The Woodland Wildcats baseball team seems to be determined to push the race for the final state-tournament spot in Region 7-AAAAA all the way to the wire, beating Hiram 8-0 Wednesday behind a five-hit shutout from Grayson Bagwell.
The win means that the Wildcats and Villa Rica will go down to the last day of the season to determine which team will take the No. 4 seed and continue its season.
Woodland almost got more good news Wednesday as Villa Rica trailed Paulding County through the middle innings of their matchup, but Villa Rica pulled out a 6-5 win with a late-inning rally.
That leaves Woodland a game behind with one game to go, but the Wildcats hold the tiebreaker after sweeping Villa Rica earlier in the season. That means a Woodland loss or a Villa Rica win would hand the spot to Villa Rica, while Woodland has to both win and hope the rival Wildcat team loses.
Bagwell put Woodland in a position to even have that hope Wednesday, as he cruised through Hiram for a complete-game win, giving up just five hits and one walk and striking out eight.
The offense was led by Hunter Reaid, who had a two-run home run among his three hits.
It took the Wildcats a while to build their big lead, but they struck first just four batters into the game.
Garrett Cornett singled, Jacob Frye walked, Reaid singled and Cauy Williams got Woodland on the board with a sac fly.
The Wildcats added two more in the third, with Reaid keying the rally again. He singled with one out, and an error on Williams’ grounder allowed Reaid’s courtesy runner Brycen Kellett to score.
A sac fly by Noah Ludy brought Williams home, making it 3-0.
That was more than Bagwell would need, but the game stayed close until the sixth, when Woodland added three more.
With runners on first and second and two outs, Emmanuel Jones came through with a two-run double and scored a batter later on Jordan Lee’s single.
That essentially clinched the game, but Reaid smashed a dinger to left after Frye’s leadoff single in the seventh to provide the final margin.
Bagwell saved his best for last, striking out the side in the bottom of the seventh to put the final touches on the crucial victory.
Jones and Reaid each drove in two for Woodland.
The last playoff spot will come down to Friday’s simultaneous games, as Woodland hosts Hiram and Villa Rica travels to Paulding County at 5:55 p.m. Both Hiram and Paulding are 2-13 in the region.
Both of those games will start at 5:55 p.m.