Pierce County split a pair of non-region games following a season series sweep of Appling County in action last week.
PCHS (17-2 overall, 5-1 Region 1-AAA) finished off a delayed three-game sweep of the Pirates (13-5, 5-4) winning the series finale in Baxley 2-1 Monday, April 4 in 10 innings. The Bears rolled to a 12-1 road victory in Game 1 back on March 22 and slipped past the Pirates 7-6 March 25 at home.
Pierce County downed Class 2A Berrien (4-19) 5-3 Tuesday, April 5 handing the Rebels a third consecutive loss completing the season sweep. PCHS recorded a 12-2 home victory February 22.
The Bears closed out the week falling 9-6 Thursday, April 7 at Lowndes. The Vikings (17-4), winners of 11 straight, are ranked second in Class 7A by MaxPreps and sixth overall in the state, and fifth by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Bears, who had a four-game winning streak snapped, is ranked first in Class 3A by both MaxPreps and Atlanta Journal-Constitution and second overall by MaxPreps.
Pierce County, which holds a one-game lead in the region standings over Brantley County, opens up a three-game series Tuesday, April 12 at Tattnall County. Game 2 is set for Thursday, April 14 in Bearville with the series finale Friday, April 15 in Reidsville.
No. 1 Bears 2
Appling Co. 1, 10 Inn.
Knox Bennett scored the game-winning run from first base off an error with one out in the top of the 10th inning lifting PCHS past the Pirates.
Bennett (1-for-4) worked a one-out walk from Colin Ewaldsen (3.2 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 9 K, 1 BB). Hoke Skipper’s ensuing sacrifice bunt down the third base line was thrown into the right field corner allowing Bennett to race around the bases.
Appling County put the tying run and game-winning run on base in the bottom of the frame against Bennett, who worked 5.2 innings of hitless relief with nine strikeouts and three walks. Two of the walks came in the 10th. A two-out passed ball advanced them to second and third with Bennett getting a called third strike one pitch later.
The Pirates scored a first inning run against Brett Tuten (4.1 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 4 K, 2 BB, 2 WP) on a throwing error. A one-out theft of third and a throwing error to the bag allowed Patrick Crosby (1-for-4) to score the run.
PCHS had a runner gunned down at the plate for the third out in the top of the second. Cole Royer walked with one out against Harrison Simmons (6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 9 K, 4 BB, 2 HBP) and tried to score from first on Jones Herrin’s two-out double to left-center field.
After Tuten escaped a two-out, bases loaded situation in the bottom of the second, the Bears scratched out a run in the top of the third tying the game at 1-all. Davis Green (1-for-5) lined a one-out double with Tuten (1-for-3) reaching on a four-pitch walk. Bennett (1-for-4) singled to right two pitches later chasing home Green.
PCHS left runners on base in each of its next four at bats with the best scoring chance coming in the sixth when Mason Woodstock and Herrin were hit by pitches.
Appling County stranded runners in scoring position in both the fourth and fifth innings. The Pirates put the winning run at second in the bottom of the seventh with two outs.
The Bears had nine consecutive batters retired before Bennett’s walk in the 10th. Bennett retired nine straight during the same time before issuing a leadoff walk to start the bottom of the 10th.
No. 1 Bears 5
Pierce County jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first three innings and held on to beat the Rebels.
Four pitches combined on a four-hitter for the Bears. Caden Williams worked the first three innings allowing two hits with three strikeouts and three walks. Herrin followed with two innings of one-hit relief recording a strikeout and issuing a walk. Mason Woodcock (hit, three runs, two walks) and Brandon Pittman (strikeout) each tossed one inning.
PCHS pushed home a run in the second after loading the bases with one out. Woodcock (2-for-3) opened the inning with a walk. Back-to-back one-out errors on balls hit by Herrin and Jacob Pittman (1-for-4) loaded the bases. Williams (1-for-4) followed with a first-pitch single to left scoring Woodcock for the 1-0 lead.
The Bears added three runs in the third inning. Tuten (2-for-2) and Bennett (3-for-4) lined consecutive singles to start the frame and executed a double steal. Tuten scored on Skipper’s out for a 2-0 advantage.
Jarrell’s ensuing double scored Bennett with Herrin following with a walk. Pittman singled home the last run of the inning for a 4-0 lead.
PCHS came away empty in the fifth after loading the bases with one out on a single by Woodcock, a walk to Herrin and Jacob Pittman reaching on an error. The Bears had a second runner thrown out at the plate from left field to end an inning following one in the third.
Berrien, which stranded eight runners over the first four innings, cut the lead to 4-3 in the sixth with a three-run uprising against Woodcock. A one-out error and consecutive two-out walks were followed by a bases clearing double.
Woodcock doubled on the second pitch leading off the second and scored when Collin Jarrell’s (1-for-3) sacrifice bunt was thrown away for a two-base error.
No. 7 Lowndes 9
No. 1 Bears 6
Lowndes’ “Johnny Wholestaff” pitched the Vikings to a victory over visiting Pierce County in a matchup of Top 10 programs.
The Vikings scored twice in the first inning against Herrin (2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 K, 1 BB) on a two-out double. Lowndes scored three runs in the third inning against Jacob Pittman (1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 0 K, 1 BB) extending the lead to 5-0 scoring on a two-run double and a two-out single.
The home team plated a run in the fourth on a one-out passed ball with Brandon Pittman (2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 2 K, 3 BB) working relief to open up a 6-0 advantage.
PCHS exploded for five runs in the fifth inning cutting the deficit to 6-5 against the Vikings’ fifth pitcher of the afternoon.
After Jarrell (1-for-2) was hit by the second pitch of the inning, Herrin’s ensuing grounder was booted. Brandon Pittman (1-for-3) legged out a sacrifice bunt one pitch later loading the bases.
Tuten’s (2-for-4) one-out single plated Jarrell’s courtesy runner, Caden Williams. Bennett (3-for-4) followed with a two-run double pulling the Bears to within 6-3. Skipper (1-for-4) lined a run-scoring hit with Bennett racing home on an error to cap the scoring outburst.
Lowndes capitalized on consecutive one-out errors in the bottom half of the inning plating three runs in building a 9-5 lead. The Vikings scored all three runs on back-to-back run-scoring singles.
Bennett’s fourth homer of the year, a one-out solo blast, in the seventh rounded out the scoring.