THOMASVILLE —Having gone to a third day for its third-round series with Callaway, what was another three hours for the Thomasville Bulldogs baseball team?
With the first pitch of their decisive Game 3 pushed back three hours Thursday, the Bulldogs (24-11) completed their comeback from a gut-wrenching Game 1 loss with a 6-0 win, taking the series.
The win places the Bulldogs in the state semifinals against Jeff Davis. The Yellow Jackets swept their series with Haralson County.
Ben Rawlings struck out six and walked three, holding the Cavaliers to just four singles in a complete-game shutout effort.
Jack Thompson tripled and drove in two runs, Anderson Everett was 2-for-3 with one RBI and Ryan Renfroe was 2-for-2. Isaac Richardson added a double and one RBI.
Callaway loaded the bases with one out in the fourth but Rawlings escaped the jam with a strikeout and Jacob Jordan’s snare of a liner to center field.
The Cavaliers had runners on second and third with two outs in the fifth, but Rawlings coaxed an inning-ending force out.
Rawlings retired seven of the last eight batters he faced.
Richardson’s RBI double in the first staked the Bulldogs to a 1-0 lead. Thompson’s triple to right field plated two runs, and Thompson scored on Jace Lowe’s sacrifice fly for a 4-0 margin in the fourth.
Everett’s single and a passed ball brought in the final two runs in the fifth inning.
The Bulldogs stayed alive with a 4-3 Game 2 win, after the visiting Cavaliers won the first game — which started Tuesday but was suspended because of rain — in extra innings Wednesday.
Richardson poked a two-out, run-scoring single to centerfield in the top of the seventh inning to push across the winning run in Game 2. The Bulldogs defense turned another pivotal play in the bottom half to preserve the win.
Thomasville piled up 13 hits in Game 2, four of them coming in a three-run first inning — and three coming with two outs. An error and singles from Thompson and Jace Lowe brought in the runs.
Callaway tied the game in the fifth, getting two runs on Kaden Rogers’ sacrifice fly and Jimmy Dukes delivered a RBI single.
Witt Wetherington was 3-for-4 while Richardson was 2-for-4 with a double. Carson Fryman went 2-for-3 and Thompson finished 2-for-4.
Gabe Duncan went the distance, striking out four while allowing seven hits and walking three, and the defense behind him turned three double plays.
The Cavaliers took Game 1 5-4 in eight innings, as Andrew Locke’s force out brought in the decisive run.
Callaway loaded the bases with one out on a hit batter, a bunt single and a walk before Locke bounced into a force out. He beat the throw to first base to avoid a double play and allow CJ Stephens to score the eventual winning run.
The Bulldogs had runners on first and third in the bottom half but Tucker Starling got a strikeout to end the inning and the game.
The Cavaliers loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh. Everett was called on in relief and he didn’t take long to escape the jam. He got a strikeout, then the Bulldogs turned a double play.
The Bulldogs took a 4-2 lead in the fourth, thanks to a three-run rally. Thompson and Lowe started it off with back-to-back singles, and sacrifice bunt attempts from Fryman and Renfroe wound up as base hits. A bases-loaded walk to Wetherington and Jordan’s sacrifice fly capped the scoring.
The Cavaliers tied it at 4-4 on run-scoring ground outs in the fifth and sixth innings.