The Toombs County Bulldogs ended the season playing their best ball. The Dawgs won their final six games including five straight in Region 2 to make the playoffs as the fourth team out of the region. In the opening round, beginning Friday at 4 p.m. on Y-101 Radio and streamed on Mixlr, Toombs County is matched against the Region 4 champion Laney Wildcats. Laney avenged a 12-1 loss at Harlem with a 3-1 win over that same team to win the region.
The Wildcats have posted some amazing statistical numbers in 2017. Laney hit .363 during the regular season with a .487 on base percentage and 46 stolen bases. The Wildcat pitchers have a 3.40 ERA with 138 strikeouts and 54 walks.
Omari Hunter is the Wildcats number one pitcher and he is 2-0 with a 2.58 ERA and the righty, who throws in the 80’s, has struck out 69 batters and walked only 12. He also is batting .477 with eight doubles and 15 RBI. Mario Sumpter is hitting .468 with a double and three triples plus 11 RBI.
The 12-13 Bulldogs have a staff ERA of 3.03 and teams are hitting .249 against them with 151 strikeouts and 102 walks. D.R. Meadows brings a .77 ERA into the series and teams are hitting .220 against the senior with 56 strikeouts and 21 walks.Lane Adams has a 2.63 ERA and he has struck out 51 batters and walked 27.
Meadows is batting .400 with two homers, eight doubles and 17 RBI and he leads the team with 28 runs scored. George Lucke leads the team in runs batted in with 26 and he is hitting .385 with seven doubles.
The Bulldogs have a history of knocking off top seeds. In 2014 as a number four team out of Region 2 the Dawgs swept Bleckley County in Cochran.
Ethredge and Beasley toss 17 innings- yield 6 hits and 3 earned run in Bleckley sweep
James Ethredge and Jeremy Beasley have anchored the Toombs County Bulldogs pitching staff for three seasons. However, the two seniors have never combined to accomplish, in one day, what they did at Bleckley County in the first round of the GHSA State Tournament. The two college signees pitched 17 innings and allowed only six hits as the Dawgs swept the Royals 4-3 (10 innings) and 7-1. Ethredge threw all 10 innings yielding five hits in the first game and even drove in the game winning run with a two-out single to left field- his fourth straight hit in a 4-for-6 effort.
Beasley tossed a one hitter in game two and he went 1-for-2 at the plate and drove in the Bulldogs first run with a sacrifice fly in the first and doubled in the fourth and scored the game-winning run on a sacrifice fly by Tyler Luke, who also went 2-for-4 in the first game highlighted by a lead off home run to left in the third, his first varsity home run.
All four Region 2 teams swept their Region 4 opponents. Number 1 seed Benedictine beat Lamar County 10-0 in five innings and 7-2. Number 2 seed Jeff Davis routed Monticello 11-1 in five innings and 9-1 and third seeded Metter swept Taylor County, on the road, 9-0 and 6-5.
Game 1- This nearly three hour thriller started slowly as the Bulldogs made five outs in six at bats to open up the game against lefty Austin Williams. Luke leadoff the third with his solo homer and Hunter Braddy (1-for-5) singled with two outs to make it 2-0.
Bleckley County got the two runs back in the bottom of the third on RBI hits by Wiliams and Dalton Churchwell. The Bulldogs regained the lead in the fifth. D.R. Meadows (3-for-4 with two walks) leadoff with a double and scored as Braddy grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
The Royals tied the game in the bottom of the seventh. Ethredge struckout the first two batters. However, one reached as the ball got away. Ethredge hit Cal Young and power hitter Caleb Slaughter (0-for-1 with four walks) was intentionally walked. Zac Evans hit a sacrifice fly to left field with one out to tie the game at 3-3. Ethredge stranded runners at first and second in the seventh and then left them at second and third in the eighth. The Bulldogs turned a double play in the ninth as Slaughter hit a ball that Braddy (2nd baseman) caught in the outfield grass and then he threw to second for the second out.
The Bulldogs left runners at first and third in the eighth and stranded three more in the ninth. Blake Horton (1-for-5) singled, with two outs in the top of the tenth, Meadows walked and Ethredge stroked the game winning hit to left as Horton scored from second base beating two throws to the plate.
In the bottom of the tenth Churchwell leadoff with a walk. Thomas Adcock sacrificed him to second and then he moved to third on a grounder to second. On a 0-1 pitch Austin Simmons hit a challenging grounder to Beasley at first. The senior went to a knee to field it, waved off Ethredge, and ran to the bag to end the ten inning marathon.
Game 2- The Bulldogs didn’t mess around in the first inning in this game. Meadows (1-for-2), who was on base eight times in the doubleheader from the leadoff positon, singled. Ethredge (2-for-4) stroked a double and Beasley hit a sacrifice fly that scored Meadows to make it 1-0.
Toombs scored it’s second run in the fourth. Beasley led off with a double and scored on a Luke (1-for-1) sacrifice fly. The Bulldogs had the only big inning of the entire day in the fifth. Brandon Beckum and Horton (three walks) opened up the frame by walking. Meadows bunted the ball down the first base line. Slaughter elected to go to third and Jake Davis (running for Beckum) was safe to load up the bases. Ethredge followed with a RBI single. Horton and Meadows each scored on a wild pitch and Luke stroked a run scoring single. Horton walked and scored the game’s final run.
Bleckley County scored it’s only run in the third as the Bulldogs made three straight errors.
In 2013 Toombs County finished third in Region 2 and the Bulldogs started a run to the Elite 8 with a sweep at Dublin of the second seeded Irish.
Dawgs down Dublin in two games
The Dublin Irish scored three unearned runs in the bottom of the first inning. However, after that frame the Toombs County Bulldogs outscored the Irish 17-1 as they won their first round GHSA State Playoff series 5-3 and 12-1 in five innings in Dublin.
James Ethredge was the winning pitcher in game one. The junior improved his record to 8-1 with his eighth complete game. He did not allow an earned run and only yielded six hits with nine strikeouts and a walk. Jeremy Beasley pitched five innings of three hit ball in game two. He improved his record to 2-1 while striking out three batters and walking two. The only run was scored on a solo homer over the left field fence by Ty Mullis, with two down, which tied the game at 1-all in the third. Ethredge and Beasley, combined, only allowed one earned run in 12 innings dropping the Bulldogs’ team ERA for the season to 1.77.
Game 1- The Bulldogs overcame the three run deficit by scoring in back-to-back innings in the middle of the game. In the fourth inning Logan Martin (2-for-3) and Christian Moore (1-for-3) each singled and Ben Brantley (1-for-3) drove in Martin with a base hit. In the fifth Hunter Braddock (0-for-2 with two walks) reached on an error and Bailey Salter (1-for-4) singled and both scored on Beasley’s (1-for-2) triple down the left field line. Beasley scored on a Moore sacrifice fly to put the Bulldogs up 4-3.
TCHS added an insurance run in the seventh. Martin doubled and scored on a Beasley single. The Bulldogs out hit the Irish 12-6 in game one.
Game 2- The Bulldogs took the first lead in this game in the second inning. Martin (2-for-2) singled as did Salter (2-for-3) and then Moore (1-for-2) drove in Martin with a sacrifice fly to center to give Toombs a 1-0 advantage. Dublin tied the game in top of the third on the Mullis homer.
The Bulldogs regained the lead in the bottom of the third. Hunter Braddy (1-for-3) led off with a walk. With two down and Braddy at third, Braddock (1-for-2) was intentionally walked. Martin followed with a single that scored two runs which put TCHS up 3-1. Beasley (1-for-2) singled and then Salter did something no Bulldog had done since the end of the 2011 season (Berry Aldridge homer at Tattnall County). He hit a three-run home run over the left field fence to give his team a 6-1 lead. Bailey’s first varsity homer, was the Salter family’s third total. Older brother Johnathan smashed two in his senior season.
Toombs pushed the lead to double-digits in the fourth by scoring six runs. Brandon Beckum led off with a walk, Braddy doubled and Braddock doubled in a run. Beasley hit a sacrifice fly. Toombs out hit Dublin 9-3 in the second game.