SUMRALL – Two-out production was the key for the Sumrall Bobcats in their 10-0 win over the Franklin County Bulldogs in Game 1 of a best-of-3 series in the second round of the Class 3A South State playoffs.
The Bobcats (20-7) scored eight of their runs with one out remaining in a given frame.
“We put all the phases together,” Sumrall coach Larry Knight said, “but the pitching and the offense were especially strong. I am very, very happy. You can’t ask for any more.
“I told the guys tonight before we played, our tradition here is stepping up and playing well at this time. We were able to do that tonight.”
Game 2 is at 7 p..m. Friday in Meadville with Game 3, if necessary, at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Sumrall.
The steady hurling of senior right-hander Nick Clark, who faced two batters over the minimum and struck out seven while surrendering one hit in five innings of work, held the Bulldogs (17-9) at bay.
“We’re very proud of Nick,” Knight said. “He’s done a really good job for us all year … Tonight may have been one of the better outings he’s had.”
Clark was doubly effective, going 3-for-3 with three RBIs.
Sophomore left fielder Logan McGrew was another star on offense, going 3-for-3 with four RBIs and three runs scored.
“I was seeing the ball,” McGrew said. “I was extra determined tonight and more focused than usual.”
The Bobcats struck early, scoring two runs in the first inning thanks to back-to-back, two-out RBI singles by McGrew and Clark.
Sumrall followed with five more runs on a two-out rally in the second inning. That run was highlighted by a two-RBI single by McGrew and an RBI single by Clark.
Franklin County also walked in a run and allowed another run to score on a fielding error in the second inning.
The Bobcats secured the game with three runs in the bottom of the fourth, an inning Sumrall opened with four consecutive hits, and a three-up-three-down top of the fifth to end the game on the mercy rule.
“It was big to be able to start off on a good note and keep the team in good spirits,” McGrew said. “We didn’t finish the regular season as strong as we wanted so it’s nice to start off like this.”
McGrew and Clark weren’t the only standouts for a Bobcat squad that netted 12 hits on the night.
Sumrall junior Alex Knight went 1-for-2 with a double, an RBI and two runs scored while senior third baseman Brady Hicks went 2-for-2 with a double and a run scored.
Franklin County’s lone hit came off the bat of junior catcher Graham Cowart in the third inning. Hoby Mullins took the loss for the Bulldogs, working three innings and striking out one.