corey.davis@gaflnews.com

TALLAHASSEE-Suwannee (14-6) swept a pair of games this week, including a thrilling finish in Tallahassee. Suwannee jumped out to a huge lead only to see Godby make it close at the end.   

Suwannee 18, Godby 17

Ahead 18-4 in the bottom of the fifth, Suwannee looked well on its way to a run-rule win over host Tallahassee Godby. Unfortunately, the Cougars wouldn’t go down easily in the potential final inning as they scored nine runs to force the game to go the final seven innings, before the Bulldogs held them off 18-17 Friday in Tallahassee.  

With one out in the fifth, Godby pinch hitter AJ Granger slapped his first career varsity hit into right field.  First baseman Blake Hammaker stepped to the plate and after fouling off four two strike pitches eventually drew a walk.  Casey Grier followed with a drive over the left fielderís head for a double and the inningís first run would come in as Granger scored. 

Jared Kirk walked on four consecutive pitches to load the bases and Jalin Richardson ripped a RBI single to deep short. Kevin Gavin followed with a line drive to left for another RBI, while Landus Pemberton lashed a single into centerfield for two more runs, to erase the seemingly inevitable 10 run rule and make the score 18-9.

Tyler Zimmerman stroked a single to left field to drive in another run, while Linder coaxed a walk to load the bases. Granger then laid down a perfect bunt for a hit to push home another run cutting the lead to 18-11.  A wild pitch moved everyone up a base to make it 18-12 and Hammaker grounded out to short to make it 18-13.  The next batter struck out to end the inning, but the damage had been done, and the game would continue.

Linder took the mound in the top of the sixth and after running the count to 0-2, hit the first Suwannee batter.  After balking him to second, the senior induced a ground ball to short for the first out, which moved the runner to third.

Having scored in every inning in the game, Suwannee looked as if they would just continue their onslaught, when Linder uncorked a potential wild pitch that bounced into Grierís chest protector.  As the ball trickled away from the senior backstop, the runner raced home, Grier quickly scampered to his feet and fired to the covering Linder and the runner was nabbed for the second out. 

Linder then allowed a couple of hits and plunked another batter to load the bases, but when the next hitter harmlessly grounded to Kirk at third, who tossed it to second for the final out, the Bulldogs were finally held scoreless in an inning.

Kirk led off the sixth with a bunt single before Richardson was struck by the next pitch. Gavin sacrificed both runners into scoring position while Pemberton, on an 0-2 curveball, was struck in the leg to load the bases.  Zimmerman lined a RBI single to left cutting the score to 18-14.

Suwannee’s pitcher uncorked a wild pitch that the speedy Richardson alertly scored on and it was now 18-15.  Linder followed with a drive to deep right for a sacrifice fly that scored Pemberton, cutting the lead to 18-16.

With the tying run now at bat, Johnny Blue Craig re-entered the game then stroked a sharp grounder to short, but after a nice play for the final out, the inning would come to an end.

Linder walked the lead-off batter in the top of the seventh on four straight pitches. After plunking the next hitter, things began to look bleak. However, Linder induced the runner at second to take off for third and simply tagged out the unsuspecting runner for the first out of the inning and struck out the next two hitters to end the inning. 

Leading off the bottom of the seventh and working the count full, Hammaker lofted a pop-up into shallow left field that the shortstop misplayed, allowing Hammaker to reach second. The next two hitters were retired as Hammaker moved to third, but Richardson calmly stroked a line drive into left to cut the score to 18-17.

With the count 1-2, Gavin blasted a ball down the right field line that would have scored the speedy Richardson, who was running on the pitch, and tie the game. Unfortunately, the ball landed just outside the foul line before scooting all the way to the fence and everyone would have to go back.

The next pitch, a curveball, got away from the pitcher, and Gavin turned away from it as he was struck in the back.  After trotting to first to put the tying run at second and the winning run on first, the home plate umpire made a crucial call. He ruled that Gavin had leaned into the pitch and would have to return to the plate. The next pitch also struck Gavin, this time in the arm, and the same call was made, this time correctly.

With the count full, Gavin hit a sharp grounder to the third baseman, after a slight bobble, the Suwannee third baseman recovered and fired across the diamond to nab the diving Gavin and the game would dramatically come to an end. 

Godby pounded out 15 hits, while Suwannee belted 20 hits of their own, 7 of which were doubles and another one a homerun, to build what turned out to be an insurmountable lead.

Mathew Pennington was 2-for-3 with four runs, Justin Hicks was 3-for-5 with 2 RBIs, Blake Swann was 3-for-4 with 5 RBIs, Greg Bowers was 2-for-4, Greg Swinson was 3-for-6 and Andrew Schroeder was 3-for-5 with 3 runs to lead the Bulldogs.    

Suwannee 6, Branford 3

Suwannee scored six runs in the first two innings and held off host Branford 6-3 Tuesday. Blake Swann hit a home run and Justin Hicks and Matt Pennington both had two hits each to pace the Bulldogs (13-6). Branford managed only three runs with two of the runs coming off a two-run home run.

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