However, despite keeping Region 8-AAA’s top seed off balance for a second straight game with a respectable pitching effort, Adairsville’s bats couldn’t muster much offense.
The Tigers crossed home plate in the bottom of the fourth. With the Titans up four runs heading into the inning, though, the run just provided the final margin for North Oconee’s 4-1 victory.
Coupled with their 7-0 win earlier in the day, the Titans brought an end to Adairsville’s return to the postseason.
Had the Tigers managed to scratch out a win in either game, coach Eric Bishop liked the matchup for his team in a potential third game.
“If we push this thing to three games, we felt like we had the pitching advantage against them,” the Adairsville skipper said. “We felt pretty good about our chances.”
Dylan Cochran and Neal Knight — starters in Games 1 and 2, respectively — illustrated why Bishop had confidence in his hurlers. Cochran pitched 4 1/3 innings, striking out five and allowing the Titans three of their five hits in the game.
Though, he issued seven walks, his coach lauded Cochran’s ability to quiet the opponent’s bats.
“Dylan did a great job. His pitch count got up high and we had to get him out, but he did a great job, especially throwing his off-speed stuff,” Bishop continued. “Going into Game 2, we went with Neal Knight … [He] kind of earned the opportunity to be a playoff starter [throughout the season].” The coach said Knight, like Cochran, also used off-speed pitches to slow the Titans’ bats.
In Game 1, North Oconee scored the bulk of its runs in the bottom of the second before adding the final two runs in the fifth and sixth innings.
“We had the one-bad-inning syndrome rear its ugly head again. [We] had one bad inning where we gave up five runs, all with two outs,” Bishop noted.
Unfortunately, the Tigers couldn’t put together a similar inning, despite registering four hits courtesy of Tyler Washington, Cody Melton, Casey McCrory and Melton.
“[We] just couldn’t get the timely hit,” Bishop acknowledged.
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