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Article from Athens Banner Hearld
Apr. 29, 2012
White, Butcher carry Oconee County to dramatic sweep
WATKINSVILLE — After playing extra innings plus some more on Friday, Oconee County certainly didn’t want to extend Saturday any farther than necessary.
Big hits by Conor White and Blake Butcher highlighted a seventh-inning rally that carried Oconee County past Franklin County 9-6 to give the Warriors a sweep in their Region 8-AAA playoff series at Warrior Field. Oconee County won Game 1 of the series 3-2 in 10 innings on Friday.
“We came out here to win this series now instead of go to a third game,” Butcher said. “We just got after it and it feels really good to be able to keep playing.”
Oconee County (14-6) clinched the No. 3 seed coming out of Region 8-AAA. The Warriors will travel to Cartersville for a first-round playoff series next Friday. Franklin County ended its season at 9-10.
Oconee County and Franklin County had already played extra innings in Game 1. Another round of bonus baseball and possibly a third game threatened in Game 2 before Oconee County won in dramatic fashion.
The game was tied 6-6 going into the top of the seventh when Franklin County could not field a wind-blown popup in the infield that allowed Davis Aiken to reach first. With one out and Aiken on second, White lined a single to bring home Aiken with the go-ahead run.
The Warriors had led 6-2 going into the fifth, but Franklin County rallied for four runs, including a three-RBI double by Damon Morris off of White.
“I’ve always wanted to do something like that,” White said. “Everybody dreams of a situation like that growing up, so I was just trying to put the ball in play and it got through. I was just trying to make it up to my team after that fifth inning.”
Butcher followed with a two-run homer over the right field fence to push Oconee County’s advantage to 9-6.
“I went to the plate looking for a fastball,” Butcher said. “(Franklin County pitcher Logan South) was throwing pretty decent fastballs. I was thinking first-pitch fastball, so I was going to swing if he gave me a good pitch to swing at. I got a good pitch and tried to hit it as hard as I can.”
White took second on a throw to the plate after singling home Aiken. He had maybe the best view in the park of Butcher’s home run.
“I knew it was gone as soon as he hit it,” White said. “I just stood there. I knew he’d hit it out. That felt so good to get those runs.”
Oconee County reliever Timmy Reeck retired eight of the 10 batters he faced to pick up the win. South retired 10 of the first 11 Warriors he faced after entering the game in the third inning until the Warriors connected in the seventh.
White was 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Butcher was 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs. Cole Daniel was 1-for-4 with a two-RBI double. Franklin County’s Morris was 2-for-4 with two doubles and five-RBIs.
Friday had been a long night for both teams. Oconee County won 3-2 in Game 1 in 10 innings of the scheduled doubleheader. White started Game 2 on Friday, but weather postponed it in the second inning.
“We still wanted to go with Conor today because he didn’t throw that many pitches (Friday),” Oconee County coach Stan Fricks said. “He did a good job. He was able to keep the ball down early. But Franklin’s a good-hitting ball club. When Conor went out in the fifth, he was OK, but he was missing kind of high where they could hit it.”
Franklin scored twice in the first inning but White retired nine of the next 11 as the Warriors built a 6-2 lead going into the fifth inning. But Franklin County rallied as Morris hit a three-RBI double and South followed with an RBI double to tie the game 6-6.
“My arm was killing me this morning,” White said. “I did a lot more stretching and warming up than I usually do. But yeah, it got to me. I can usually go six innings but my arm was feeling pretty ragged there in the third. I got to the fifth I started leaving pitches over the plate and they took advantage.”
Oconee County took 6-2 lead in the third when White had a two-RBI single, Butcher had an RBI single and Daniel had a two-RBI double.