'Dogs hustle into 2nd round

THOMSON 10-14, WORTH CO. 0-3

THOMSON --- There was no need to worry about laboring around the bases this time -- Abe Cartledge could trot.


Cartledge not only dominated on the mound like Phillip Anderson, he hit an unlikely triple and added a home run as he helped the Thomson offense erupt in the Bulldogs' sweep of Worth County, 10-0 (five innings) and 14-3, at home Friday in the first round of the Class AAA state tournament.

With the wins, Thomson advanced to the second round, which begins on Wednesday.

"I thought he had something tied to him," said Thomson coach Jason Osborn, joking about Cartledge hustling to third on the triple.

Of 24 runs in the double header, the Bulldogs (24-2) scored eight of those with two outs in the opening game, which Cartledge started on the mound.

Will Tankersley got the scoring started in the bottom of the second in that first game when he reached on a bunt single and eventually stole home with two outs.

Thomson center fielder Dontavis "Juicy" Brown led a two-out rally in the third with a single to left, and after Jesse Usry got hit by a pitch, Thomson had three consecutive run-scoring hits.

Anderson drove in a run on his single over the third baseman's head and Tankersley brought home another on his hit that the left fielder saw go under his glove and travel near the fence for an error.

Cartledge continued to toss scoreless frames.

The pitcher stuck out nine in only five innings of work, with five going down looking. Also, after Brandon Weaver singled off Cartledge in the top of the first -- the hit put two runners on -- the pitcher allowed only one more hit.

"I was just mixing up my pitches," Cartledge said.

Nick Rau then broke open the game with his two-run blast to center as Thomson led 6-0 after three, and Anderson later capped a four-run fourth with a two-out, two-run home run.

Thomson didn't take long to score in the second game, when Brown scored from third in the first inning despite Worth County getting Tankersley caught in a pickle. But one of the fielders dropped the ball as Tankersley reached second.

After Rau walked, Cartledge hit one to right as he went with an open stance, and the 6-foot-1 pitcher -- called "Big Papi" by fans -- hustled to get to third, a destination he said he knew he would reach as he rounded second.

Later, the Bulldogs went ahead 10-0 as Rau doubled home a run in the fifth, and six more came home in the sixth.

Usry hit a sacrifice fly for an RBI, Anderson added an RBI single and a run scored on a wild pitch in the sixth inning, but Cartledge again had the biggest hit, this time with a three-RBI double.

Anderson took the mound in the second game and did almost as well as Cartledge. He stuck out seven in six innings before turning the game to Rau in the seventh.

The pitcher and his defense got out of jams early in the game, as two Rams reached in three consecutive innings starting in the second. But Anderson got two pop-up outs in foul ground and also got a big double play ball started by Cody Corbitt.

Though a walk, two hits and an error in the sixth allowed Worth County to finally score in the doubleheader, Thomson's bats weren't done.

Now up 10-3 in the seventh, Rau came through again with an RBI single before Cartledge crushed a three-run home run.

Cartledge didn't have to worry about hurrying to third base this time, as he jogged around the bases on his way to eight RBI and went down the third base line with a smile as Thomson breezed through the first round.

"The big key is having a couple days to rest your guys," Osborn said about avoiding a third game. "That's why it's important."

Photo Gallery

See dozens of game photos by staff photographer Michael Holahan.


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