Moultrie Observer

Local Sports

February 20, 2012

Dalton, Bishop pitch eighth-graders to season-opening win

MOULTRIE — Right-handers Beau Dalton and Kodi Bishop combined to hold Tift County without a hit over the final 6 2/3 innings to lead the Colquitt County eighth-grade baseball team to a 6-2 victory in its season-opener on Monday at Packer Park.

The Blue Devils opened the game with a double and two singles and put up two first-inning runs off Dalton, the Packers starter.

But those were the only hits he surrendered in his four innings of work. Bishop worked the final three innings and walked three, but did not give up a hit or a run.

Dalton struck out five Blue Devils. Bishop fanned four.

"Beau and Kodi both did an outstanding job," said Packers coach Will Southwell. "The both got ahead of the hitters and made them press a little.

“And we played good defense behind them."

And the Packers, down 2-0 before coming to the plate for the first time, pecked away at Tift County starter Cole Rider over the first three innings to score all six of their runs.

But that was all the Packers could manage.

Tift County sent Conner Thomas to the mound to relieve Rider and get the final out in the third inning and the left-hander retired the next nine Packers in a row.

Thomas fanned seven of the 10 Packers he faced and did not allow a ball out of the infield.

But the damage had been done.

Tift took scored its only two runs in top of the first.

Tanner Nimmo opened the game with a double to center and scored when Adam Spurliin blooped a single to right.

Ethan Bryant followed with a single to right, but the Packers threw out Spurlin attempting to go to third. Bryant went to second on the throw to third and scored what proved to be Tift’s final run on a throwing error. It was Colquitt County’s only error of the game.

Colquitt scored its first run of the season in the bottom of the first when Trey Clark led off by drawing a walk, stealing second and moving to third on a bad throw.

Clark then scampered home on Kevin Hall's ground out to second base.

The Packers took the lead in the second.

Austin McCord ripped the first pitch he saw over the center fielder's head and wound up at second with a double. He was thrown out trying to steal third, but the Packers were not through.

Xy Blakley then walked and stole second.

Kevin Snyder struck out on a ball in the dirt and when the catcher was forced to throw him out at first, Blakely lit out for third. The throw to get him was wild and Blakely scored the tying run.

Lyle Tostenson, the Packers next batter, was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a single by Clark and scored on Hall's single to center to put the Packers up 3-2.

Tostenson had another key at bat in the third inning.

Bishop led off the inning with a base hit and moved to second when Dalton was hit by a pitch.

Javen Parten reached on a fielder's choice that sent Bishop to third.

McCord's sacrifice fly drove in Bishop to put the Packers on top 4-2.

Blakely was then hit by a pitch and Snyder drew a walk.

Tostenson had two strikes on him when he laced a single to left to drive in Parten and Blakely to put the Packers up 4-2.

"That was a great at bat," Southwell said.

The Packers had six hits in the first three innings and Southwell was pleased with his team's approach at the plate.

"Our point of emphasis was trying to jump on the first pitch if it was a fast ball," he said. "We just wanted to hit it hard somewhere, even if we made an out."

The Packers were unable to do anything with the breaking balls Thomas served up over the final three innings, but Dalton and Bishop made sure the early lead stood up.

Clark, Hall, Bishop, Dalton, McCord and Tostenson had the Colquitt County hits. Hall and Tostenson each drove in two runs. McCord's sacrifice fly sent home the other.

The eighth-grade Packers will play next on Thursday when they travel to Valdosta for a 4 p.m. game.

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