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Wildcats complete sweep of Hornets; Colonels, Tigers come up short

Woodland kept pace in the Region 7-5A playoff race with a doubleheader sweep of Hiram April 1 at home.

After the Wildcats drew current region front-runners Blessed Trinity and Cartersville in their first two series, they took full advantage of their reprieve against the Hornets, who likewise entered the three-game set at 0-6 in the league.

Following a resounding 18-2 win in the series opener March 29 at Hiram, Woodland produced an additional pair of victories on its home turf.

Game 1 of the doubleheader lasted just five innings, as the Wildcats triumphed by a 15-5 margin. The nightcap proved much more competitive, although Woodland pulled away late for a 9-1 win.

The Wildcats (10-11, 3-6) put the opener out of reach early, scoring three runs apiece in the first and third innings sandwiched around a massive seven-run second frame.

Facing the possibility of a shutout loss, the Hornets put up a five-spot in the top of the fifth. However, the hosts answered with two runs in the home half to invoke the run rule.

Woodland piled up 14 hits, including two apiece from Ayden Ray, Julian Wright and Coby Barrett.

Ray (3 RBIs) and Wright (RBI) each went 2-for-2 with a walk and three runs scored. Jacob Gravett, Rowan Billings and Conner Stermer each recorded two RBIs.

Hunter Shirley struck out six in three innings. The senior allowed five walks and two hits but kept Hiram off the scoreboard to earn the win.

The Hornets scored first in Game 2 of the doubleheader, holding a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the fifth. That’s when the Wildcats came alive, with Ray hitting a tie-breaking two-run double.

Woodland escaped a bases-loaded jam in the top of the sixth, and then put the game out of reach with six runs in the home half. Chase Carson launched a two-run double, and Gravett cleared the bases with a two-bagger of his own.

Mason Williams finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Eight Wildcats added one hit each. Ray and Gravett walked once apiece in addition to their key doubles.

Nate Rosser, Austin Sanders and Barrett combined to strike out 13 while giving up an unearned run on five walks and three hits.