The junior varsity Gilmer High School Bobcats finished the regular season 11-3 and laid claim to the second seed in the Mountain League championship tournament.
However, losses to the seventh-seeded Fannin Rebels (5-2) and fifth-seeded Lumpkin Indians (5-4) in the tournament at Gilmer High School last Friday and Saturday kept the Bobcats from ending the season with a repeat championship.
In the nightcap of the tournament Friday, the Rebels and Bobcats entered the sixth inning with Fannin ahead 3-2. With two outs and one runner on, a Bryson Pack single extended the Rebels lead to 5-2. A pair of errors followed, with the second bringing Pack home to score. A flyout kept Fannin from further adding to its lead.
The Bobcats were unable to respond in the bottom portion of the frame, giving Fannin the victory.
In the third-place game against Lumpkin County, the Indians drew first blood in the top of the fourth. Jace Seabolt drew a leadoff walk, while Jordan Philips reached base on an error. Both later scored with two outs after a Will Higgins single that put Lumpkin out front, 2-0. Kyle Grunz added to the lead in the next at-bat by singling to bring Higgins home. Gilmer reliever Taylor Nolan then garnered a 1-5 double play to end the frame.
Gilmer cut into the Lumpkin lead in the bottom portion of the inning. Hunter Bowyer doubled to begin things, with Brandon Weaver following with a single. Evan Frady then flew out to score Bowyer, before Weaver later scored with two outs on an RBI infield single from Sam Nicholson. A groundout then kept the Bobcats from tying the game.
With GHS now breathing down their neck, the Indians wasted little time in adding some insurance in the top of the fifth. Holden Bass reached on an infield single to begin the frame. Later with one out, an error allowed him to widen the margin to 4-2. Bobcat reliever Eric Turner then produced a flyout and a strikeout to keep the deficit at two runs.
Turner doubled to begin the Bobcats fifth and later scored on an error during a bunt attempt by David Smith. Gilmer was unable to get another run across the plate, leaving Lumpkin out front, 4-3.
Jacob Martin was hit by a pitch to begin the sixth and later scored with two outs on an RBI single from Austin Lane. Turner induced a groundout to hold the Indians to a 5-3 lead.
Tyler Woody reached on an error to start the Bobcats portion of the sixth and later scored with two outs on a passed ball. A strikeout again prevented Gilmer from tying the game.
Both the Indians and Bobcats got runners on in the seventh, but were unable to generate runs from the opportunities. The end result was a 5-4 Lumpkin victory.
Speaking on the tournament and the season as a whole, Gilmer JV coach Eric Tedders said, “Most of the runs we gave up were unearned, again. We had a lot of mental breakdowns on fielding and throwing. When we’re on, we’re a really good team. When we’re not, we’re not. I think overall, we’re the most talented team, but we had the most lapses in this tournament. Overall, we’re disappointed with the finish. We expected to do a lot better at the end. We’re very proud of the players, which have made great strides. I think we’re moving forward with a lot of positive things to take from this season, as far as growth. We can recognize mistakes and work on them as we move into the summer.”
The JV Gilmer Bobcats finished the season with an overall record of 11-5.
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