By DAVID M. FORD
The THS Diamond Dogs beat the Grovetown Warriors Friday by a score of 2-1 to claim the sub-regional championship.
The Dawgs jumped ahead in the first inning of play. Lead-off batter Josh Jones sent a double into left field to reach second. A walk put Chad Austin on first, and a sacrifice bunt by Austin Cooper moved both runners over. A well hit single into center field by designated hitter Jared Holliman batting clean-up brought both runners home to put Thomson up by two. Holliman stole second on the hit, but the Dogs were unable to generate any more offense and the score stood at 2-0 going into the bottom of the first.
Good defense held the Warriors scoreless in the first, but Grovetown played effective small ball to put a run on the board in the second.
Starting pitcher Hunter Bragg appeared to get stronger as the game went on, however, and his performance– backed up by effective defense– held Grovetown to only one hit in the final five innings and no runs, and Thomson held on to their lead to get the 2-1 win.
“I started off a little rough,” Bragg said after the game. “I didn’t have my stuff early, but I settled down and got in the zone, got ground balls and got ‘em out.”
“I told the guys that the key to this game was to score early,” head coach Aaron Hall said after the game. “And we came out and jumped on top early on, and it held up. That’s the way this game plays sometimes. We had opportunities, but I give them credit. Their pitcher did a good job, made good pitches, but in the end our pitching and defense held up, and that’s the name of the game.”
The win gave Thomson the sub-region championship heading into the playoffs.
“We host Washington County on Tuesday,” Hall said. “We play a double-header starting at 4 p.m., and I don’t plan on playing on Wednesday.”
Claiming the sub-region championship was no small feat for a team that’s had a rebuilding year.
“We finished the season 10-11, but we focused on winning the region games,” Hall said. “Not to take anything away from any of our pitchers, but we had to use our best pitchers during our region games, and that got us here. We won our sub-region, and that’s what counts.”