ALPINE—Winterboro took a step toward accomplishing one of their season goals on Friday afternoon. The Bulldogs defeated Class 1A, Area 7 foe Wadley 9-5 to win the series and clinch a playoff berth. Winterboro is in a three-team area with Wadley and Woodland. The top two teams in the area will make the postseason. Winterboro will have a chance to clinch the area title when they take on Woodland in April.
“It is one step closer to the playoffs, which is a goal of ours,” Winterboro head coach Alex Johnson said. “When I first got here, one of the parents said they would love to sniff the playoffs. So that has been our goal. We are not satisfied with just making it, but we want to make a run if we can.”
Senior catcher Brody Hamm has led the Bulldogs to the postseason in three sports this season: football, basketball, and baseball. Hamm was vital to the win against Wadley as he went 2-for-3 at the plate with a double, two RBIs, and two runs.
“We came out, and we knew what was at stake,” Hamm said. “We knew if we came out and played hard in the first game that we would have a spot in the playoffs. We came out, and we won, so that we would have to play (the if-necessary game). We didn’t want to give them any momentum. We knew that they were going to come in and put the ball in play which they didn’t, but our defense stepped up. We made plays. Hunter (Wills) pitched great, and Mason (Peoples) closed it out for us. It was a great team win.”
The Bulldogs pitchers kept the Wadley batters off-balanced for the second time this season. Winterboro hurlers Hunter Wills and Mason Peoples earned a win in Wadley earlier in the month, and the two delivered again on Friday.
Wills and Peoples combined allowed six hits and two earned runs in seven innings of action on Friday.
Wills earned the win for the Bulldogs off the mound as he struck out seven batters while allowing three hits and one earned run in four innings. Peoples came in a relief role and allowed three hits and one earned run.
“He (Hunter Wills) did really well against them last time so decided to throw him again,” Johnson said. We threw the same two as we did last time. We figured that they had trouble with them the last time. Hopefully, they will have a problem with them again. (Wills) wasted a lot of pitches early, then found his groove towards the end. Mason Peoples came in and got it done for three innings, and we got it done for us.”
Run support for the pitchers wasn’t a problem for the Bulldogs. They scored eight runs in the first four innings.
Winterboro recorded 10 hits and 14 stolen bases against Wadley on Friday.
Troy McKinney led the way for Winterboro as he went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
Wills also got it done at the plate as he recorded two hits and an RBI. Braden Waites, Brody Edwards, and Caden Hickman recorded a hit apiece for Winterboro.
Kaden Reed went hitless on Friday, but he recorded two RBIs.
“We hit the ball pretty good today,” Johnson said. “We were able to move the runners over, and I think we have a done a good job of that this year. That is something that our kids can hang their hats on. Do we get in trouble sometimes? Yes, but that is what happens when you are trying to be aggressive. That’s what I like to do when we are on base; I want to be as aggressive as I can. We are getting one base and trying to score some runs.’”