Wildcats fall back to earth in loss to Trojans


While waiting for the umpires to take the field Friday, Woodland and Carrollton played a game of tic-tac-toe on an old baseball tossed back and forth between the two dugouts.

It was much more competitive than the baseball game that followed.

A battle between the top two teams in the Region 7-AAAAA standings turned into a one-sided blowout early as the Trojans downed the Wildcats, 14-4 in five innings.

Carrollton, who inched closer to a region title, erupted for six runs in the first inning and never looked back to bump Woodland into a third-place tie with Rome and Villa Rica.

In Friday's other action involving the region's top teams, the Wolves fell 2-0 to Kell, which jumped into second place, and Villa Rica edged out East Paulding, 4-2.

"We gave them too many opportunities, I think we walked a few batters," Woodland coach Colby Coursey said. "You can't give a good team runners on base for free. They're top of the region for a reason. ...

"I wish our intensity was a little bit better to start the game. I thought we were flat-footed. I mean, we knew what they were going to do."

Ben Ammons got the start on the mound for the Wildcats (15-12, 8-5), but he lasted just four batters, allowing two walks, two hits and failing to record an out.

Freshman Peyton Posey came on to pitch and did an admirable job. However, by the time Woodland came to bat, Carrollton (22-5, 11-2) had opened up a 6-0 lead.

The Trojans, who would clinch the region championship with a win in Monday's rematch, put together a five-run third inning to take an 11-0 lead. They tacked on their final three runs in the fifth to invoke the run rule.

"We were just flat," Coursey said. "... We might have pressed some. They know we can play with those guys. They know the kind of team we have. Hopefully, Monday, we come out and have a different result."

Woodland had plenty of chances to score in the game, putting multiple runners on base in every inning.

The Wildcats, who saw their five-game win streak snapped, grounded into backbreaking 6-4-3 double plays in each of the first two innings when they had a great chance to cut into the 6-0 lead.

"The double plays really hurt," Coursey said. "We made good contact, put the ball in play. We just didn't find the holes like we had the last couple of games.

"They made some plays, too. Their middle infield is pretty good, pretty quick. Hopefully, Monday, the ball bounces a different way."

After wasting consecutive singles to start the third inning, Woodland finally broke through in the fourth.

The frame opened with two walks and a single to load the bases. Bryce Evans came through with a two-run single up the middle to break up the shutout.

A trio of walks forced home another couple of runs before Carrollton escaped the threat.

Woodland had a chance to extend the game after again getting the first two batters to reach in the fifth. A pair of strikeouts sandwiched around a groundout kept that from happening.

Dylan Foreman, who landed a rare start at first base with Marco Haro out of town, led the offense with a 1-for-1 showing and two walks.

Garett Cornett, Koby Stansel, Jordan Lee and Dylan Webb all finished 1-for-2. Cornett had two walks and the other three each drew one. Chris Mills also walked twice.

With Kenny Jinks set to take the mound Monday, Woodland has a great chance to exact some revenge. But if the Wildcats come up short, the region standings will grow even tighter in the push for the playoffs.

At least Coursey and Co. still control their own destiny.

"We've got to take care of ourselves," Coursey said. "We've got to handle our business. We have to worry about us.

"Last year, we had to count on other teams to help us out. That's what I told them, 'We are still in position. If we handle our business and do what we're supposed to do, there's nothing else that can interfere with us.'"

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