Yellow Jackets sting St. Pius; advance to second round

Apr. 26—THOMASVILLE — It only took two games for the Thomas County Central Yellow Jackets to get past St. Pius in the first round of the state playoffs on Thursday. Though the games were played in Atlanta, it was all Thomas County Central.

Game one was certainly closer than anyone would have liked with both teams going scoreless through four innings. Both the Jackets and Golden Lions threatened to score in the fourth, but Central got things going in the fifth.

Dallas Pitts was the first to make noise with his double, followed by an error that put him on third and put runners on the corners. A ground out by Taylor was enough to get Pitts home and the Jackets took a 1-0 lead. They weren't done however, as Dom McCann and Lee McCorkle knocked in runs before the final out.

That 3-0 score would hold through seven innings as the Jackets took game one in a shutout. It was a great game for the Central pitching staff as Branson Gates got the win with Landon Walsh and Reid Gainous not allowing a single hit in their outings.

Though they were slow to start in game one, the Central bats were quick to find the ball in game two. After a three up three down first for St. Pius, Thomas County loaded the bases with no outs as the Golden Lions struggled on the mound.

They walked Isaac Henson in for the first Yellow Jacket run and Central was off to the races. A sac fly by Gainous and a pop out from Lawson Odom sent in two more runs to make it 3-0 Jackets after one.

St. Pius made it close with two runs in the second, but Central extended their lead to five, making it 7-2. With just six hits in the game, Central had to make the most of their opportunities. They walked six times in the game and McCann was the RBI king for the Jackets. He had three hits on the day securing three RBI's.

Braden Griffin got the start for the Yellow Jackets, going two innings with three strikeouts, but it was Pitts who got the win. He went five full innings giving up two hits and securing five K's on the day.

Thomas County Central will now advance to face a familiar foe to Yellow Jacket nation. Woodward Academy, who Central beat in the football state championship game, awaits the Yellow Jackets in round two. The War Eagles will certainly be a tougher test than St. Pius. Woodward is currently 23-9 and won their region with a perfect 14-0 record.

Central will have to get their bats going quickly against Woodward if they are to win. In their wins, Woodward don't typically give up more than four runs. But, in four of their nine loses, Woodward gave up seven runs or more. The Yellow Jackets offense will have to be hot to pull out the win.

Thomas County Central will travel to College Park, Georgia to face Woodward Academy on May 1.