Bulldogs sweep Rebels


The ECI Bulldog baseball team advanced to the Sweet 16 round of the state playoffs last week, defeating Atkinson Co. 8-1 and 5-4 in Tuesday's opening doubleheader. Hunter Henry got the Bulldogs on the board early with a solo homerun in the squirrel nests in center field for a 1-0 lead.

The Bulldogs gifted the Rebels a run in the top of the second inning on two walks and an error for a 1-1 tie. It would be the last run for Atkinson during the game. The game remained tied until the bottom of the fourth. The Bulldogs manufactured a run-on singles by Andrew Chalkley and Gabe Lee and a sac bunt by Kanyon Thompson to take back the lead 2-1. The Bulldogs tacked on three runs in the fifth and sixth innings for an 8-1 lead and took the all-important first game of the best of three series. Charlie Rehberg pitched six innings for ECI allowing just three hits while striking out nine Rebel batters. Hudson Henry got the final three outs in the seventh, sitting them down in order with two strikeouts. The Bulldogs had 12 hits against Atkinson. Hudson Henry, Jackson Kennedy and Andrew Chalkley had multiple hits with two each.

The Bulldogs lived on the edge in the second game of the night leaving runners in scoring position in every inning. One of the strengths of ECI is their normally great defense, but the Bulldogs uncharacteristically committed four errors in the game. Atkinson, on the ropes to go home early, put three runs on the board in the first inning to put the Bulldogs in a hole early. The Bulldogs got their first run in the top of the second. Aden McQuaig was on after a single, Gabe Lee put the Bulldogs on the board with a double. With Henry and Tuff Boddiford on in the fourth, Rehberg doubles scoring both to get the game even at 3-3. McQuaig and Lee led off the fifth with singles. Henry scored McQuaig with a double as ECI took the lead for the first time 4-3. The lead was short lived when the Rebels tied the game once again in the bottom of the inning 4-4. ECI took back the lead for good in the sixth plating one run for a 5-4 lead. The Rebels failed to threaten in the bottom of the seventh with ECI winning the best of three series 5-4. James Parker started the game for ECI, throwing four and 1/3 innings scattering six hits, striking out seven batters. Henry picked up the win, closing his second game of the night allowing just two hits in two and 2/3 innings, while striking out seven. McQuaig had the hot bat with three hits. Lee and Henry ended the game with two hits each with four other Bulldogs getting one hit each.

The Bulldogs hosted an old region foe Monday in the second round to begin a best of three series, with the if game scheduled for Tuesday.

Wheeler Co. moved out of region three a few years ago and is now playing in region one. Wheeler has a 22-6 season record, was region runner up and are currently ranked 11 in state rankings.