Male High School pitcher Noah Thompson was the benefactor of a 10-hit Bulldog attack in Thursday’s 9-0 home victory over archrival Manual. Tristen Garcia and Andrew Dodd, Male’s first two batters in the lineup, led the Bulldogs with two hits each. Garcia scored twice and drove in another run, while Dodd, a senior limited to a designated hitter role because of a torn labrum, drove in three.
The Bulldogs (6-2), winners of six straight games, blew the game open in the bottom half of the second. The first 10 batters reached safely, allowing Male to take a 7-0 lead.
Hogan Brownley delivered the key hit, a two-run single to right with the bases loaded that put the Bulldogs on the board. He advanced to third on the play after a fielding error allowed Connor Knoop to score all the way from first, giving Male a 3-0 lead.
Manual coach Matt Timbario said Brownley’s hit was particularly painful because it came on an 0-2 count. Crimsons starter Aaron Sary, a junior in his first year of pitching for Manual (5-5), got the groundball his coach wanted from Brownley.
However, the ball found its way through the infield, turning a possible force out into a game changer.
“A play like that in rivalry games like this, it came back to bite us,” Timbario said.
Brownley scored when the next batter, Philip Jewell, singled to left field. The junior’s base hit was one of six singles the Bulldogs had in the second. They also took advantage of three walks and a hit batter in the inning.
That outburst provided more than enough of a cushion for Thompson, the Bulldogs senior starter
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The Lipscomb University commit dominated through the first five innings. He allowed just a hit and a walk as he faced just one batter over the minimum 15 during his time on the mound. His last inning might have been his best, as he needed just four pitches to retire the Crimsons in order in the top of the fifth.
“As long as I throw strikes, I’m not scared to give up a run or two because I know my team will have me,” Thompson said. “They put up enough runs, so I was pretty comfortable out there. Especially since they put up an early lead for me.”
His teammates tried to give him a complete game, but the effort fell just short. With one out in the Male fifth, Chyran Cruise singled to left. He went to third on Tristen Garcia’s double to right center. Dodd followed with a two-run single to right, putting the Bulldogs within a run of the mercy rule.
Dodd said that his shoulder issue is keeping him from taking things for granted his senior year.
“I’m just lucky to be able to hit still,” he said.
Thompson flew out to deep right, and Campbell followed with a double off the left-field wall. Dodd, who was running on contact, rounded third but was thrown out at the plate to keep the game going.
Travis Simpson finished the game for the Bulldogs, allowing just one hit in the final two frames. He also struck out two, including Jake Ringstaff to end the game.
Male started out the season 0-2, including a 20-12 season-opening loss at Scott County, where Jeff Garrity’s Bulldogs gave up the last eight runs. However, the Bulldogs finally started putting the pieces together 10 days ago at Oldham County, when Thompson threw a complete game in the 5-1 win.
“Our pitching’s been great, our defense has been great,” Garrity said about the current winning streak. “Our hitters, different people have stepped up at different times. It’s been neat watching us get the job done.”
Both teams will spend next week out of town on spring break. The Bulldogs travel to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for the Cal Ripken Experience, where they will face Lawrence County, Russell and Boyd County as well as two Virginia teams. Manual goes to Panama City Beach, Florida. Besides a couple of Florida schools, the Crimsons also are scheduled to play Wayne County, South Warren and Clinton County.
MANUAL 000 000 0 – 0 2 2
MALE 070 020 X – 9 10 1
W: Noah Thompson. L: Aaron Sary 2B: Tristen Garcia (Male), Trevor Campbell (Male).