Tigers knock off Elysian Fields to even region semifinal series
BULLARD — Colton Jolly didn’t want his high school career to end. Cade Dodson was thrown into the fire for the biggest moment of his freshman season.
The duo combined for some big moments in the latter stages of an elimination game — Jolly at the plate and Dodson on the mound — as the Tigers roared back to beat Elysian Fields, 7-3, to even up a Class 3A Region II semifinal series at Brook Hill School.
Gunter (33-8) will look to finish off the comeback in Game 3 at 6 p.m. on Saturday at Community while Elysian Fields (25-9) will also be looking to advance to the region final with a win.
“I’ve got to give credit to these kids,” Gunter head coach Daryl Hellman said. “Either you battle hard through adversity or you let it get to you.”
Jolly had a pair of at-bats that could have been his final ones in a Tigers uniform and he tripled in both, the latter driving in two to give Gunter the lead for good during a four-run sixth inning.
“He’s streaky,” Hellman said. “He can hit for power and that’s what you can get when there’s contact.”
Before getting the final two outs in the series opener, Dodson hadn’t pitched in two-and-a half months and made just a pair of appearances totaling five innings.
But he got the call with Gunter’s season on the line when he came on in relief of Cooper Wade, facing the bases loaded and the Tigers down by two runs. Dodson closed the game with three and a third scoreless innings and the only Yellowjacket to reach base against him was erased on a double play to end the fifth inning.
“He’s a competitor and he’s talented and I trust him,” Hellman said. “Sometimes freshmen can’t handle the big stage. He’s not one of them.”
Trey Oblas added a home run, walked twice and scored twice and Carter Layton was 2-for-3 and drove in a run for Gunter.
Jace Greenslate was 2-for-3 with a walk and Logan Presley was 2-for-4 and drove in a run for Elysian Fields.
The two-out rally in the top of the sixth was the difference as Gunter took a 6-3 advantage after it went into the inning down a run.
Jolly’s two-run triple to left center was almost caught but instead put the Tigers up 5-3. In consecutive at-bats the senior right fielder was about two feet from a pair of long outs. Instead he had two triples, a pair of RBI and scored each time.
Layton followed with an RBI single to left for the three-run margin.
Nash Daniel tied the game at three with an RBI single. He fell behind 0-2, swinging at curve balls, and then got a fastball he sent to right for a hit.
Oblas had walked with one out and went to second on a wild pitch. Landon Pelfrey reached on an infield single to third with two outs to keep the frame going for Daniel.
Pelfrey closed out the scoring with a safety squeeze in the seventh to tack on the final run. Dodson singled and Oblas walked to force a pitching change. Wade sacrificed them over and Pelfrey pushed a bunt to the right side for some insurance.
The Tigers pulled within a run in the fifth when Jolly tripled to lead off the inning. Kip Lewis nearly made a great diving catch in right center. After a pop-out, Jolly race home on a wild pitch to make it a 3-2 contest.
Oblas gave Gunter a 1-0 lead when he pulled a 2-0 offering over the right-field fence to lead off the top of the fourth.
Elysian Fields scored all its runs after it loaded the bases in the fourth and Gunter nearly got out of the inning with the game only tied. Jackson Illingworth and Greenslate singled before Landon Swank’s chopper to short resulted in a hit.
J.D. Ballard was hit by a pitch to force in a run and tie the game.
Campbell White grounded back to Wade and into a double play before Lewis hit a ball to the left side of the mound. Wade’s throw to first was high, forcing Oblas to leap off the bag to make the catch.
Swank scored on the error, the inning continued and Presley had an RBI single to left.
After Noah Grubbs was hit by a pitch to reload the bases, Dodson came on and got Ryan Wilkerson, who took the loss, to ground out to second on the first pitch to keep the deficit at two runs.
Elysian Fields almost loaded the bases in the third. After two quick outs, Presley and Grubbs singled to left. Wilkerson grounded to third and the throw pulled Oblas off the bag at first but he made a no-look swipe behind his back for the final out instead of the Yellowjackets having a bigger inning.
Class 3A Region II
at Brook Hill School
Elysian Fields 3
Note: Series tied 1-1