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Franklin Co. escapes Waves

PORT GIBSON — Freshman third baseman Ryan Ratcliff provided thekey hit and the Franklin County Bulldogs overcame another scare atthe hands of the Port Gibson Blue Waves to win a close seven-inningcontest 10-6 at Port Gibson’s Fair Park Monday evening.

The Bulldogs resume play against Top Ten ranked Clinton,Thursday night in Bude at the Bulldog Swamp. They made up a gametoday at 2 p.m. at Woodville, versus Wilkinson County.

“It was another tough game,” said Bulldog field general EdZumbro Jr. after the long three-hour game. “Ryan got us the hit atthe right time, that helped us open things up.”

Ratcliff, playing third base for the first time since he was sixyears old in Dixie Youth, gave the Dawgs a 7-6 lead with a linedrive RBI single in the top half of the seventh inning. His hitscored Bulldog senior Will Buckels from third for the Dawgs firstlead in five innings.

“We thought we had them, until they came back in the seventh,”said Port Gibson head coach Richard Webster. “Franklin County’s gota good team, and they made the big plays when they neededthem.”

The Bulldogs (7-4, 5-1) took a commanding 5-0 lead after aninning and a half off key hits from Chase Evans, Ryan Hall, andBaron Jones. Port Gibson also committed three errors to aid theBulldogs advantage.

“We played really well except for the bottom of the second,”added Zumbro. “We hit the ball better, and made some pretty goodplays. That second inning almost killed us.”

The lead the Dawgs had, quickly left as Port Gibson scored sixruns off two hits and four Franklin County errors. The Blue Waves(2-5, 2-4) scored three of their six runs with two outs hangingover their heads in the second.

“When we took the lead in the second, I felt we were in goodshape as long as we added some runs,” added Webster. “Give theirpitching credit. From the second on, they kept us off thescoreboard.”

Franklin County junior curveball specialist Baron Jones startedthe game and went an inning and a half, before fastball wiz WillBuckels took the mound in the second. Buckels struck seven BlueWave batters out in five and a quarter innings. With Buckelsthrowing his traditional fast and accurate heat, the Blue Wavesnever got a man past second base the rest of the game.

Both teams held one another scoreless during the third, fourth,fifth, and sixth innings.

In the seventh, Franklin plated five runs for the final marginof victory. The Dawgs used RBI doubles from Buckels, Evans, O’Quinnand freshmen third baseman Dane Hodges to overwhelm the Waves.

“They did to us in the sixth, what we did to them in thesecond,” continued Webster. “Our pitcher (Don Lucas) was pitchinghis second straight game against them.”

Lucas (1-3) absorbed the loss with six strikeouts and four walksin seven innings of work. He allowed 14 hits.

Collecting the win for the Dawgs was Buckels (1-3).

Offensively the Dawgs were led by Evans at the plate with asingle, double, and triple for three RBI. Ryan Hall belted out twodoubles and a single for two RBI. O’Quinn added two doubles and aRBI, while Jones finished with two singles. Buckels, Hodges, andright fielder James King added a double.

For Port Gibson, junior catcher Johnnie Smith led the Blue Wavesattack with a single and a double. Lucas plated a double and addedtwo stolen bases. Franklin entertains Class 5A Clinton Thursday,before traveling to North Pike Friday night for a key Region 7-3Abattle. Both games have been set for 7:00.