Melton unleashed his second dominating start in a week on Friday for Adairsville's senior night, where the Tigers knocked Model out of Region 7-AA playoff contention with an 8-1 victory.
Melton, who picked up a 4-2 win over River Ridge last Friday, recorded seven strikeouts and gave up four hits and four walks in 5 2/3 innings pitched.
"[He's] done a great job of getting outs for us and keeping hitters off balance, that's the biggest thing. He changes speeds so well," Adairsville head coach Eric Bishop said. "For a sophomore to produce the way he has is pretty special.
Melton put up five consecutive scoreless innings, including the top of the second when he stranded two runners, striking out the final two batters of the inning after surrendering a walk and a base hit to the previous batters.
The only Blue Devil run of the night came in the sixth after a Tiger outfielder overran Cameron O'Neal's hit to right field, allowing a Model base runner to score from second.
Adairsville returned its lead to seven in the bottom half of the inning on Trey Gulledge's RBI bunt. It was one of many bunts for the Tigers, who scored two runs on Gulledge's squeeze bunts and two more on sacrifice bunts.
"We work on that every day in practice. It's a six-round hitting thing that the kids have really come to believe in. When we do it and do those things, we can score some runs," Bishop said.
Adairsville's offensive flurry began in the bottom of the first after its initial three batters of the game reached base, which included singles from Tyler Washington and Cody Kremer.
With the bases loaded, Gulledge stretched out to lay down an RBI bunt on a squeeze play. Gulledge's bunt died near the first-base line, negating a throw from Model's infielders, who charged the plate with Adairsville's runners in motion. Washington scored from third and Gulledge made it to first easily, keeping the bases loaded.
The Tigers added another run on Ross Kennedy's walk with the bags full, going up 2-0.
An inning later, Adairsville utilized a sacrifice bunt from Washington to put pinch runner Hunter Smith on second, and Kyle Adams' triple to the left-center field wall -- which eluded the grasp of Blue Devils center fielder Drew Dempsey -- scored Smith. Smith was in to run for Melton, who took a pitch to the helmet to reach base as the first batter of the inning.
The Tigers again turned to the bunt later in the inning when Kremer dropped one down, scoring Adams on a squeeze play for a four-run lead.
Washington helped extend Adairsville's advantage in the fifth with a two-run single over the head of Model's defense, which was on the infield grass. Washington's hit to right scored Kennedy -- who led off the inning with a double to the center-field fence -- and Smith. Smith was pinch running for Melton after the pitcher hit a sharp ball to shortstop. Adams' sacrifice bunt pushed the Tigers ahead 7-0.
Melton walked the leadoff batter in the top of the sixth before recording two straight outs on a fielder's choice and a pop fly. He then surrendered a single to O'Neal, ending his night after close to 100 pitches. Gulledge came on in relief, getting out of the inning with a strikeout. Gulledge had a couple of strikeouts and gave up two hits in 1 1/3 innings pitched.
Hitters for Adairsville were Washington, two hits, two RBIs; Adams, one hit (triple), two RBIs, hit by a pitch; Kremer, one hit, RBI, one walk; Zach Sherwood, two hits; Gulledge, three hits, two RBIs; Tristin Smith, one hit; Kennedy, one hit (double), RBI, two walks; and Melton, one hit.
Zach Turner went 1 for 2 for Model, Alan Holmes 2 for 4 and O'Neal 3 for 3.
The Blue Devils (10-10, 5-7 Region 7A-AA), who lost 2-0 to the Tigers on March 10, had a chance to keep themselves in the hunt for the sub-region's third playoff spot with a victory, but they dropped the season series to Adairsville (9-11, 5-6), which only needs to win today for a chance to play a region playoff crossover series against Region 7B-AA's second seed.
At times, the season has been topsy-turvy for the Tigers, but they find themselves right where they want to be.
"It's been a rollercoaster ride all season, and they never stopped working, never stopped believing and they're to be commended for that. Their reward is they're in the position they're in," said Bishop, who noted his team probably had its best practice of the year on Thursday. "We win tomorrow and we're in a crossover series that has [state] playoff implications. We're looking forward to the challenge, it's not that far away -- a little over 14 hours and we'll be back at it again."
Adairsville had been scheduled to play Pepperell Tuesday and then on Wednesday, but rainouts moved the game to the next available date for both teams. The Dragons, who host today's 11 a.m. game, have locked up the second seed in the sub-region. They face an Adairsville team they beat 4-2 on March 29.
The Tigers, however, have won four of their last five games.
"Right now we're playing well and when you're playing well you want to play games, you certainly don't want to practice, so I think they're excited about it," Bishop said of the quick turnaround. "It [had] been a week since [we'd] played. We've known what our position was for a week. We've practiced under those circumstances and knowing what we had to do and hopefully we can go to Pepperell tomorrow and get it done."