark drove in Carson Westbrook on an RBI single. Then with two outs, Trenton Stubbs drove in Brody Fuller on a fielder’s choice and the Wildcats had an early 2-0 lead.

However, in the bottom of the second, the Patriots responded with a run of their own when Jordan Stephens belted a solo home run over the right field fence. Then in the fourth inning, WCH tied the game at 2-2 when Jake Howell drove in a run on an RBI single.

Carson Westbrook is seen here squaring to bunt. Westbrook went 2 for 3 with two runs scored in Game 1 against Wilcox County.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

For the next six innings, the score remained tied 2-2, as neither team could bring the deciding run home, though each team had opportunities. However, in the bottom of the 10th inning, Brody Smith, who had been pitching well in relief for the Wildcats, hit Jack Owens with a pitch and walked Larson Luke to put runners at first and second with nobody out. Jordan Stephens them executed a sacrifice bunt, advancing Owens to third and Luke to second with one out. After Tanner Collier was intentionally walked to force a possible double play ball, Cole Blackwell came to the plate with the bases loaded and one out for the Patriots. By this point, Rylan Conner had come in to pitch in place of Smith, but his pitch to Blackwell was mishandled and the winning run for WCH scored from third.

In total, the Wildcats scored two runs on six hits for the game and Jack Clark had two of those hits. He led the SCHS offense by going 2 for 4 at the plate with an RBI and a walk.

Ashton Raybon was the starting pitcher for the Wildcats and over four innings of work, he pitched very well, giving up two runs on six hits with four walks and two strikeouts. Brody Smith came on in relief of Raybon and also did not disappoint, as he gave up one run on one hit with four walks and three strikeouts. Unfortunately for Smith, he ended up becoming the pitcher of record and took the loss.

In Game one, the Wildcats were able to jump out to a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth when Ashton Raybon belted a two-run homer, but B.J. Gibson answered for the Patriots in the top of the fifth with a solo home run of his own. Then shortly thereafter, Stephens belted the first of his two homers of the series, this one a two-run shot to tie the game at 4-4.

However, the Wildcats would have the final say in Game 1. In the bottom of the fifth inning, SCHS had runners at second and third with one out when Carson Westbrook was able to score on a passed ball. Then with one out, Owen Lamb smacked an RBI single into right field that allowed Jack Clark to score.

In the top of the sixth, Brody Smith, who had come on in relief of SCHS starting pitcher Owen Lamb, ran into some trouble by giving up two walks and a single, but was able to pitch his way out of it. In the top of the seventh, he got into some early trouble again by giving up a single and a hit batsman, but once again, he was able to retire the next three batters he faced to preserve the 6-4 victory for the Wildcats.

Both Carson Westbrook and Jack Clark each went 2 for 3 at the plate to lead the SCHS offense in Game 1 and Raybon had the crucial two-run homer that proved to be the difference in the ball game.

Schley County starting pitcher Owen Lamb, gave up four runs on five hits, walked four and struck out seven in five innings of work to help lead the Wildcats to a 6-4 victory over Wilcox County in Game 1.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Owen Lamb, the Wildcats’ starting pitcher for Game 1, gave up four runs on five hits, walked four and struck out seven in five innings of work. Brody Smith came on in relief of Lamb and gave up no runs on two hits, walked two and struck out two to preserve the victory.

The decisive Game 3 between Schley County and Wilcox County will be this evening at 6 p.m., with the winner moving on to take on Emmanuel County Institute (ECI) in the Final Four.