“The big thing was I’ve got a whole team of guys who love to play baseball now and in the past it hadn’t been that way,” Winterboro head coach Brandon Brown said. “From top to bottom, I’ve got an entire roster that just loves to play baseball. They love to practice. They love to get better and it showed tonight because they were just on fire tonight.”
The turning point in the game came in the fourth inning when Taylor Garrett hit a three-run home run. The home run opened up the game for Winterboro by giving them a commanding 9-0 lead, all the offense they would need to pick up the win.
In fact, the fourth inning proved to be a productive inning for the Bulldogs. Senior Jake McCoy started the inning with a hard-hit ball up the middle for a single. Nick Leonard got on base through a walk. Winterboro’s pitcher in the game, Wideman, managed to get a bloop single to center field. Casey Goins hit a grounder to shortstop, but the shortstop threw it home where McCoy was safe.
Winterboro’s Andrew Pitts hit a deep fly ball to center field for a fly out, but Leonard was able to tag up and score to make it 6-0 Winterboro. Colby Wheeler hit a grounder to shortstop, and the shortstop flipped it to the second baseman for the force out leaving a runner at first and third. Garrett stepped up and sent a towering shot to left field that hung in the air for some time before coming down just over the outfield fence.
From the second inning through the fifth inning, Winterboro pitcher Brady Wideman induced nine groundball hits with eight of them being outs. He also had two strikeouts during that span, along with a walk and single. However, both of the runners who reached base safely were also thrown out, one with Wideman’s pickoff throw to first base and one when catcher Cody Rhodes threw out Kenny Cowart on an attempt to steal second base.
Wideman finally allowed a run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Central Coosa’s Ryan Gaither started the inning by hitting a ball into the gap between center field and left field for a double. Jonathan Hardy was out on a grounder to shortstop that advanced the runner to third base. Ladarrius Graham flied out to left field, but hit the ball deep enough to allow Gaither to tag up and score a run. Wideman continued his groundball success by getting Kyle Edwards to ground out to shortstop.
Wideman picked up the win for his six strong innings of work on the mound.
Central Coosa turned to relief pitcher Seth Wilson in the seventh inning and thing did not go so well. Wilson pitched one-third of an inning while giving up four earned runs.
Garrett went to work on offense again by hitting a ball into the far corner of right field for a double. Wilson walked Cody Rhodes while also allowing Garrett to score, on two separate wild pitches. Garrett advanced to third base on the first and scored on the second wild pitch. Jonathan Harris reached base safely, then Wilson hit McCoy with a pitch to load up the bases. He struck out Leonard before allowing another run on a wild pitch to make it 11-1. Wideman reached base safely to re-load the bases and another run scored when Casey Goins was hit by a pitch. Winterboro’s final run was scored when Andrew Pitts took ball four on a 3-1 count, making it 13-1 in favor of Winterboro.
Central Coosa generated a little more offense against Goins as the relief pitcher, but not enough to win the game. Goins was charged with two balks, which allowed one run to score. Two subsequent runs came in following a wild throw to first base from the shortstop. While Goins gave up three runs, he also produced two strikeouts.
The Talladega County Baseball Tournament continues tomorrow at Sylacauga High School with B.B. Comer playing Fayetteville with first pitch scheduled for 4 p.m.