Bulldogs top Opp in extras

Published 12:05 am Saturday, February 27, 2016

Without a plate appearance in two seasons, Sim Bowden delivered in a big way for the Bulldogs on Friday night.

Without a plate appearance in two seasons, Sim Bowden delivered in a big way for the Bulldogs on Friday night.

Late-inning heroics helped lift Andalusia Bulldogs to a 5-4 win over the Opp Bobcats Friday night in Opp in an extra-inning affair.

The unlikely hero for the Bulldogs came at the plate from senior pitcher Sim Bowden. With one out in the top of the eighth inning, the Bulldogs called upon Bowden to step into the batter box.

Before Friday night, Bowden hadn’t had a plate appearance over the past two seasons after suffering a horrific leg injury.

That didn’t seem to faze the senior, who laced a line drive down the right-field line and then motored his way around for a stand up triple. One play later, Colton Elmore ripped a double over the head of the Bobcats’ center fielder that allowed the go-ahead run to score easily from third.

“Just look back to three years ago when the kid has a spiral fracture that could have ended his career,” Bulldogs’ head coach Tyler Dent said of Bowden. “He has worked his tail off and committed to being a pitcher-only this year, and then he comes up to bat after not having an at-bat for the past two years and he hits a triple and scores the winning run.”

To start the game off, the Bulldogs’ first two batters got out, but three hit batters and a walk put Andalusia on top 1-0 in the top of the first.

Nathan Langley got the start on the mound and sat down the first two Bobcats he faced via strikeouts.

In the top of the second, Chase Hopkins led off with a single, and then came around to score on a RBI single off the bat of Ethan Wilson.

Wilson then gave the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead when he scored on a throwing error.

Chandler Jones followed with a RBI single that scored Riley Graham, but Jones was thrown out trying to advance to second.

Cody Anderson entered the game on the mound for the Bobcats in the top of third and he 14 of the next 23 Bulldog batters.

The Bobcats broke onto the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth inning when Talon Flowers came around to score on an error.

Bowden took over on the mound for the Bulldogs in the top of the fifth inning, picking up a pair of strikeouts in the inning.

Opp continued to scratch back into the game and another throwing error pushed across a Bobcat run in the bottom of the sixth.

Down 4-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, Orlando Lacey got the Bobcats rolling with a 1-out infield single.

Lane Worley followed with single that moved Lacey to third and Worley went to second on the throw.

Greg House came up with a clutch fly ball into the outfield that allowed Lacey to score and an errant throw on the relay allowed Worley to come across to knot the game 4-4.

After the Bobcats tied the game, Bowden’s heroics in the top of eighth put the Bulldogs back on top.

In the bottom of the eighth, Garrett Davis reached on an error to start the inning. Kody Richburg entered the game as a pinch runner for Davis at first.

Bowden retired the next two batters before a single from Parker Bracke moved Richburg to second.

The next batter hit a ground ball, but the ball popped out of the first baseman’s mit and Richburg rounded third heading for home.

The ball arrived just ahead of Richburg, who had clear path to slide in and tie the game up, however, Richburg elected to railroad the Andalusia catcher, which is illegal in high school baseball.

The result of the play was an automatic out, ending the game and any hopes the Bobcats had of win.

“Whenever you strikeout 17 times and you still find a way to win in extra-innings, that says a lot about this group of kids,” Dent said. “We had a few flaws in the field here and there, but we stayed in the game and found a way to win.”

In junior varsity action, the Bobcats knocked off the Bulldogs 6-3.

Gauge Prescott and Logan Ross each had RBIs for the Bobcats in the win.