Rick Patrick: Greene Publishing, Inc.
The warmer temps of late February and early March can only mean one thing. Baseball season is on its way. Soon, the smell of red clay, the sounds of ball smacking leather and the ping of baseball bats will fill the air around the Madison County High School (MCHS) baseball diamond. The Cowboys are hoping to improve upon last year's dramatic season that saw the Cowboys come within one run of a state championship in fairy-tale fashion.
The Cowboys started their 2018 campaign with a couple of pre-season games in the Bulldog Invitational, in Live Oak. Then, the regular season began in Valdosta with the “Border War.” In the first pre-season game against Buchholz High School, from Gainesville, both teams were locked in a classic pitcher's duel. Neither team was able to mount much offense and the game ended in a 0-0 tie.
Drew Annett went one-for-two for the only hit for the Cowboys. Dylan Bass pitched four innings, giving up no hits and striking out five. Daquarius Thompkins came in relief and pitched three innings, giving up two hits and fanning one batter.
On Thursday Feb. 15, the Cowboys faced the Episcopal School of Jacksonville Eagles in their second pre-season game. The Cowboys managed to get a win with a 7-5 score. Dilan Lawson picked up the win over the Eagles with three innings pitched, giving up three hits, one earned run and striking out three batters.
Then, on Thursday, Feb. 22, the Cowboys started their regular season in the “Border Wars” competition, in Valdosta, with a game against the Evans High School Knights, from Evans, Ga. The game went all the way to the ninth inning with the score tied at zero. In the top of the ninth, Dustin Bass doubled with one out. Twin brother, Dylan Bass, hit a single to put Dustin on third. With runners on the corners, Jae Mitchell walks, loading the bases after Dylan Bass stole second. The bases were loaded when Dawson Rutherford singles to third. Dustin Bass was tagged out advancing to home, but Dylan Bass scored the first run of the game for the Cowboys. Drew Herring doubled on a line drive to left field, bringing Mitchell home. The top of the inning ended with Herring stranded at second. In the bottom of the ninth, the Eagles tied the score with a double that brought home two base runners. Then, with two outs and a runner at second, an Eagle batter hit a walk-off single that scored the winning run for the Eagles.
Drew Herring went one-for-four at the plate for the Cowboys, with one RBI. Dawson Rutherford was one-for-three with one RBI.
Dylan Bass pitched four innings, giving up four hits, with one strike-out. Dustin Bass pitched 4.1 innings, allowing four hits, one earned run and three strike-outs. “DT” Thompkins pitched .1 innings and gave up two hits, two earned runs and struck out one batter.
The Cowboys played their second “Border Wars” game, in Valdosta, on Saturday, Feb. 24. The Cowboys faced 6A opponent Russell County High School, from Seale, Al. The Cowboys struggled at the plate, managing only two base hits during the contest. The game was scoreless through the first two innings until the Russell County Warriors scored three runs in the bottom of the third inning. The Warriors added three more runs in the bottom of the fourth. The Cowboys were able to hold the Warriors back from scoring any more runs, but were unable to mount any offense against very good pitching from the Warriors' pitchers.
Dilan Lawson and Drew Herring were the two Cowboys getting base hits, but neither one was brought home. Lawson pitched 3.2 innings, giving up seven hits, four earned runs and gathering six strikeouts. “DT” Thompkins came in to pitch 3.1 innings in relief. Thompkins gave up two hits, no earned runs and struck out three Warrior batters.
The Cowboys will be on the road through most of March, but will be home on Friday, March 23 to face Maclay High School, from Tallahassee. The first pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.