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Hornets swept by Thomasville

Dallas County suffered an early exit from the Class 4A playoffs with losses on both ends of a doubleheader to Thomasville on Friday.

The Tigers notched a 12-2 win in game one by taking advantage of two Hornet errors to build a 7-0 lead after two innings.

Leading 1-0 going into the top of the second, Walt Bedsole and Zac Ross reached on singles. Mallan Sheffield scored Bedsole on a fly ball that was misjudged by Dallas County left fielder Justin McAfee.

John Harrison cleared the bases on another Hornet error, as Justin Moore couldn’t hang on to his fly ball. Harrison reached third and scored Tevin Pope sacrifice groundout to make it 5-0.

“We had two routine fly balls we didn’t make plays on,” said Dallas County coach Ty Riggins. “That was a big inning for them.”

Thomasville coach Clint Anderson was surprised at his players’ hitting prowess on the afternoon.

“We really had some balls fall in for us,” said Anderson. “We had fortunate hits.”

Dallas County pitcher Keith Jones settled down after a shaky second, keeping the Tigers off the scoreboard for the next two innings.

In fact, he did well enough that the Hornets regained a little bit of momentum in the bottom of the fourth. Moore drew a leadoff walk and scored on a Drew Blackmon single. Andrew Green followed with an infield single before Winston Bearden, who ran for Blackmon, stole third.

Then, as quickly as the momentum was regained, the Hornets gave it back. Kevin Simmons attempted a bunt on a “safety squeeze” — in the play, the runner is to remain at the bag until the ball hits the ground. Bearden charged home as Simmons missed on the attempt, then slipped and was tagged out in a rundown.

“The runner on third has to see the ball on the ground before he breaks,” said Riggins. “That hurt us. I felt like the wind went out of our sails after that.”

The Tigers built the lead to 12-1 before the Hornets loaded the bases on walks and a Jones infield single in the bottom of the sixth. Moore scored on a walk, but a Blaine Whitaker strikeout extinguished the threat.

Game two got off to a better start, but the result wasn’t much better. The Hornets jumped to a 1-0 lead on a McAfee double that scored Moore in the first inning. But, the bats quickly went silent and Dallas County ace Dylan Shelby had one his worst performances of the season. The senior scattered hits, but walked 10 batters as the Hornets fell 11-1.