The Woodland baseball team saw its flickering playoff hopes completely extinguished with a 5-0 loss to East Paulding on Wednesday at home.
Bailey Ward pitched well enough to give the Wildcats (10-14, 6-8) hope against one of the top teams in the loaded Region 7-AAAAA. However, the Woodland offense couldn't string together enough hits against East Paulding's mix of solid pitching and phenomenal defense.
After a one-out walk, Drew Billings threw out the speedy Tyrell Robinson trying to steal second base to help Ward post a scoreless top of the first inning.
The Raiders (17-7, 10-2) didn't waste a one-out walk the following inning, though. An RBI triple scored the game's first run before an infield single and sacrifice fly pushed across the second.
In the third inning, East Paulding tacked on another run. A single and double put two runners in scoring position. A successful suicide squeeze put Woodland in a 3-0 hole.
A wild pitch with the bases loaded handed the Raiders another insurance run in the fourth, while a leadoff double and a one-out single pushed home the game's fifth run in the seventh.
Before departing prior to the seventh inning, Ward had retired seven batters in a row.
"He threw some good pitches, and they hit it," Woodland interim head coach Mike Montgomery said. "Credit to him, because he competed and didn't let the situation get to him. He's been like that all year."
Added Montgomery, "He was throwing all his pitches for strikes. When you have four pitches you can throw around the zone, you're going to give your team a chance to win. That's what he did."
Offensively, the Wildcats struggled to get runners on base. Seemingly every hard-hit ball was ran down by East Paulding's stellar outfield, and each time Woodland threatened, a groundball double play seemed to follow.
Scotty Smith led the Wildcats, finishing 1-for-2 with a double and a walk. Ward, Dallas Adams and Toby Queen all finished 1-for-3.
Multiple runners reached in the sixth and seventh innings, but a double play spoiled the first situation and a flyout to end the game eliminated the final glimmer of hope for Woodland to make a late postseason push.
"We were off balance, and we had trouble making an adjustment," Montgomery said. "But credit their guys, they were throwing their pitches for strikes. They made plays when we hit it at them. They put it in play and took advantage of some opportunities. That was pretty much the difference."
With the season winding down, Montgomery is hoping to see his players end on a high note.
"We just want them to finish," Montgomery said. "Finish for the team — seniors, juniors, sophomores, everybody. They've been out here since February, and everybody deserves 100% effort to finish the season."
Kell 9, Cass 1
Facing the top team in Region 7-AAAAA and the No. 4 team in Class 5A, according to Georgia Dugout Preview, the Cass High baseball team was no match for Kell Wednesday on the road.
Kell opened the scoring up with a five-run second inning, and Cass was unable to get back in the game before eventually falling by a final score of 9-1.
Kell was able to produce all game with runners in scoring position on extra-base hits, including a pair of doubles in that five-run second inning. The Longhorns earned another two-out double with a runner in scoring position in the third inning for a 6-0 lead.
Consecutive triples scored two more runs in the fourth inning before Cass got on the board in the top of the sixth with a base-loaded walk by Jordan Gani. The Colonels earned three walks and had a batter hit by a pitch in the inning, but they couldn’t earn a hit to further put a dent in Kell’s lead.
The Longhorns added another run in the sixth inning after a triple and a wild pitch.
The Cass offense was led by Matt Shook, who had two of his team’s three hits in the game, and he hit two doubles, walked twice and scored a run.
Cass is now 7-16 overall and 3-10 in region play with two more two-game region series remaining on the season, beginning at East Paulding Friday.
North Murray 11, Adairsville 0
Wednesday’s home loss for the Adairsville High baseball team against North Murray followed a similar script to most of Adairsville’s other games this season.
The Tigers fell victim to a few big innings from the Mountaineers, and couldn’t generate enough offense to keep pace in an 11-0, run-rule shortened loss to North Murray.
The Mountaineers scored three runs in the third inning and then eight runs in the fourth. They only generated seven hits against Adairsville pitching, but the Tigers walked 10 North Murray batters.
Adairsville also committed three errors and had just two hits in the game, both singles.
With the loss, the Tigers fall to 3-15 on the year and 2-10 in Region 6-AAA, now tied in the standings with last-place Murray County.