Yellow Jackets move on to elite eight, take Woodward down in two

May 3—THOMASVILLE — When will those War Eagles learn that you don't mess with Yellow Jackets? For the second time in just less than six months, Woodward Academy exited the playoffs at the hands of Thomas County Central. This time it was on the diamond as the Jackets' powerful bats and laser-like arms dispatched Woodward in two games.

"It feels great," said Central head coach Ryan Strickland. "It's confirmation of the work we put in and how we do things."

Eli Taylor got the start in game one for the Yellow Jackets and was phenomenal, throwing just 65 pitches through six innings. He gave up a pair of runs including a home run, but "never panicked" as he settled in on the mound and shut down the War Eagles.

Reid Gainous finished Woodward off in the seventh, pitching a three-up, three-down inning.

Central bats were hot in game one as they forced the Woodward starter to over 80 pitches and began to rack up runs. The Yellow Jackets took game one 4-2.

Game two saw Dallas Pitts get the start and he secured eight strikeouts and allowed just four hits. Perhaps more impressive was his single walk in the game. Branson Gates and Gainous were brought in to finish the War Eagles off. Gainous pitched yet another three-up, three-down seventh inning to send the Yellow Jackets to the elite eight.

Woodward put their ace on the mound in game two, but the Yellow Jackets didn't care. They took the War Eagles for a ride as they totaled 13 hits in the game and scored four runs in the first inning. Thomas County Central took the 8-3 victory and the series in two games. The Yellow Jackets remain undefeated in the postseason, having won all four of their playoffs games thus far.

Central will now travel once again as they will take on Pope out of Marietta. The Greyhounds took down East Paulding in three games after dropping game one and currently sit at 23-13 on the season. Pope is a high-scoring team having scored four or more runs in 12 of their 23 wins and 10 or more in six of their wins.

The series is set to begin on Monday, May 6 with game one beginning at 5 p.m.