THOMASVILLE — Cale Deese started it. Cale Deese ended it. And everything else in between was quality filler during Brookwood’s 13-2 victory over Southwest Georgia Academy Monday afternoon at the Brookwood School.
The junior didn’t wait, sending a first-pitch solo shot into the trees in left center to put the first run on the board in the first inning. His two-run crush to a similar spot with two outs in the sixth put an end to the drawn-out, non-region game via the mercy rule.
“He got all of that last one,” Brookwood (6-8, 2-3 GISA 3-AAA) coach Ken Johnson said. “Every bit of it.”
Deese has been back in the lineup for about two weeks after missing the first few of the season with a herniated disk in his back.
“I still struggle a little bit with pain, but I’m working through it,” he said. “A lot of physical therapy and just a lot of rest — trying to at least.”
Deese hit 3-for-5 with two home runs and five RBIs to lead Brookwood Monday, similar to the day he had two Fridays ago.
“It feels good hitting it; A whole lot less than having to sprint it,” Deese said.
So is that why he’s hit five over the fences so far in his short season? He laughed and agreed it might be fair to say that.
“All glory to God,” said Deese, who has 13 RBIs off 10 hits. “God gives me strength to hit the ball, even with a hurt back.”
The entire team had strength Monday with all nine getting at least one hit and all but two crossing home base.
“We’ve been having some opportunities in those (close) games that we just couldn’t get a hit,” Johnson said. “We made some fielding mistakes and gave some runs up, but today I think we hit the ball well through the line up.”
Starting pitcher Peyton Latmore continued the strong at-bats in the first inning with a single over the second baseman. His courtesy runner scored on an error to make it 2-0 after one inning.
The Warriors played a game of trading places in the second inning after the first three batters made it on base. Latmore hit a double to score Andrew Saunders, then Tyler Bustle followed with a single to score Conner Green. He moved over to second on the mishandle.
Reid May stepped up and hit a double to score Latmore’s runner. Bustle also scored, making it a 6-0 game through two with the SGA Warriors (6-5, 2-1 GISA 3-AA) already switching from starter Quinn LaGuardia to Jake Odom.
LaGuardia faced 15 batters over 2 1/2 innings, allowing eight hits. Odom allowed seven hits over 16 batters.
Bustle scored in the fourth on an error after reaching on an error at shortstop. Saunders hit a double to lead the fifth, followed by a Green single. Deese brought them both home with a single to turn it into a 8-0 game through five innings.
Latmore and the defense had five innings of solid work until the lug nuts started to shake loose in the top of the sixth. Kohler Tabb hit a double with one out to score Odom. He attempted to score on a passed ball, but Green got it to Latmore at home well in time to tag him out.
Tanner Powell hit a single, Alex Warren reached on an outfield error and Powell ended up scoring on a passed ball for the team’s second run.
“I guess we made a couple boo-boos there at the end that gave them some runs, but other than that we played pretty good defensively,” Johnson said.
Tyler Hester reached on a walk to start the sixth for Brookwood. He stole second and scored on a single by Eli Miller behind him. Deese’s blast to left center put it all to an end.
Latmore stayed in for six full innings and 28 batters. He allowed eight hits — three of which came in the sixth inning — and struck out eight while walking three.
“I thought Peyton threw the ball well,” Johnson said. “He got frustrated out there, but he got the outs and did what he was supposed to do.”
“I just felt like he needed some work because it’s going to be a while before he throws again so we just let him go ahead and finish it out,” he said, adding that the team was in the middle of a tight stretch and had used a lot of pitching over the weekend plus Latmore will have time to rest with spring break.
MAKE ’EM LOOK: Latmore got the Warriors across the way to go down confused. Seven of his eight strikeouts were achieved with the batter looking at the final pitch. All but one of them finished the game with a hit.
BASEBALL ODDITIES: The Warriors, and the other Warriors, both had something not typically seen in baseball, especially at the upper levels. Catcher Conner Green hit lead-off for Brookwood. He hit 3-for-5 with two runs. His first at-bat was a pop-up and his final at-bat was a grounder to shortstop, but he ran it out and reached first on the error.
Quinn LaGuardia took the mound for SGA and he also took the lead-off spot. He made it on base twice with walks.
WARRIORS ON BASE: Everyone was actively involved in the win Monday night with the top of the order showing a tad more power. Green: 3-for-5 with two runs. Deese 3-for-5, two home runs, 5 RBIs. Latmore 2-for-4 RBI. Bustle 1-for-4, two runs, RBI. Reid May: 1-for-3, RBI, walk. Hester 1-for-2, run, two walks. Miller 2-for-3, run, RBI. Aaron Howell 1-for-4. Saunders: 2-for-4, two runs.
UP NEXT: The two teams play on SGA’s diamond today at 4:30 p.m. Drew Goodwin will get the start for Brookwood.
“Hopefully he can get his innings in and do what he’s got to get done,” Johnson said.
NEXT WEEK: Brookwood will practice this Wednesday, then will have some days off for the school’s spring break. The Warriors will get back at it April 9 with a slate of games in Alabama. Upon returning from spring break, Brookwood will host Terrell Academy Tuesday April 14 in a return to region play.
“We just need to get it all together,” Johnson said. “When we come back after spring break then hopefully we’ll have a shot. We’re still in the whole thing; We’ve just got to stay in it and keep working.”