By Kevin Price
For GCS Athletics
The City Championship will be hanging in the balance Friday night when Brunswick High and Glynn Academy meet in the third game of their Region 2-AAAAAA baseball series at Adam Wainwright Field.
The Pirates won the middle game of the series 1-0 Wednesday evening at Bud Couch Field on the BHS campus to even up the series at one game apiece after losing 12-1 to the rival Red Terrors Monday at Wainwright Field in the opening game of the three-game set.
Game 2 turned out to be one heckuva pitching duel between Brunswick senior left-hander Isaiah Wellman and Glynn senior lefty Blake Wood.
The Pirates (9-6 overall, 4-4 region) scored the game’s only run on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first, and that run held up as Wellman blanked the Terrors (10-5, 6-2) while throwing a complete game for the victory.
The lanky lefty for the Pirates, who wears custom-made gold cleats when he pitches, gave up just three hits while going the distance for Brunswick. Wellman, who is now 4-1 on the season, struck out five and walked two over the seven frames.
His counterpart on the mound was pretty impressive, too. Wood threw six scoreless innings for Glynn after the Pirates scored in their first at-bat. He finished giving up only four hits while striking out five and walking one. Wood’s mound record fell to 3-3 on the season as he had to absorb the tough loss.
The lone run in the game came home on a sac fly to left field off the bat of senior designated hitter Dalton Tindall for the Pirates. The flyball out was the second of the inning, but Riley Morgan scored from third when he tagged and raced toward the plate while sliding head first into home ahead of the throw from the outfield.
Morgan, who bats left-handed and was hitting second for the Pirates, reached when he was hit by a one-two pitch from Wood. He went to second when DeVontae Gadson singled into left and advanced to third when Caden Hutchinson followed with a line-drive single into left to load the bases with only one out.
Gadson and Hutchinson stayed put at second and first when Morgan raced home on the flyball-out by Tindall. Gadson then got picked off in a rundown between second and third to end the inning.
Going back to the mound with that 1-0 lead in the second, Wellman faced four batters in the inning which ended with the Pirates cutting down a Glynn runner at second base when he tried to tag and advance to second on a flyout to right field while the GA lead runner tagged and reached third on the play.
BHS junior shortstop Kyle Lodise cut off a strong throw back into the infield from Chamberlin Dent and quickly threw to second where Gadson tagged out the GA runner for the third out to end the inning.
Wellman faced only three batters in the third inning as the Terrors hurt themselves with base-running blunders. Wood, who was a perfect 3-for-3 in the opening game on Monday, walked to lead off the inning. However, he was picked off at first as it appeared Glynn was set to bunt him over to second. Wellman caught him leaning toward second when he threw over to first for the pick.
Gus Gandy followed with a one-out single to left, but Gadson caught a liner to second off the bat of Tyler Devlin who was Glynn’s next batter and threw to first to double up Gandy who forgot to freeze on the line-drive.
Wellman worked a perfect fourth and fifth for the Pirates. He retired his eighth consecutive batter when he got the first hitter he faced in the top of the sixth. After then allowing a single to Gandy, who had two of Glynn’s three hits, Wellman retired the next two batters to close the inning.
Wood, who had retired seven in a row going into the fifth, worked out of trouble in both the fifth and sixth innings to get the Terrors to the seventh still down by only a run.
Wellman reached on an infield-error to open the fifth and went to second on a passed ball with the Pirates hoping to bunt him to second. Instead, they bunted him over to third when Dent got down a sacrifice for the first out.
The GA pitcher then induced a flyball-out and a line-out to right to get out of the inning unscathed.
In the sixth, the Pirates got their first two batters aboard when Gadson reached on an infield error and Hutchinson laced another liner into left for his second hit in three trips. But Wood bowed his neck and proceeded to record three straight strikeouts to get out of the jam.
Wellman, though, was just too good. He finished off the Terrors with a one-two-three seventh to complete his gem of a game on the mound.
With the perfect finish, the BHS hurler closed the game retiring 13 of the final 14 batters he faced.
The only other hit by Glynn in addition to the two by freshman shortstop Gandy was a single by Hank Noonan in the second.
For the Pirates, the only other hit they managed off Wood other than the ones noted above was a double by Dent with two outs in the bottom half of the second.
The expected pitchers in Game 3 are Dent for the Pirates and Tom Echols for the Terrors.
Dent, a junior right-hander, is 1-0 in three starts for Brunswick. He threw a complete-game shutout at Richmond Hill in the third game of the opening region series for the Pirates who won that deciding game 6-0 to win the series with back-to-back victories. He came away with a no-decision when the Pirates lost 9-8 last Friday at Statesboro after taking a four-run lead into the bottom of the seventh, only to see the home squad post a five-spot in its last at-bat to steal the victory.
Echols is currently 3-1 for the Terrors. He won his start last week in the second game of Glynn’s series against Richmond Hill which the Terrors won 5-4 on the road.
Echols, also a junior right-hander, got the win in relief in Glynn’s 16-9 victory at South Effingham in its first league series which the Terrors swept. They trailed that game 9-3 when they came to bat in the top of the seventh and rallied for 13 runs against the Mustangs to pull out the improbable win.
The Pirates swept Glynn in the three-game crosstown showdown between the teams back in 2019. The teams did not play last spring as the high-school spring sports season was shut down in mid-March by the Covid-19 pandemic before region play began for the Terrors and Pirates.
Friday’s deciding game is set for 6 p.m.