Oakland was leading Smyrna 6-0 after four innings and was headed toward what appeared to be a victory, but the Bulldogs started taking pitches, and it paid off.
The Bulldogs drew eight walks in the final three innings and scored seven runs in the seventh inning to defeat the Patriots 11-7, sweeping the two-game series.
The tying and go-ahead runs were walked in with the bases loaded in the seventh, when the Bulldogs loaded the bases with no outs and JD Robertson and Camron Roberts each drew walks.
Camron Harper and Beau Brewer singled in three more runs to clear the bases and give the Bulldogs insurance runs. Smyrna sent 12 batters to the plate in the seventh, and five of them drew walks. Oakland changed pitchers four times in the seventh.
Brewer had three hits for Smyrna, which had seven hits overall. Brewer doubled in the fourth, but was left stranded. He tripled home Harper in the seventh to start Smyrna’s come-from-behind rally, and had the RBI single when he came back to bat later in the seventh.
“I was really just trying to get something going for us,” said Brewer. “So we could pick it up and score some runs and get a big victory, which we just did.”
In addition to the walks in the seventh, Smyrna benefited from walks in the fifth and sixth innings. The Bulldogs scored two runs each inning to cut into Oakland’s lead. In both the fifth and sixth, walked batters loaded the bases for Smyrna with no outs. Roberts drew a walk with the bases loaded to walk in a run in the fifth, then Smyrna scored on a groundout.
The Bulldogs’ first two batters drew walks in the sixth, then the bases were loaded when Oakland right fielder Penn Moore uncharacteristically dropped a fly ball. The Bulldogs scored on a double-play groundout, and a wild pitch allowed Nathan Sanders to score.
“We try to battle,” said Smyrna coach Barry Vetter. “We got a couple of gifts, we got a couple of walks, and we came up with a couple of big hits at the right time. It was a tale of two parts of the game. The first part of the game, innings one through four, we couldn’t get a clutch hit, we left some runners on. In innings five, six and seven, we were able to get some runners on and come up with some clutch hits. Oakland’s a great ballclub. We showed up in the last few innings and got it done.”
Oakland took a 6-0 lead by scoring three in the bottom of the second and three in the bottom of the fourth. The Patriots pounded out 12 hits. Rhett Stacey, Demery Freeman and Sebastian Lynn each doubled for Oakland in the second. Freeman doubled in the fourth and Grant Hawkins and Peyton Matroni each had RBI singles.
“We just didn’t finish the game,” said Oakland coach Mack Hawks. “A lot of freebies. I give them credit, though. They got down, they came back.”
Smyrna 11, Oakland 7
Smyrna 000 022 7 – 11 7 2
Oakland 030 310 0 – 7 12 4
Boyd, Frasier (5), Padgett (7) and Noe. Gilbert, Givens (5), Hawks (7), Cairo (7), Hawkins (7) and Lynn. WP – Padgett. LP – Hawks.