The Commerce High School baseball team was dominant in its 2014 home opener last week as the Tigers defeated Banks County 12-2.
Senior Cal Garner pitched all five innings for the Tigers, striking out nine batters and allowing only three hits.
Commerce (2-1) jumped out to an early lead in the bottom of the first inning when senior Daniel Streetman drove in Tiger two runners on a ground-ball single to centerfield. The Tigers extended their lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the second after a Banks County error allowed J’Varius Wood to round the bases on a bunt by Keenan Lord. Lord was sent home the following on the following at-bat by a Trevor Johnson sacrifice.
After racking up three straight outs in the top of the third, Commerce again went on the offensive.
The Tigers capitalized on another Banks County error as Drew Whitfield was sent home on a single by Drew Hulsey. Hulsey was advanced by Alec Aguilar, before they both were batted in on a single by Wood. Chandler Rodgers drove in Wood and Lord for Commerce’s final runs in the third as the Tigers extended their lead to 9-0.
Banks County was finally able to get on the board in the top of the fourth, but was unable to get in a rhythm as the Tigers added three more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning before the game was called.
Streetman went two-for-four at bat with four RBIs. Rodgers and Wood were both two-for-three at the plate and notched two RBIs apiece. Johnson, Hulsey, and Josh Cook each drove in one run.
Following an 11-5 win over Lanier County and a blowout win over the Leopards, Commerce head coach Steve Cotrell feels that his team is gaining confidence.
“We’ve been able to get into a rhythm,” said Cotrell. “Trying to get everyone in the flow is one of our biggest goals right now. Winning two or three games before going into region play gives everyone a little extra confidence.”
Cotrell noted that the Tigers are still finalizing their starting lineup and “trying to figure out who is going to be consistent.” Therefore, almost every player on Commerce’s roster has been able to rack up ample playing time.
“We played 15 guys against Lanier and 13 against Banks County,” added Cotrell. “I think it’s a good thing to have two or three guys at every position and it sort of pushes everybody to work harder.”
UPDATE: On Tuesday, Commerce defeated Oglethorpe County 8-5.
The Tigers will play two more non-conference games before heading into their Region 8-A slate next week. On Friday, Commerce will travel to Banks County for a rematch with the Leopards. Next Wednesday, the Tigers will host Jefferson in a river-rivalry matchup.