BHS baseball team sweeps Spalding to advance to second round of playoffs

Published 4:24 pm Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Bainbridge Bearcat baseball team traveled to Spalding (16-11) last Friday for the first round of the State Playoffs, and returned home with a 2-0 series win after a pair of aggressive games at the plate.

The Bearcats (21-7) beat the Jaguars 3-2 in game one and 6-5 in game two, eliminating the need for a tiebreaker game the following day and sending Bainbridge straight to the second round.

Bainbridge was on fire at the plate in game one, making 12 hits at the plate.

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Will Kelley was one of the keys to the Bearcats big win, as he went 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs. He homered in the first inning, singled in the fifth and doubled in the seventh.

“Our guys had a big game at the plate,” coach Brian McCorkle said. “Will’s home run in the first put us out there and established that we were here to play. It was just good and timely hitting. We had a few mix-ups. But when the game was on the line, our guys rose to the occasion.”

On the mound, Ty Varnum handled business despite allowing five runs. He struck out five Jaguars and had no walks.

Bainbridge jumped to an early 2-0 lead in the first when Keith Lyle singled and Kelley followed up with his two-run homer. Spalding was quick to respond, putting up three runs in the first, but then going quiet until the sixth inning.

Meanwhile, the Bearcats scored three runs in the third. By the seventh inning, the score was tied 5-5 and Bainbridge was looking for a big play at the plate.

It came when Noah Bryant slammed out a single to score Kelley and put Bainbridge up 7-6. The Bearcat defense made three outs in the bottom of the seventh to hang on for the win.

In game two, Bainbridge jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Their offense woke up as Keith Lyle singled before Noah Bryant singled.

Bainbridge pulled out the win thanks to a strong sixth inning. They broke the 2-2 score with an RBI single by Connor Strickland that plated Will Kelley.

“The closer and more tight the game got, the better our guys played,” McCorkle said. “We do as much as we can in practice to put pressure on them and to make plays when the pressure is on.”

Cayden McQuaig got the win for the Bearcats. He allowed two runs over six innings and struck out five, walked five and gave up four hits.

Chase Cuppock was charged with the loss. He lasted just six innings, walked one, struck out seven, and allowed three runs.

Bainbridge travels to Buford on Wednesday to take on the Wolves (25-3).

“It’s a great opportunity to go and compete at the highest level,” McCorkle said. “But you still got to throw it and catch and hit it. We know it’s a tough challenge. Just because it’s an awfully good team, our players aren’t going to back away. They are going to go at it with all they got.”