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Wildcats down Tigers in Battle for Bartow

By Nicholas Sullivan

After a performance to forget in the first round of the Battle for Bartow Baseball Classic, Woodland bounced back in a major way to down county rival Adairsville 11-3 late Thursday night at LakePoint.

The Wildcats piled up five runs in the second inning and four more in the third en route to the victory, which sends Woodland into the fifth-place game of the eight-team tournament. Meanwhile, the result relegates Adairsville to the seventh-place contest.

Both teams will learn their opponents Friday night, when Cartersville, Cass, Pepperell and Riverside (South Carolina) compete in four total games. All eight teams will place once Saturday to determine their final spot in the tournament.

Thursday’s win showed the potential Woodland (4-3) possesses. The Wildcats have shown it a couple of times this season, but the team struggled in a 7-0 loss to Cedartown, although the final score didn’t tell the whole story.

Even still, Woodland would have been itching to get back on the field throughout the entirety of the long wait between the end of their game and the conclusion of Adairsville’s 9-3 loss to Rome. The Wildcats coaxed a walk but nothing else in the first inning, but they quickly took control in the second.

In the frame, singles by Zach Wilson and Jackson Rutledge sandwiched around a hit batsman loaded the bases with one out. Freshmen Chase Carson and Jakiyon Porter drew consecutive walks to take a 2-0 lead. Peyton Posey lifted a sacrifice fly; Carson scored on a wild pitch; and Carter Heath singled home Porter for a 5-0 edge.

Woodland was back at it again in the third, as Adairsville pitchers continued to keep up their theme this year of throwing tons of pitches. The Tigers (3-4) totaled seven strikeouts and five walks on the mound, representing their lowest total in each category this season. After finishing with 10 of each in the Rome defeat, Adairsville had punched out at least eight in every game, while unfortunately issuing at least six walks per contest.

Woodland loaded the bases in the third again with one out — this time on an error, a walk and a single. Porter came through with a run-scoring hit just after Drew Billings had scored on a passed ball. Carson came home for the second time on a wild pitch, and Porter scored on an error to make the score 9-0.

From that point, the teams played pretty evenly. Adairsville scratched out single runs in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings, while Woodland had single tallies in the fourth and sixth frames.

Evan Henry, Jacob Ray and Jack Whitley each had an RBI single for the Tigers. Posey’s second sac fly of the evening pushed home the Wildcats’ 10th run, and Jacob Gravett’s run-scoring groundout forced in the 11th.

Phoenix Cramer led Woodland with a pair of hits, while Chris Roper paced Adairsville with two knocks, as well.

Trent Porter, Cramer and Rutledge combined to allow seven hits and two walks with seven total strikeouts. Whitley pitched the best of the Tigers hurlers, striking out five over three frames. He allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits.