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Bulldogs eliminate Enterprise

MERIDIAN – The Enterprise Yellow Jackets saw their Cinderella season come to an end Monday night in the quarterfinals of the MHSAA State 2A Baseball Playoffs as the Clarkdale Bulldogs clinched the best-of-three series with a 13-9 victory in Game Three.

     In Saturday’s results, the Jackets rallied to avoid elimination and skinned the Bulldogs 10-9 in Game Two at Enterprise.

     “This was a battle to the end,” said Clarkdale coach Scott Gibson. “Both teams fought hard. Enterprise has a very good team and they are well-coached. We were very fortunate to outscore them early and held on for the win. We must regroup and get ready for another tough contest against Taylorsville.”

     The Bulldogs (21-10) advance to the 2A South State championship to battled the defending South champs, the Taylorville Tartars. The series begins Thursday.

     The Jackets fought hard to keep their season alive. They won their first Region 7-2A crown and had a 17-14 worksheet.

     “We had an amazing season,” said Enterprise coach Cass Brister. “This team showed a lot of character throughout the season.  We won our first region title in years and led Enterprise further than it has ever been in the playoffs.

     “I am extremely proud of the guys, especially my seniors for the great season,” continued Brister. “My seniors really stepped up and showed our younger kids how to bring it in both practices and games.”

Clarkdale 13, Enterprise 9

     During a two-hour rain delay, baseball fans gathered at Clarkdale baseball field to witness the final bout between two hungry teams fighting to keep their dreams alive.

     The Bulldogs came out of the gates on fire looking to end the contest early as they took a 10-1 lead in the first two innings of action.

     The Jackets managed to wake up in the third inning and fought back to deny early elimination. Enterprise outscored Clarkdale 8-3 in the remainder of the game, but fell short leaving the bases loaded in the seventh inning.

     The Bulldogs used a two-man rotation as Drew Freeman (5K, 4BB) tossed the win as the starter. Jonathan Porter (2K, 2BB) pitched in relief for the save.

     Enterprise also used a two-man rotation with Blake Fugler (1K, 2BB) suffering the setback as the starter. Jackson Cole (4K, 2BB) threw in relief.

     Clarkdale outhit the Jackets 11-9. Blake Griffith provided the offensive spark to lead the Bulldogs with a home run and two singles. Porter and Freeman fueled the flames with a double and single apiece. Chad Hinton ripped a double. Hitting safely were Slater Lott, Keaton Smith and Levi Wedgeworth.

     Dylan Smith directed the Jackets at the plate with three singles. Logan Killingworth contributed two singles. Konner Burke, Leighton Jordan , Austin Fuller and Braxton Foster hit safely.

     “The first two innings were to0 much to overcome,” stated Brister. “We dug ourselves a big hole early and could not get out of it. Overall, I was pleased with the guys effort to fight back into the contest.”

Enterprise 10, Clarkdale 9

     In a classic finish, the Jackets fought hard in the bottom of the seventh inning to rally from 3-runs down to shave the Bulldogs for the win late Saturday night.

     Fugler (2K, 3BB) was the winning pitcher for Enterprise. Smith (2K, 1BB) was the starting pitcher.

     Freeman (0K, 1BB) suffered the loss for Clarkdale, pitching in relief. Hinton (7K, 5BB) pitched six innings for the Bulldogs.

     Fugler provided the offensive charge to lead the Jackets with four singles. Jordan continued the pop with two doubles and a single. Smith ripped a double. Burke and Foster hit safely.

     “This was a very big win,” said Brister. “We showed a lot of character to come back from three runs down in the last inning. We won the game on two big squeeze plays. That to me is baseball at its finest.”

     Lott was the offensive leader for Clarkdale with a triple, a double and a single. Chance McDonald and Freeman contributed two singles apiece. Griffith hit a double. Dylan Reed, Smith, Wedgeworth, and Hinton singled.