The Diamond Dogs played their first home game of the young baseball season on Wednesday afternoon. Georgia hosted Presbyterian, a school primarily famous for producing the football team Frank Howard finally got tired of beating all the time, and the Red and Black fiddled around for six stanzas before taking command and winning 11-3.
After the Blue Hose were retired on a trio of groundouts in the top of the first frame, the home team took an early lead in the bottom of the inning. Peter Verdin notched a one-out single and moved into scoring position on a Colby May groundout, allowing Zach Taylor to bring him home with a double. An error enabled Zach Cone to reach second base and the Georgia designated hitter to score before Christian Glisson parked a base hit in right field to make it 3-0 for the Red and Black.
Once Aaron Preston watched a called third strike with two men out and two men on in the top of the second stanza, Johnathan Taylor was caught stealing after recording a two-out single in the home half of the canto. Malcolm Clapsaddle took over on the mound at the start of the third inning and did not have an enjoyable outing on the hill.
Gabe Grammer got the inning underway with a single and Nate Chong followed that up with an RBI double. Mack Hite sacrificed the Blue Stocking outfielder over to third and Kenny Bryant walked to put runners at the corners. Tony Micklon’s sacrifice fly plated another run and Nate Horton’s ensuing single put the tying run in scoring position, but Ryan Morris went down swinging to preserve the Bulldogs’ 3-2 lead.
There began a lengthy scoreless stretch in which neither team could get anything going. The Classic City Canines produced one baserunner with two outs away in the bottom of the third canto; the fourth frame saw Presbyterian strand a baserunner at third after a leadoff single and a pair of wild pitches while Georgia generated another fruitless two-out base hit; the fifth inning saw one walk and no hits.
The Blue Hose went three up and three down in the top of the sixth stanza before Glisson was plunked with two outs away in the home half of the inning. A Kyle Farmer double sent the Red and Black catcher to third, but Kevin Ruiz grounded out to leave him there. The visitors tied the contest in the top of the seventh frame when Grammer notched a leadoff double off of Steve Esmonde, Chong sacrificed the Presbyterian shortstop over to third, and Hite plated him with an RBI groundout.
The Diamond Dogs finally awakened in the bottom of the seventh inning. Following back-to-back singles to open the proceedings, Verdin hit into a fielder’s choice and two runs scored on a Presbyterian error. May doubled to bring Verdin home, Brett DeLoach doubled to bring May home, and the first out was recorded before Glisson doubled to bring DeLoach home.
Additional doubles by Farmer and Todd Hankins plated another pair of runs, then a single allowed yet another Bulldog to cross home plate before Verdin, batting for the second time in the frame, popped up to conclude an eight-run turn at the plate.
That was the ballgame. The only baserunner for either team in the eighth canto reached on an error and Alex McRee followed up a leadoff walk in the top of the ninth stanza by retiring the next three batters to wrap up an 11-3 triumph in the Classic City Canines’ 2010 Foley Field debut.
This one doesn’t require a lot in the way of analysis. The Red and Black, who often appear maddeningly disinterested in midweek outings against inferior opponents, jumped out to an early lead and did a sleepwalking act through the next five innings until Presbyterian tied it up late and the Diamond Dogs asserted themselves with a fifteen-hit performance featuring five doubles in the seventh stanza. Georgia overcame a pair of errors with eight pitchers who between them issued only four walks.
We don’t want to read too much into this victory. A year ago, the Classic City Canines beat the Blue Stockings by a similar score, not once, but twice. At the end of the evening, though, this one went the way we wanted it to go, which is fine by me on a Wednesday night.