The fourth-ranked Pierce County Bears extended their current Region 1-AAA West winning streak to four straight games with three victories last week.
The Bears (17-4 overall, 7-2 sub-region) survived a nine-inning marathon last Monday night, April 4, beating neighboring rival Brantley County winning 8-7 on a bases loaded walk. The game was originally scheduled for Friday, April 1, but was postponed because of inclimate weather.
The victory gave PCHS a split in the season series. The Herons posted a 9-8 victory in the first meeting at Caney Bay back on March 15.
Pierce knocked off Dodge County a night later beating the Indians 8-3 to complete the season sweep. PCHS held off Dodge County in a March 18 meeting in Bearville capturing a 4-3 decision.
The Bears blanked Toombs County 5-0 on Senior Night for the season sweep. Pierce slipped past the Bulldogs 4-3 in Lyons back on March 22.
PCHS wrapped up the regular season Tuesday night traveling to Appling County.
No. 4 Bears 8 - Brantley County 7, 9 inn.
A one-out, bases loaded walk to Nick Golub in the bottom of the ninth inning forced home the game-winning run for Pierce County.
PCHS loaded the bases against Mikel Collins (4.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 K, 5 BB) following the first out of the inning. Ben Tuten (3-for-5) beat out an infield hit to get the rally started. A four-pitch walk to Klay Allen (1-for-3) was followed by a five-pitch walk to Walker Sinclair. Collins fell behind Golub 3-0 before battling back to a 3-2 count with the full-count pitch just missing the strike zone.
Pierce County jumped out to an early 5-0 lead against starting pitcher Jake Thrift (3.2 IP, 4 H, 7 R, 3 ER, 2 K, 4 BB, 1 HBP, 1 WP). The Bears plated a run in the first. Stetson Bennett (2-for-3) drew a leadoff walk, stole second and third and scored on a one-out grounder by Cody Williams.
PCHS plated four more runs in the second inning to extend its advantage to 5-0 taking advantage of a couple of errors by the Herons. Sinclair reached on the first miscue leading off the inning. One out later, Seth Horton reached putting runners on the corners. The second error of the inning on a ball hit by Jackson Knowlton scored the first run of the inning.
With runners on the corners, again, Thrift uncorked a wild pitch allowing the second run to score for a 3-0 advantage. Bennett followed with a run-scoring single. Two more errors allowed Bennett to reach third ahead of a run-scoring groundout by Logan Paul.
Brantley County cut the five-run deficit to 5-4 in the third inning chasing Horton (2.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 1 K, 2 BB, 1 HBP). Kole Clark (2-for-5) reached on an error to start the inning with Kade Rowell (3-for-5) following with a single to left. James Morgan (1-for-4) drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases.
Thrift was hit by a 1-1 pitch forcing home Clark for the first run of the inning. Two runners scored when Jared Bartlett’s grounder was booted to cut the deficit to 5-3. A two-base error on a pickoff attempt allowed courtesy runner Landon Middleton (for Thrift) to score the final run.
The Herons scored three times in the top of the fourth against Allen (6.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 11 K, 0 BB) to grab a 7-5 advantage. Clark legged out a one-out infield hit, stole second and raced to third on an error. Rowell’s single to left tied the score at 5-apiece with Morgan reaching on a fielder’s choice. Thrift’s comebacker to the mound advanced both runners into scoring position and Collins (1-for-5) followed with a two-run double giving BCHS its first lead.
The Bears responded in the bottom half of the frame scoring twice to tie the score at 7-apiece. Paul drew a one-out, four-pitch walk and stole second. Tuten fought off a 1-2 pitch with a run-scoring single to left. A single by Allen scored Tuten from first base tying the game.
The two teams were held scoreless over the next four innings. Brantley County stranded a runner in the sixth and another in the eighth. PCHS stranded one in the fifth, had a runner on second doubled off in the seventh, and another picked off at second in the eighth.
No. 4 Bears 8 - Dodge County 3
A pair of four-run uprisings in the first three innings gave Pierce County a lead it would not relinquish in beating the Indians.
Five PCHS pitchers combined on the three-hit victory with Williams (5 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 8 K, 6 BB, 3 WP) getting the win. Derrin Cox, Paul, Tuten and Bennett all pitched over the final two innings.
The first four batters of the game for the Bears all reached to get the four-run rally started. Bennett (1-for-3) hit the first pitch of the game for a single to right. He stole second ahead of a walk to Paul (2-for-2) and Williams loading the bases.
Tuten (1-for-3) reached on an error scoring Bennett and Paul for a 2-0 lead. Allen’s suicide squeeze scored Williams. Sinclair’s (2-for-2) single put runners on the corners with Cox (1-for-3) capping the inning with a run-scoring single to center.
The Indians got one run back in the bottom half of the inning cutting the deficit to 4-1. A leadoff double, a wild pitch and a passed ball led to the Dodge County run.
PCHS extended the margin to 8-1 in the top of the third. Tuten’s leadoff double got the inning started. Tuten stole third ahead of a walk to Allen, who stole second one pitch later. Sinclair followed with a two-run single to help the Bears build a 6-1 lead.
After two quick outs, Golub (1-for-3) delivered a run-scoring single. Courtesy runner Bryce Bowen stole second and scored on Paul’s single to center for Pierce’s final run.
Dodge County scored a run in the fifth on a run-scoring groundout. The Indians’ final run came on a two-out solo homer in the seventh.
No. 4 Bears 5 - Toombs County 0
Three pitchers combined on a two-hitter and fanned 16 batters to help the Bears post a perfect week.
Cox (3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 7 K, 1 BB) got the start with Allen (3.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 7 K, 1 BB, 1 HBP) and Williams (.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 K, 0 BB) working in relief.
PCHS managed just seven hits with Tuten leading the way with a perfect 3-for-3 afternoon.
Pierce scored the only run it would need in the opening frame. Bennett drew a leadoff walk, stole second and third, and scored on Tuten’s infield single.
The Bears added a run in the third to increase the lead to 2-0. Bennett was hit by a one-out pitch, stole second and scored on Williams’ (1-for-3) infield hit.
PCHS opened up some breathing room in the sixth with a three-run rally. Tuten lined a one-out double and scored on Allen’s (1-for-3) double. Kris Wishall’s pinch-hit single plated Bowen, who was inserted as Allen’s courtesy runner. Following a walk, Knowlton’s groundout plated the final run.
The Bulldogs’ lone threat came in the first inning with a leadoff double, a single and a sacrifice bunt that was misplayed to load the bases. Cox settled down to strikeout the next three batters to escape the jam. He fanned the side in the second and allowed a base runner in the third.
Allen allowed two base runners during his stint with Williams finishing up needing just eight pitches to record two strikeouts.