Cobras bite Bulldogs

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, April 30, 2008

WESSON – Senior Jonathan Grace provided the pitching and theCobras responded with 4 home runs to put away the ClarkdaleBulldogs 9-5 Monday night in the second round of the best-of-threeseries in the South State 2A baseball playoffs.

Wesson lost the first game of the series 9-2 Thursday night andevened the series 1-1 after beating Clarkdale 9-1 Saturday in arain-delayed affair.

With the win, Wesson (19-8) hosts the defending state championRichton Rebels Friday at 6 p.m. for the first game in the of thebest-of-three series in the South state semifinals. Richtoneliminated Loyd Star last week in the second round. Clarkdale,coached by Steve Marlow, finished the season 23-10.

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“We started hitting the ball well the last two games,” saidWesson head baseball coach Hugh Knight. “We came back from beingbehind and won.”

Grace, the only senior on the team and a Co-Lin signee, went thedistance, striking out 8 batters, walking 1 and allowing 5 runs on7 hits. Grace, who collected his 14th home run of the year,improved to 8-4 on the season.

“Grace didn’t have his best stuff,” said Knight. “He had threedays rest like their pitcher. He went out there and battled. Hedeserved the chance.”

Following a scoreless first inning, Clarkdale scored 2 runs inthe top of the second but Wesson answered back with 3 runs in thebottom of the second, powered by Grace’s solo homer.

The Bulldogs tied the game at 3-all in the top of the third andpushed their lead to 4-3 in the top of the fourth.

The bottom of the fourth saw Brandon Allen drill a 2-run homerun over the left-center field fence to give the Cobras a 5-4lead.

In the fifth, with 1 out and runners Caleb Broom and Grace onsecond and first respectively, Matt P. Smith drilled a three-runhomer over the left field fence and pushed Wesson’s lead to8-4.

Then Alan Stegall launched a solo homer over the left fieldfence to give the Cobras a 9-4 cushion going into the sixthinning.

Kenny Roberts collected a solo homer for the Bulldogs in the topof the seventh, cutting the Cobras lead to 9-5. With 1 out, thehosts turned a double play to end the game and advance to the nextround.

Absorbing the loss was starter Davey Knight who worked 4.1innings with 1 strikeout and 1 walk. Matt Thornhill worked theremaining 2.2 innings with no strikeouts and 2 walks.

Broome doubled for Wesson. Matt S. Smith and Allen singled.

Clarkdale got a double and a pair of singles from Jeff Miller.Justin McMillen, Clark Boutner and Roberts hit safely.