The Valdosta Daily Times
Cook’s baseball team earned a region victory Friday night, defeating Brooks County 11-1 in five innings.
The Hornets scored eight runs in the final two innings to pull away for the win.
“We got what we came for,” Cook head coach Cleve Edwards said about the win.
With the win, the Hornets improved to 11-5, and 5-2 in Region 1-AA. They are currently tied for second in the region with Thomasville, behind 8-0 Berrien. Brooks fell to 0-8 in region play.
Brooks got on the board first, scoring a run in the bottom of the first inning. With one out, Justin Hollis doubled to left center. Hollis tagged up and went to third on Dalton Watley’s fly out to right, then dashed home on a wild pitch to give the Trojans a 1-0 lead.
But that lead wouldn’t last long. With one out and a man on first in the top of the second, Cook’s Stanton Moore connected with a pitch and drove it over the left field fence, a few feet inside the foul pole, for a two-run homer, giving the Hornets a 2-1 lead.
After Moore’s homer, the Hornets loaded the bases with one out, but Brooks starter Jacob Layton retired the next two batters to escape the jam.
Cook put another run on the board in the top of the third. Ross Pickle walked to start the inning and stole second. Then he tried to steal third. The throw to third was accurate, but it went off of the third baseman’s glove and into left field. Pickle ran home to give the Hornets a 3-1 lead.
Cook doubled its lead with three runs in the top of the fourth. The Hornets loaded the bases with one out, but the lead runner was tagged out at home after the batter missed the bunt on a suicide squeeze. A walk loaded the bases again. Then Pickle hit a fly ball to left field. The left fielder tried to catch it on the run, but the ball hit off of his glove and rolled towards the fence. All three runners — Parker Bennett, Zane Folsom and Blake Daughtrey — came around to score, giving Cook a 6-1 lead.
The Hornets put the game away with five more runs in the top of the fifth. Braden McLaughlin singled and Connor Hilliard was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Blake Cowart followed with a single to center, which drove in McLaughlin. Hilliard tagged up on Bennett’s fly ball, and raced home to increase Cook’s lead to 8-1. Folsom singled and Daughtrey sacrificed, putting runners on second and third with two outs.
Then Pickle lined a single to right, scoring Cowart and Folsom. The catcher threw to second to try to get Pickle, but the throw went into center field. The center fielder ran up to field the ball, but let it go under his glove. The ball kept rolling, Pickle kept running and he scored to extend his team’s lead to 11-1.
Bennett, Cook’s third pitcher of the game, held Brooks scoreless in the bottom of the fifth, and afterwards the game was called due to the mercy rule.
Moore was the winning pitcher, allowing one run and two hits in three innings. He also drove in the winning run with his second inning home run. Moore, Hilliard and Bennett combined to limit Brooks to just three hits.
“We tried to get some arms out there, and (our three pitchers) threw strikes,” Edwards said. “(Brooks’ hitters) are aggressive at the plate. They put the ball in play.”
Pickle drove in five runs for the Hornets. Cowart and Hilliard both had two hits and scored a run.
Layton, Brooks’ starter, allowed six runs and five hits in four innings, but four of those six runs were unearned.
Cook will host Berrien on Tuesday night.