ADDISON, Ala. – After cancellations delayed the start of the season, the Addison Bulldogs got their 2020 campaign underway against the Good Hope Raiders Saturday.
Addison’s imposing senior right-hander Luke Waldrep opened the season on the mound for the Bulldogs, sophomore Braxton Marshal got the start for Good Hope and Waldrep opened up the season by striking out the side in the top half of the first.
Addison’s half of the first opened up, after a fly out, with a solid Jessie Brock single to left field. Nelson Martin walked and then Jake Wilson grounded into a force play which left runners on first and third with two out. Colton Tyree came through with a big two out single to bring home Brock. Will Tuggle walked and with the bases loaded a comebacker to the pitcher ended the threat. At the end of the first inning, Addison led Good Hope 1-0.
The next two innings featured a dominant pitching performance from Waldrep as he struck out eight of the first nine men he faced.
Good Hope’s Marshall seemed to settle down after a rough first inning and shut the Bulldogs down over the second and third innings. Marshall allowed only a Jake Wilson inning in the third, striking out two.
The fourth inning started with the Bulldogs holding onto a slim 1-0 lead over the Raiders. Waldrep ran into his first difficulty of the day in the fourth. After getting a leadoff strikeout, Waldrep hit a batter and then after a fielder’s choice left two outs and a runner on first, the Raiders offense came through in the clutch. A second walk left runners on first and second with two out and Harper Chiaranda singled to left, driving in the tying run. Waldrep got out of the jam by striking out the next batter.
Addison was unable to answer in their half of the fourth so at the halfway point, Addison and Good Hope were knotted at 1.
Waldrep was relieved in the top of the fifth by left hander Colton Tyree due to pitch count. Tyree walked two and struck out two in his half of the fifth. Good Hope’s Marshall continued to keep the Bulldog bats silent and the fifth ended with the score still tied at 1.
The sixth inning proved to be the crucial inning of the game. Tyree struck out the side in the top of half and the Bulldog bats finally came alive in the bottom of the inning. Marshall got the first Bulldog to fly out and then Will Tuggle singled to center. Lawson Alexander was hit by a pitch, putting runners on first and second with one out. Marshall was relieved after pitching a fine game and keeping the Raiders close. Cannon Hiller greeted the relief pitcher by stroking an opposite field single to right, scoring Tuggle and putting the Bulldogs ahead 2-1. The Bulldogs were unable to score anymore and at the end of the sixth, Addison led Good Hope 2-1.
Tyree struck out the first two Raiders to start the seventh but then a 1-out single got the hometown crowd nervous. Tyree was able to close the door as he struck out the final Raider to secure a 2-1 win in what was a well-played, opening day game
After the game, Good Hope Head Coach Mike Witcher talked about his team’s need to improve offensively.
“We have to improve our approach to hitting. We had way too many strikeouts. Our hitting was just not there today. Our defense played well, and Marshall did very well,” Witcher said. “He gave us six strong innings. It hurt us when Morgan (Cook) got hurt in the first. He is our cleanup hitter. We think he will be fine, just a knot on the head.”
Addison Head Coach John Everett was excited to get his first win as the coach of the Bulldogs and was proud of the way his pitching staff performed.
“I was really nervous about this game. It is my first as a head coach and I feel relieved to get it over with, especially with a win. Luke and Colton both pitched very well,” Everett said. “I think we had something like 15 or 16 strikeouts between them. Our defense was fine, and our hitting will come around. We got the hits when we needed them.”
Some stat lines for the game; Marshall pitched five and a third innings, giving up two earned runs, scattering four hits, striking out four and walking three. Harper Chiaranda finished with a hit and an RBI.
Waldrep went four innings, giving up one earned run, one hit, striking out 10 and walking two. Tyree got the win, going three innings, giving up one hit, striking out eight and walking two. Brock posted a hit with a run scored. Tyree added a hit and an RBI. Will Tuggle finished with a hit and a run scored and a walk. Cannon Hiller finished with one hit and the game-winning RBI.
All in all, it was a beautiful day for baseball and a good game played between what appeared to be two evenly matched teams. The Bulldogs will travel to Danville Tuesday and the Raiders will be at J.B. Pennington Monday.
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