It was perhaps inevitable. Somebody, Houston County or Brunswick, was going to have a big inning. If the first two meetings between them in their GHSA Class AAAAAA best-of-three state playoff-opening series proved anything, it was that. (See related story here on our website for evidence.)
True enough Saturday, and to the Bears and their fans’ delight, it was them. Houston County put together a six-run fourth and went on to win 8-1.
It will play Heritage, Conyers, a 21-1, 10-0 winner over Drew, in the next round. Heritage is a No. 1 seed, which means Houston County, a No. 2 will have to travel. The best-of-three is set to begin Thursday and continue Friday – if necessary.
The game started off looking like a pitcher’s duel between Chandler Dawson and Anthony Cleveland. Dawson did his part – and then some. In fact, he went all seven innings, scattered three hits, struck out eight and walked three. Cleveland, on the other hand, didn’t last.
He was the pitcher of record in that aforementioned sixth. He gave up seven runs, seven hits, struck out four and walked three.
Nevertheless, he did what he needed to do for the first three innings. He held the Bears to a walk in the first and a single in the second before a single by Jacob Profit (1-4 with an RBI) in the third and, followed by a sacrifice bunt by Dawson to help his cause and a double by Corbet Luna made it 1-0. (Luna finished 2-4 with two RBIs.)
Houston County only needed three of its nine hits to score the six in the inning following. That’s because there were a couple of walks, an error and a hit batsman in the mix.
Marshall Cox came in and relieved Cleveland, but the damage had obviously already been done.
Other offensive standouts included Chandler Ring, who was 2-4 with a run scored and Dillon Toms, who was was 1-3 and drove in a run.
Meanwhile, Dawson gave up a walk in the fourth, an error led to the run in the fifth, and he gave up just one single and in the sixth, and that was it. The Bears did add one more run in the seventh, but unlike the day prior when the seventh inning proved a difference-maker for both, today it mattered little.