Five-run sixth inning dooms Wildcats against Crawford County

Published 3:51 pm Thursday, April 18, 2024

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AMERICUS – Going into the top of the sixth inning in the Schley County Wildcats’ Wednesday afternoon game against Crawford County, SCHS only trailed the Eagles 3-2. However, the Eagles came up with four hits, took advantage of some throwing errors and scored five runs in the inning and would go on to defeat the Wildcats 9-2 at Wildcat Park.

It was only the second home loss this year for Schley County.

SCHS had opportunities earlier in the contest, but were unable to capitalize.

“The first inning hurt us,” SCHS Head Coach Chuck Cheek said. “We had the bases loaded and nobody out and didn’t do much with it. We weren’t able to get the big hit. We could have changed the game right there. Our defense let us down a little bit. I think sometimes we try a little bit too hard instead of just trusting what we’re doing in being smooth and clean. We try to force it a little bit and end up throwing the ball away.”

The game came on the heels of the Wildcats’ 2-1 win Tuesday night over Tift County, one of the top teams in the state in all classifications.

“I told the guys that I’m tired. I’m mentally tired after that game and I get it, but you’ve got to find a way to come out here and compete and focus and we didn’t do a good job of that tonight,” Cheek said. “We certainly can’t do that against teams like Crawford. They’re a very talented team. They have a great coach. We were in a battle with them earlier this year and we were able to win that one at their place. We just didn’t play well tonight.”

Jay Kanazawa had a terrific day at the plate for the Wildcats, as he went 4 for 4 with four singles. However, the rest of the lineup could not get it going, as they could only muster two hits. Oscar Lloyd went 1 for 3 with an RBI and JuJu Salazar went 1 for 4 with a single.

Schley County catcher JuJu Salazar went 1 for 4 at the plate for the Wildcats in the loss to Crawford County.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

The Wildcats scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the first inning when Brody Smith drew a bases loaded walk, scoring Cameron Hamsley from third. Then in the bottom of the second, Oscar Lloyd executed a sacrifice bunt that allowed Wyatt James to score from third, giving the Wildcats a 2-0 lead. However, the Eagles scored three runs on three hits. Two of those hits were RBI doubles by Makale Harris and Dayton Prater.

The Wildcats were unable to get any run production over the next few innings. That gave the Eagles the opportunity to add to their lead, which they did by scoring five runs in the sixth and one in the seventh to earn the 9-2 victory.

Jay Kanazawa started on the mound for SCHS. In four innings of work, he gave up three runs on three hits, walked two batters and struck out four. Jack Clark came on in relief of Kanazawa. In a little over an inning of work, he gave up four runs on five hits, walked one and struck out one. Jackson Wilder came on in relief of Clark. In his brief appearance, he gave up no runs on one hit. Trenton Stubbs was the final pitcher used by the Wildcats. In an inning of work, he gave up a run on two hits with no walks and one strikeout.

The Wildcats (22-3) will travel down to Tifton on Friday for a rematch with Tift County. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.