SYLVANIA — Screven County got its state tournament run off to a good start, sweeping Thomasville by scores of 14-4 and 11-10 Friday evening to advance to the second round of the Georgia High School Association playoffs.
The Gamecocks powered their way to a five-inning, mercy rule victory in Game 1 and looked to be heading down the same path with an early 8-0 lead in Game 2, but the Bulldogs rallied hard, pulling within a run in the final inning before Screven reliever Dillon Coe slammed the door and punch the Gamecocks’ ticket into the second round.
“We got the wins, which was the most important part,” said Screven coach Billy Pollock. “Things got a little tense in the second game, but we just wanted to stay alive for another day. We got some good pitching and Dillon did a great job to close it out.”
Screven jumped ahead in Game 2 on Duane Heindel’s RBI single in the top of the second inning — the Gamecocks were the home team in the opener, but switched in the second matchup. Screven kept rolling with seven more runs in the third.
Corey Waters started the rally with a single, stole second — one of 12 SCHS stolen bases on the night — and scored on an error.
After reaching on the error that scored Waters, Bailey Pollock crossed the plate via two wild pitches by Thomasville starter Tanner Warren.
Jonathan Long added an RBI groundout, Austin Peel had a run scoring single and Trenton Owens added a two-run double before another single from Waters capped the seven-run frame.
“The offense really showed up tonight,” said Billy Pollock. “I couldn’t have asked for much better. We got key hits and ran the basepaths very well in both games.”
After Thomasville pushed three runs across in the third, the Gamecocks took a 10-3 lead in the top of the fourth.
Undeterred, the Bulldogs used a few walks, some key hits and some bad hops to claw back into the game.
Thomasville scored twice in both the fourth and fifth to get within 11-7 and Peyton Dixon’s two-run single in the sixth cut the Screven lead to one.
The Bulldogs held serve in the top half of the final inning, but Coe was up to the challenge, notching the save in the bottom half to clinch the series sweep.
“That was big,” said Pollock. “Dillon is our number four guy and he came through. We wanted to save some arms just in case there was a Game 3, but Dillon made sure it didn’t come to that.”
Game 1 held much less drama despite Thomasville holding its only leads of the night.