The Valdosta Daily Times
Cook’s baseball team scored 10 runs in the final four innings, and pulled away for an 11-3 victory over Valdosta on Tuesday at Bruce Long Field.
The Hornets improved to 10-5 with the win.
“I’m proud of the kids tonight, that’s for sure,” Cook head coach Cleve Edwards said. “We had some good at-bats late in the ballgame.”
Cook took the lead with five runs in the bottom of the fourth, then added a run in the fifth and four more in the sixth.
The Hornets came to bat in the bottom of the fourth trailing 3-1, after Valdosta scored two runs in the top half of the inning. The first hitter grounded out, but then Stanton Moore and Brayden McLaughlin hit back-to-back singles. Moore went to third on McLaughlin’s hit, then McLaughlin stole second. Then Sam Goberdhan hit a ground ball to second. Valdosta second baseman Logan Stephens fired home, but Moore beat the throw to the plate. McLaughlin went to third on the play, then scored on Blake Cowart’s bunt single, tying the score at 3-3. After Valdosta changed pitchers, Edwards called for a squeeze. Parker Bennett got the bunt down, and courtesy runner Stacy Sailor scored, giving the Hornets a 4-3 lead. Later in the inning, Cowart scored on an error and Bennett raced home on a wild pitch, making the score 6-3.
With one out in the bottom of the fifth, McLaughlin doubled to left. The Hornets’ left fielder moved to third on a wild pitch, then came home when Cowart grounded to first, giving Cook a 7-3 lead.
Cook tacked on four insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth. Bennett led off with a single and moved to third on two wild pitches. Zane Folsom walked, then Blake Daughtrey laid down a bunt and was safe when the throw to first was dropped. Bennett scored. Ross Pickle walked to load the bases, then Maysoe Wiley also drew a base on balls, and Folsom scored, giving the Hornets a 9-3 lead. Then Daughtrey ran home on a wild pitch. After a strikeout, McLaughlin grounded to second, but Pickle scored the Hornets’ final run of the game, extending their lead to 11-3.
The 11 runs were more than enough for Goberdhan. The Cook left-hander allowed three runs and four hits in six innings, and struck out five batters.
“Sam is the definition of that crafty lefty,” Edwards said. “He throws (to his) locations well. I think every start this year, he’s given us an opportunity to win a ballgame. That’s all you can ask for out of Sam.”
Valdosta took the early lead with a run in the top of the first. Drew Morrison led off the game with a single to left, moved up when Bradley Felkel was hit by a pitch and advanced to third when Daniel Tefft grounded into a fielder’s choice. David Posas grounded into a fielder’s choice, but Morrison scored, giving the Wildcats a 1-0 lead.
Cook answered with a run in the bottom of the first. Folsom started the inning with a walk, Daughtrey bunted for a single and Pickle bunted the runners over to second and third. Moore’s single brought Folsom home and tied the score at 1-1.
Valdosta regained the lead in the top of the fourth. Stephens reached on an infield single to start the inning and was bunted to second by Seth Shuman. Zach Newham was hit by a pitch, putting runners on first and second with no outs. Then Morrison grounded back to Goberdhan, who held Stephens at third, then threw to first for the out. Newham rounded second and started towards third, but retreated to second when he saw Stephens go back to third. Pickle, Cook’s catcher, had the ball and he fired to second to try to get Newham, but his throw was off the mark. When he released the ball, Stephens took off for home, and scored to give the Wildcats a 3-1 lead.
But then Cook scored 10 unanswered runs in the next three innings, and pulled away for the win.
McLaughlin, Moore and Bennett all had two hits and an RBI for Cook. Cowart drove in a pair of runs. Folsom, McLaughlin and Bennett scored two runs each.
Corey Jaramillo was 2 for 4 for Valdosta.
On Friday, Valdosta will travel to Camden County for a region doubleheader, while Cook plays a region game at Brooks County in Quitman.