Madison County’s Middle School baseball team’s stellar season ended in a narrow defeat Saturday in the region championship, with the Mustangs falling to perennial power Stephens County.
The Mustangs, who earlier in the week were the first team to defeat Stephens County in two years, took one on the chin from the same Rebel team in the championship game 10-8 in Elberton.
Stephens County jumped out early and seemed to be headed for a rout after posting three runs in the first and four in the second inning to take the early 7-1 lead. Wyatt Wood was touched for all seven runs in his 1.2 innings pitched. Wood allowed six hits and three walks and was faced by eight Rebel batters in the bottom of the first and seven in the second inning before departing. The Mustangs pushed across a run in the top of the second and third innings to close the margin to 7-2.
Zack Kerns led off the second frame with a double to left field and later scored on a two-out single by Jackson Williams. Madison County loaded the bases in the third inning but was only able to produce one run. Ethan South singled and advanced to third on stolen bases before scoring on a hit by Bryce Nix.
Dylan Gentry, who entered the game on the mound for Madison County in the second inning, set down three straight batters on strikeouts but ran into trouble in the fourth. Gentry was greeted with a lead-off double and then walked three straight Rebel hitters in the inning where Stephens County extended their lead to 9-2. Gentry then settled down to strike out the final two batters of the inning.
The Mustangs cut into the lead again with a run in the top of the fifth inning after Ethan South singled and later advanced to third with his second stole base of the game. On the same play, South found the plate after Stephens County’s catcher air-mailed his throw to third on South’s steal.
Trailing 9-3 entering the top of the sixth inning, Madison County loaded the bases with one out. Luke Gillespie singled and both Lucas Willliams and Tyler Griffeth drew walks. Ethan South struck again this time with a two-run single to right field scoring both pinch runner Sam Bartlett and Williams. Griffeth accounted for the Mustangs’ sixth run after reaching on a walk later scoring an infield error. Both South and Dewitt Wood, who reached on the error, scored on a Golston Gillespie double to left field closing the margin to one run. Gillespie was stranded representing the tying run when the inning ended. Stephens County added a little insurance to their lead with a final run in the bottom of the frame.
Dylan Gentry pitched 2.1 innings allowing two runs on one hit while striking out five batters. Jackson Williams worked two innings allowing one run on two hits. The Mustangs were led at the plate by South’s three hits followed by a hit each from Kerns, Williams, Chandler Pethel, Nix, Golston Gillespie and Luke Gillespie. The Mustangs finished the 2012 season with an 11-2-1 record.
Mustangs 3 Elbert County 1
The Madison County Mustang baseball team advanced into the region championship round by defeating Elbert County 3-1 last Saturday in Elberton.
Madison County saved the dramatics until late using a three run sixth inning to steal the win. Elbert County jumped on the board in the opening inning after Mustang starter Bryce Nix hit the leadoff batter with his third pitch of the game. Elbert pushed across the run using a double steal later in the inning to take the 1-0 lead. The game then turned into a pitcher’s duel with both teams posting zeros for the next four innings. Nix got the start on the mound pitching the first five innings allowing just the one run on one hit while striking out six. Nix exited the game with the Mustangs trailing 1-0 after tossing 48 pitches in his five innings of work. Zack Kerns entered the game and was the pitcher of record going the final two innings allowing just one hit.
Madison County put together their first scoring opportunity in the second inning after putting runners on base. Both Dylan Gentry and Wyatt Wood reached on consecutive errors with one out but were left stranded. Madison County staged another threat in the home half of the third inning after a speedy Ethan South drew a walk, swiped both second and third base but was also left hanging after both Chandler Pethel and Golston Gillespie fell victim to strikeouts. Bryce Nix continued to do his job on the hill by retiring 11 of the next 14 batters he face. Elbert then put runners on base compliments of an error and a single but a running catch by centerfielder Ethan South on a ball hit to the gap ended Elbert’s small rally.
Madison County then delivered the knockout blow in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Pethel singled to left and Gillespie followed with a walk. Both runners advanced on a balk call and a fielder’s choice by Bryce Nix drove home Pethel. On the same play, Gillespie touched home for the go ahead run on a throwing error and another balk call on the Elbert hurler forced home Nix for the final scoring of the game. Madison County managed just three hits, one each from Golston Gillespie, Jackson Williams and Chan Pethel.