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Cougars drop double-header versus Cook Hornets

CORDELE— On Friday night, the Crisp County High School baseball team closed out a three-game region series against the Cook County Hornets (16-10 overall record) with a pair of defeats.

A highly competitive first game saw the Hornets steal a win from the Cougars in the eighth inning by a final score of 5-4. Then in game two, Cook completed the double-header sweep with a 9-0 win over Crisp.

Cook Hornets 5, Cougars 4 

After a scoreless first inning in game one, the Hornets took the lead in the top of the second after scoring the first run of the contest on an infield hit by Omar Pickett with the bases loaded. Crisp pitcher Noah Walters used a strikeout in the next at bat to get the Cougars out of the jam, with Cook leading 1-0.

After a pair of scoreless half innings, the Cougars scored three runs in the bottom of the third frame to take the lead at 3-1.

Cade Jolly drew a one out walk and Cole Lancaster followed with a base hit to right to give Crisp two runners on base in the third inning. After a balk by the Cook County pitcher, Toby Stripling knocked in the first Cougar run of the game on an infield hit that scored Jolly. Stripling stole second shortly after to give Crisp two runners in scoring position, and Bailey Barfield drove both Cougar runners in with a two-run single to right.

Following a scoreless fourth frame, Cook pulled back to within one run of the Crisp County lead at 3-2 using a pair of hits, one walk, and then a Cougar error in the top of the fifth.

Crisp maintained the 3-2 lead from there up until the seventh inning, when Cook used RBI’s from Kodi Way and Hunter Dixon to go in front by a score of 4-3 entering the bottom half of the frame.

The Cougars then fought back in the bottom of the seventh with a run to force the game into the eighth inning. Barfield hit a one-out double and came around to score shortly after on an RBI single from Jack Carter.

Crisp later loaded up the bases in the frame with two outs after a single by Walters, a hit by pitch from Connor Richmond, and then a Tanner Massey walk, but the Hornets prevented a potential Crisp game-winning run from coming across by coming up with a strikeout.

In the top of the eighth, the Hornets had a runner at third base with one out, and a sacrifice fly shortly after allowed them to grab a 5-4 lead.

From there, Cook held on for the 5-4 win after keeping Crisp scoreless in the bottom of the eighth.

Walters pitched six innings for the Cougars in the game, and allowed just two earned runs on six hits and one walk while striking out seven batters. Stripling and Jordan Grinnell each pitched one inning for Crisp.

Cougar batting lineup stats from the game one defeat:

1. Jackson Napier- one hit

2. Stripling- one hit, one stolen base, one RBI, and one run

3. Barfield- two hits, one walk, two RBIs, and one run

4. Carter- three hits and one RBI

5. Walters- one hit and one stolen base

6. Richmond- one walk, one HBP, and two stolen bases

7. Massey- two walks

8. Jolly- one walk and one run scored

9. Lancaster- one hit and one run

Cook Hornets 9, Cougars 0

In game two, the Hornets scored a run in the top of the first, followed by three in the second inning, and then five in the top of the third frame to accumulate all nine of the game’s runs.

Carter and Richmond finished game two with a pair of hits each to lead the Crisp batting lineup. Napier hit a triple and Barfield had a single to round out the Cougar hit total for game two.

Brant Drinnon pitched four shutout innings in relief for CCHS, in which he allowed just two hits and one walk while striking out three Hornet batters.

The two defeats versus Cook put the Cougars at 10-15 on the season with a 0-6 mark in region play.

With Cook taking the series against Crisp, the Hornets play a three-game set against Worth County this week for the region 1-AAA title.

Crisp will play a three-game region series against Monroe High to close out regular season play, with game one set for  tonight in Albany at 5:30 p.m. Games two and three are scheduled to be played as a double-header in Cordele on Friday starting at 4:30. A series win for the Cougars over Monroe would ensure Crisp a three seed in the class AAA state playoffs.