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Tuesday May 24th, 2022 5:14PM

Baseball playoffs: Pierce Co. rallies to earn split with Bluff; Commerce-Irwin Co. head to Game 3; Banks Co., Branch eliminated

By AccessWDUN Staff

BLACKSHER, Ga. — Pierce County scored two runs in the 7th inning to take the lead and hold on to win Game 2, 3-2, over Cherokee Bluff in the second round of the Class 3A playoffs on Wednesday.

With the series tied, the two foes will meet again on Thursday in Blacksher for a berth in the Class 3A quarterfinals. Bluff won Game 1, 14-4.

Cherokee Bluff took the lead in a wild first inning that started with back-to-back walks and hit by a pitch to load the bases. Bluff would eventually find home plate, not on a hit though, but on a passed ball. Jacob Vokal rushed home for the score and 1-0 lead.

In the 3rd inning, which started with a Vokal double, a walk and another HBP to load the bases, Vokal jogged home when Brett House was walked to go up 2-0.

Pierce County got on the board in the 5th inning on a groundout. Davis Green, who walked earlier, advanced to third via a passed ball, then a steal, scored on the play.

After a scoreless 6th inning, Pierce County started the 7th with two straight singles and an HBP to load the bases. Bluff's Lucas Tritt walked the game-tying run in, and on the next at-bat, Hoke Skipper's fly ball scored Green to give Pierce County the lead, 3-2. 

In Game 1, down 4-1 after three innings in Game 1, No. 10 Cherokee Bluff scored 13 unanswered runs to rout second-ranked Pierce County, 14-4, in the second round of the Class 3A playoffs on Wednesday.  

The rally started with a six-run fourth inning as Bluff (25-9, Region 7-3A No. 2 seed) took advantage of shaky Pierce County (26-4 Region 1-3A No. 1 seed) pitching, reaching base on a hit by a pitch, an error and three walks. 

In the same inning, Brody Beal capitalized on the RBI opportunity with a one-out single, Bryce England did the same with a two-RBI double to left field, and later on, England was balked home for a 6-4 lead. 

The scoring frenzy didn't stop in the fourth. In the fifth, Kaden Thompson walked, Landon Kemp singled, Beal grounded into a fielder's choice -- Kemp out at second -- Jacob Vokal doubled, scoring Thompson and Beal, Caleb Miele walks, then Caleb Piland provided the fireworks with a three-run bomb over the left-field fence to put the game out of reach. 

Bluff added two more insurance runs in the top of the seventh. 

England and Piland ended the day with three RBIs, Vokal had two, and Beal and Kemp had one each. 

Tucker Holton pitched two innings, giving up four runs on two hits and two strikeouts, to earn the win for Cherokee Bluff. 


LAGRANGE 7, 
FLOWERY BRANCH 5

It was an up and down day for the Falcons (21-13 Region 8-4A No. 2 seed) in the decisive Game 3 of the Class 4A playoffs on the road at LaGrange (.27-8, Region 2-4A No. 1 seed).

The Falcons fell behind early, 2-0, and rallied back to take a 3-2 lead in the fifth, fell behind, 5-3, in the bottom of the inning, tied it up in the top of the sixth, then lost it again for good, 7-5, in the bottom of the sixth to fall out of the playoffs.

The Falcons took the lead in the third inning on a Smallwood single that scored Nick Linkowski and A Bourrie. 

In the sixth inning, Jackson Freeman hammered a solo home run and R Mitchell hit an RBI single to left field to tie the game. 

Mason Compton went 2-for-3 at the plate to lead the Falcons.


VIDALIA 12, 13
BANKS COUNTY 2, 1

All Vidalia (23-9, Region 2-2A No. 1 seed) needed was 10 innings to knock Banks County (16-12, Region 8-2A No. 2 seed) out of the second round of the Class 2A playoffs on Wednesday. 

The Indians scored 25 runs on 25 hits to sweep the Leopards.  

In Game 1, The Indians scored 12 runs on 12 hits, including a seven-run third inning powered by a single from Kaleb Bennett, Cason Banks and Bryce Davis, and an error on a ball put in play by Hughes Graham to blow open the game 12-1. 

Banks County scored one run in the third and one in the fourth. 

In Game 2, Banks County took the lead, 1-0, on an error. 

After that, the Indians went on a run, scoring two runs in the second, seven in the third and two in the fourth and fifth innings. 


COMMERCE 6, 1
IRWIN COUNTY 5, 14

After a 7th inning comeback for the win in Game 1, the Tigers were ice cold in Game 2 to split with Irwin County at home on Wednesday in the second round of the Class A Public playoffs.

Game 3 is set for tomorrow.

In Game 1, the Tigers trailed until the final inning when Ryan Cooper singled J Allen in for the winning run.

Prior to the game-winning single, B Morris smacked an RBI double, Allen's walk sent a runner home on a bases load situation and C Lord recorded a two-run scoring double in the seventh inning. 

Lord also had a solo home run in the sixth inning. He was 2-for-4 at the plate with 3 RBIs. 

Jaxon Foster lasted seven innings, allowing five runs on nine hits while striking out five, to earn the win.

In Game 2, Irwin County quickly took control and held on for the double-digit win. The Indians went up 5-0 in the second. 

Irwin County added three runs in the third and six more in the fourth to run-rule the Tigers. 

Cooper led the Tigers with a 2-for-3 performance at the plate. 

2nd ROUND BASEBALL PLAYOFF SCORES
(All series are best-of-3 at home of higher seed)

WEDNESDAY, MAY 4

Class 4A
LaGrange 7, Flowery Branch (LaGrange wins series 2-1)

Class 3A
Appling County 6-0, North Hall 4-4 (Series tied 1-1)
Cherokee Bluff 14-2, Pierce County 4-3 (Series tied 1-1)

Class 2A
Vidalia 12-13, Banks County 2-1 (Vidalia wins series 2-0)

Class A Public
Commerce 6-1, Irwin County 5-14 (Series is tied 1-1)

TUESDAY, MAY 3

Class 6A
Buford 7-14, Glynn Academy 3-0 (Buford wins series 2-0)

Class 4A
Flowery Branch 2-6, LaGrange 6-3 (Series tied 1-1)

2nd ROUND BASEBALL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
(All series are best-of-3 at home of higher seed)
(Game 3s start at 5:55 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

THURSDAY, MAY 5

Class 3A
Appling County (R1, S2) at North Hall (R7, S1) (Game 3), 4 p.m.
Cherokee Bluff (R7, S2) at Pierce County (R1, S1) (Game 3), 4 p.m.

Class A Public
Irwin County (R2, S2) at Commerce (R8, S1) (Game 3), 2 p.m.

(Area teams listed in BOLD)



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