After a three-game winning streak a few weeks ago, the Upson-Lee Knights (6-7, 5-4) headed into Wednesday’s big game with Dutchtown on a one game winning streak, having beaten Riverdale in a rain makeup game Tuesday. Prior to Tuesday’s win, they had lost three in row. With losses to Griffin, Locust Grove, and Woodland (all three teams above the Knights in the standings), the Knights needed to have a big game against the No. 1 team in Region 4, the Dutchtown Bulldogs (7-4, 6-2).
Upson-Lee’s Dillon Watson toed the rubber for the Knights, and pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing zero earned runs and four hits, while striking out eight batters and allowing just two walks. UL senior Ben Barber came in to record the save, striking out the last two batters of the game. Offensively, the Knights’ Jordan Bosworth continued his hot hitting, going 3 for 3 with two runs scored. Logan Fowler and Austin Matson also contributed with RBI hits in the game.
“This is the biggest win this team has had in some time,” said Knights head coach Wayne Puckett. “I told the team we need to win at least one of these next two games. We beat Dutchtown tonight, and now we have to get ready for a tough Spalding team on Friday. I think this victory will give us some confidence, knowing we can beat anyone in the region if we play well. Tonight we did not play our opponent, we played the game of baseball, and that’s something I have been stressing lately. I’m proud of the guys and the way they played tonight. This was a big win for us, and it gets us back in the thick of things in the region standings.”
Watson had his knuckle ball working early in the game, retiring the first three batters in the top of the first inning. Watson allowed a walk in the inning, but senior catcher Austin Matson gunned down a Dutchtown player trying to steal second base for the final out of the inning.
Upson-Lee senior Jordan Bosworth continued his hot hitting, with three hits in the game, including a triple in the bottom of the first inning. “Bos” came home to score on Matson’s grounder to shortstop, giving the Knights a 1-0 lead. Watson pitched around an error in the top of the second inning, retiring the Bulldogs without any runs scored.
With a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning, the Bulldogs took advantage of a fielding error by the Knights to put a runner on base. With two outs, the Bulldog’s third baseman laced a solid single to left field, scoring the runner. Watson struck out the next batter, and the game was tied 1-1 with the game headed into the bottom of the third inning.
With one out, Bosworth connected with his second hit of the game, beating out an infield single. Matson followed with a blistering double in the right-center gap, scoring Bosworth all the way from first base, giving the Knights a 2-1 lead.
In the top of the fifth inning, Dutchtown took advantage of yet another error by the Knights to tie the game. After a lead off double, a wild pitch, and a throwing error, the Bulldogs added their second run of the game. However, Watson retired the next two batters on infield pop ups.
Left fielder Logan Fowler led the bottom of the fifth inning off with a solid single to left field. Second baseman Kyle Kelly followed with a perfect sacrifice bunt. After another hit by Bosworth, his third of the game, Fowler came home to score on a wild pitch, giving the Knights a 3-2 lead.
Fowler added his second hit of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning, scoring Brandon Blount with a booming double to center field, giving the Diamond Knights an insurance run.
With a 4-2 lead in the seventh, UL brought in their closer Ben Barber with one out and a runner on second base. Barber struck out the Bulldogs No. 3 and No. 4 batters, and the Knights clinched the big 4-2 victory.
Bosworth led the Knights with three hits and two runs scored. Logan Fowler added two hits and a RBI. Austin Matson connected with a double and 2 RBI, while Brandon Blount chipped in with a single an run scored. Kyle Kelly and Ben Barber each earned sacrifice bunts in the contest.
The Knights will travel to Griffin today to take on the Spalding Jaguars. Spalding is currently tied for first place with Dutchtown. First pitch is slated for 5:55 p.m.