Thomasville Times Enterprise

Local Sports

April 22, 2014

Diamond 'Dogs control postseason destiny with win over Early

THOMASVILLE —

The Diamond ‘Dogs have reclaimed control of their destiny in the hunt for a spot in the state tournament. 

Thomasville, which downed Early County, 3-2, on Tuesday, is now in ‘Win and you’re in’ mode as it eyes its final game of the season on Friday against Fitzgerald.

“We were talking after the game about how fitting it is for this team in particular,” Thomasville coach Erik McDougald said. “We’ve got ourselves a good ‘ole nail biter. I guess that’s just who we are.”

The Bulldogs held off a late Early charge in the seventh, and nearly allowed the game-tying run before a quick-ditch move by shortstop Payton Dixon.

Early led off with a walk then followed with a single to put runners on first and second base.

An Early hitter then grounded to Thomasville first baseman Hunter Donalson, who, after stepping on the bag for the second out, tossed to Dixon for a double play attempt, which prompted the runner from third to head home.

Dixon, on instinct, avoided the tag and threw home to catcher Austin Clark, who tagged out the runner to secure the win on the final play.

“It was exhilarating, I’ll admit that,” McDougald said after the win.

The reliable Bayley Wright earned the win from the mound with another complete game performance that consisted of just two hits allowed.

Thomasville now eyes its re-match with Fitzgerald, which last ended in a controversial, 1-0 finish three weeks ago. The Bulldogs qualify for the playoffs with a win or Brooks County loss.

McDougald said the team will practice on Wednesday and Thursday, but that the bulk of focus will be put on “mental preparation.”

“It’s been a long season. Everybody is tried. Who sticks together as a group the best will find a way to win.”

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