Borah’s Extra Inning Fireworks Lift Bulldogs to Thrilling Win!

North Gwinnett travelled up 985 to face the North Hall Trojans Monday evening. In what looked like game three of a Regional final, the Bulldogs nipped the Trojans 1-0 in 9 innings.  Walker Cleveland took the pearl for the Bulldogs and worked three scoreless innings, giving up 1 hit, ringing up 4, and issuing two hall passes that he was able to work around despite not having his best stuff. Cade Heil relieved Cleveland in the 4th and he promptly caught the Trojan 3 and 4 hitters looking and coaxed a 6-3 groundout from the 5-hitter. Heil was not just good, he was dominant and shoved for 5 more innings, using both sides of the plate and a tight curve to keep the Trojan hitters off balance. He got better as the game progressed, attacking the strike zone, ringing up 9, and needing only 56 pitches to paint his six inning Picasso.

The Bulldog Offense got off to a slow start until the 2nd inning when Will Bennett and Michael Goehrig led off with back to back oppo singles to right. But the Trojan’s sackmates killed the rally, turning two in 6-4-3 fashion.  The bats didn’t take long to regroup as Chase McCulloch kept his hot streak going with a hard single up the middle off the first pitch of the 3rd.  Heil and Parker Coyne then singled to make things interesting but the Dawgs could not take advantage of the hits as the Trojan starter rung up two and picked off another to snuff the rally.  The Dogs went down in order in the top of the 4thChase Zellers roped a single to center to lead off the 5th and the Swingmen had their 3rd leadoff batter of an inning on base.  McCulloch gave himself up on a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt, but the offense could not capitalize on the runner in scoring position. Things got real interesting in the top of the 7th as Michael Borah stroked a fastball to the right centerfield fence for a leadoff 3-bagger. But again, the Trojan Ace knocked out the 3-alarm fire bell with a groundout, a backward K and flyout to right.   Coyne lead off the top of the 8th with a single and the 5th leadoff man of the night was on for North.  But the Trojan’s Ace had nine lives and he used them all to get a fielder’s choice and two pop-outs in what would be his last inning of the night.  The 7th time is the charm and the Trojan reliever promptly plunked Goehrig to leadoff the 9thJake Brace pinch ran for Goehrig as Borah stepped up to the plate and drove a 2-0 fastball to exact same spot in right center. Brace didn’t hesitate and went around the horn like his shoes were on fire to score and Borah had his 2nd 3-bagger of the night. The Dogs stranded him at 3rd, going down in order but now holding a 1 run lead. In the bottom of the 9th, the Trojans showed their grit getting the tying run on with a chopper to third base that should have been scored a hit but went off Will Bennett’s glove as he climbed the ladder to corral it. But Heil was laser focused and would have none of it as the Trojans 3 hitter lined out to RF and he mowed down the 4-hitter on three straight pitches to record his first win of the season.

It was an impressive road win as the Bulldogs faced the best pitcher they'd seen this season for 8 innings and battled an ever-expanding strike zone as the game wore on. They pressured the Trojan defense by getting the lead man on 7 times in 9 innings but just could not break down the door until Borah’s late inning shot.    The Young Guns on offense continue to punish opposing pitchers in critical at bats!  Heil and Cleveland extended the staff’s historic shutout inning streak to 23.   Bulldog pitching has shutout opponents in 27 of 29 innings so far this season!  Borah (2-4, 2 Triples, RBI) and Coyne (2-4) paced the offense and Goehrig, McCulloch, Bennett, and Heil contributed with singles. You can’t shutout three opponents in a row without good pitching, good defense and good offense. The Ragin’ Cajun has finely tuned his machine and its locked and loaded for NOLA!   Keep up the streak Bulldogs!!!!!! See you at Mardi Gras!

Bulldogs Quiet the Storm, Extend Shutout Streak in Pancer Debut!

Friday night the hit parade continued as North shut down the Providence Christian Storm 9-0 in 7 innings.  Freshman righty Brandt Pancer made his Varsity debut and he didn’t disappoint.  Pancer worked 3 quick innings, getting  ahead in the count on 9 of 11 batters and punching out 3 to record his first win.  Providence tried to make it interesting early with their lead off men singling to reach base in the first two frames.  But the Dogs defense rolled a pair both times to keep things in order.  Hunter Cummings showed good poise in working around 4 free passes and punched out 8 Storm batters in his 3 innings of relief work. Parker Coyne closed out the game notching a pair of K’s in the 7th to preserve the shutout.  The Bulldogs battery combined for 13 K’s against 4 hits and 5 walks and extended the staff’s shutout inning streak to 14.  The Bulldog Lumber Company was at maximum capacity for the third straight game, blistering the Storm pitchers for 5 extra base hits and 13 hits total.  Cade Heil set the tone with a pair of two baggers and Chase Zellers also doubled.  Six of the Bulldog bats recorded multiple hits in the game.  Dalton Pearson (2-3, RBI) and Michael Goehrig (2-3, 2 RBI)  stayed hot while  Cade Heil, Jake Brace, Parker Coyne and Michael Borah all went off with 2 for 4, 2 RBI performances.   The Bulldog Offense has set a blistering pace to start the season, averaging over 11 hits and 8 runs per game while bashing opposing pitchers at a .354 clip. Not to be outdone, the Bulldog pitching staff has been Junkyard Nasty, tossing 19 shutout innings out of 21 for a 1.6 staff ERA and a staff WHIP of 1.3 with just 9 walks against 26 strikeouts.  The Dogs defense has bitten opposing teams for an outstanding .967 fielding percentage!  It’s rare and refreshing to see a team so focused and centered on the “We” instead of the “Me.” Keep it up boys!!!

BRACE, OFFENSE SIZZLE IN 9-0 SHUTOUT WIN OVER WESLEYAN!

Varsity Ace Jake Brace threw a masterful six innings and Will Burgum tossed a scoreless 7th to combine for North’s first shutout of the 2017 campaign.   Brace looked to be in mid-season form as he needed just 52 pitches to shut down the Wolves offense, pounding the zone for 17 of 20 first pitch strikes, and retiring the first two batters in an inning four time while spreading 4 hits and 3 K’s over his 6 innings of work.  Burgum worked his first appearance of the young season, inducing a pop fly and punching out two to seal the shutout. The Dogs defense was sharp, playing error free ball. Leading 1-0, the Dogs defense turned a nice 6-4-3 twin killing in 2nd inning to snuff out the Wolves attempt to rally.

 

Leadoff man Parker Coyne set the tone early for the Bulldog bats, stroking the first pitch of the game over the right field fence for a lead-off solo dinger. The young pups on offense continued to bare their teeth and chewed through another pitching staff for the second time this week. Dalton Pearson lead the way, going 3 for 4 with a HR, 2-bagger and 2 RBI’s, and scored two runs.   Corey Collins launched a two out, mammoth 3 run shot to straight away Center and Will Bennett stayed red hot stroking three singles in four PA’s. Michael Borah added a single, an RBI, and two runs to the box score in his Varsity debut, and Chase McCulloch notched another single in his belt.  Seniors Cade Heil and Chase Zellers also got in on the fun and each contributed singles to the effort. Only Michael Goehrig went home hungry on offense, but he continued to have quality at bats, hitting the ball hard two times and drawing 1 free pass.  Overall, the Dogs offense pounded the Wolves’ pitchers for 12 hits and continued to show discipline and good approaches in the plate appearances up and down the order.  Well done Bulldogs!!

Varsity Offense Come From Behind Win in Opener

The Bulldog Varsity opened the 2017 season on the road and took a late lead in an 8-5 win over Grayson Monday.  The Rams offense jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead on the Bulldog defense with a Sac Fly RBI and a Dinger. The Dogs offense cut the lead in half in the top of the second when Kolby Skolnik smashed an RBI single to right field. The Bulldog bats knotted the score in the fourth as Michael Goehrig lead off with a double, followed by another Skolnick single, and Freshman Dalton Pearson drove in the tie run on a single, his first Varsity hit.

 

Walker Cleveland took the mound in relief in the bottom of the 4th and promptly battered the Rams hitters,  striking out the side on 15 pitches. The Rams pitcher could not answer the bell in the top of the 5th, loading the bases on three walks before walking in the go ahead run. Bulldogs second baseman Chase McCulloch opened up the lead, ripping an 0-2 fast ball to the left center gap and picking up two ribby’s for his effort. In the bottom of the 5th, the top of the Rams order touched up Cleveland for a single and RBI double to make the score 5-3.   But the Dogs’ lumber added two more runs in the 6th on a Will Bennet sac fly and another hard RBI single by Goehrig, extending the lead to 7-3.  Skolnik lead off the top of the 7th and reached on an error. The Dogs wasted no time taking advantage of the boot, moving pinch runner Michael Borah to third on a pair of hard ground outs where he eventually scored on a passed ball to pad the lead 8-3.

 

The Rams would not go quietly and lead off the bottom of the 7th with a hard single before the Rams 3 hitter dropped his barrel on a 1-1 curve and sent a 2RBI sky ball over the fence at the left field foul pole to make it 8-5. The Rams clean-up hitter blooped a single to shallow center and it looked like the Rams were going to rally.  But Cleveland had other ideas and found another gear, coaxing a fielder’s choice ground out for the first out of the frame. He promptly picked off the runner at first before mowing down the last batter looking on three straight fast balls to kill the rally and secure the Bulldogs first win of the season.

 

Cleveland scattered 5 hits over 4 innings, notching 5K’s on just 1 free pass and gave up three earned runs in the win.  Goehrig (2-3, rbi) and Skolnik (2-3, 2 rbi) lead the way on offense; but the story of the game is the lineup’s quality at-bats up and down the order with clutch hitting and coaxing 6 walks out of the Rams pitching on only three strikeouts.  The Varsity jumped on a very talented and deep Grayson team in securing an impressive first win of the season. Great job North!