Columbus Pulls Away Late; Hold Off Wild Things Rally

by Daniel Wilson

Columbus – The Columbus Chatt-a-Hoots (9-12) used four runs in the third inning to pull away from the Waleska Wild Things (6-13) and then held off a late rally to win 11-8 Tuesday night at Golden Park.

With the win, Columbus now sits three games ahead of Waleska for sixth in the Sunbelt standings.  The Chatt-a-Hoots also completed a 3-1 series victory over the Wild Things to gain a crucial tiebreaker advantage in the race for the final playoff spot.

Zac Rice, Cole Mathis and Bryce Newman each had two hits to lead the Chatt-a-Hoots at the plate.  Mathis added four RBIs, including two on a home run in the ninth inning.

The Wild Things were led at the plate by Trey Paige, who had three hits, and Brett Blomquist, who had two.

With the score tied 2-2 through five innings, the Chatt-a-Hoots were able to capitalize on two hits and two errors to score four runs and take a 6-2 lead in the sixth.  They then capitalized on three pass balls to score another run in the seventh before adding to their lead again in the eighth with two runs on a double-steal and a wild pitch to make it 9-2.

The Wild Things cut into the deficit with two runs in the bottom of the eighth on a bases-loaded fielder’s choice and a sacrifice fly to make it 9-4.  But the Chatt-a-Hoots answered right back with two runs on Mathis’ homer to left field to make it 11-4.  That lead was far from safe, however, as the Wild Things would not go quietly.

Facing a seven-run deficit in the ninth, Andrew Pendleton started the Waleska rally with a lead-off single.  Trace Cate then flew out to right field for the first out before Pendleton scored on a Brett Blomquist double and subsequent error in center field.  Trey Paige then scored Blomquist with a double to left field, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a base hit by Bryan Belo to make it 11-7.

Ryan Middleton then came on to pitch for the Chatt-a-Hoots and promptly threw a 2-2 wild pitch that put Bryan Belo in scoring position for Jo Jo Jackson, who singled to right field, scoring Belo and cutting the deficit to 11-8.  But Middleton was able to retire the next two batters to end the threat and secure the win for his team.

Luke Davis (1-1), in his first relief appearance of the season, tossed two scoreless innings to earn the victory.  The rising sophomore from Samford University allowed no runs on one hit with one walk and three strikeouts.

Chatt-a-Hoots starter Trent Hodgdon lasted four innings and allowed two runs on one hit with four walks and five strikeouts.  The West Virginia commit currently leads all Sunbelt pitchers with 46 strikeouts on the season.

Wild Things starter Makenzie Stills (0-3) threw 104 pitches, but took the loss after allowing five runs, four of which were earned.  The rising junior from Kennesaw State lasted 5.1 innings and allowed six hits with four walks and five strikeouts.

Both teams will return to action on Wednesday, July 21.  The Chatt-a-Hoots will face the Marietta Patriots in a doubleheader at Golden Park starting at 5:05 p.m.  The Wild Things will face the Atlanta Crackers in a doubleheader at Kennesaw State starting at 6 p.m.

The Sunbelt Summer Baseball League has provided premier summer baseball for the Southeast since 2005.  For everything around the Sunbelt League go online to for news, scores, broadcast information, and much more and on Facebook and Twitter @sunbeltbaseball and Instagram @sunbeltleague

Columbus Pulls Away Late; Hold Off Wild Rally