Wallace's legs, arm keep Bulldogs alive
After suffering an opening round 12-1 loss to Peabody in the District 14-A Baseball Tournament, the Gleason Bull-dogs survived to play again thanks to Zach Wallace's performance on the mound and on the base paths.
In a must-win game Saturday night at Union City, the junior pitched Gleason to a 4-0 win over the Bradford Red Devils.
Wallace worked out of a first inning jam against Bradford. A two-out double by Clint Hampton was followed by a walk and a hit batter to load the bases. With a full count and two outs, Hampton broke early from third. Wallace stepped off the rubber and started a rundown. Eventually the pitcher made the tag at the plate for the third out to keep the game scoreless.
The Bulldogs finally took the lead in the home half of the third inning. Catcher Matt Mayo, who has been on a tear of late, ripped a triple to right center field. Nicky Spain reached on a dropped third strike and both scored on Cody Ezell's single for a 2-0 Gleason lead. A wild pitch and a passed ball put Ezell in scoring position. The speedy Dawg scored on Matt James' single for a 3-0 cushion.
Now working with a lead, Wallace struck out four of the next six batters he faced. He finished with 11 strikeouts.
Wallace provided his own insurance run in the top of the sixth. He legged out an infield single to third to open the at-bat and moved to second on a passed ball. On a delayed steal, Wallace took third base. The move took the Devil catcher by surprise resulting in a poor throw which allowed Wallace to race home for a 4-0 Bulldog advantage which he maintained over the final two Devil at-bats.
Things weren't so rosy for the Dawgs after their first playoff game Thursday in Gleason.
Peabody pitcher Trapper Stewart recorded 15 strikeouts and the Tide defense allowed only one run to defeat the Gleason Bulldogs 12-1 in District 14-1A tournament action.
Peabody, the West division's third seed, took the early 1-0 lead in the first inning on a sac fly, but the Dawgs, the No. 2 seed in the East, came back to tie the game in the bottom of the third. Alex Verdell walked and Nicky Spain singled to advance Verdell to second. Cody Ezell singled, but Spain was thrown out at second. Verdell came home on a wild pickoff attempt and the score was tied 1-1.
In the fifth inning, the Tide ran through its lineup and put six more runs on the board including four runs on a grand slam to take a 7-1 lead after five.
Peabody added another run in the sixth to increase the advantage to 8-1. Stewart recorded three straight strikeouts to end the inning and the Tide tacked on another four runs in the seventh to take the 12-1 win.
The loss dropped Gleason into the losers bracket of the district tournament, one loss away from elimination.
Good job — Gleason starting pitcher Zach Wallace (facing) gets congratulations from teammate Ben Sumner as he leaves the field at the conclusion of the Bulldogs' 4-0 victory over Bradford's Red Devils on Saturday night.