By David Wheeler/Special to the Journal
NEW ALBANY – With three regular-season division games already this week, the New Albany Bulldogs pitching staff was stretched a little thin.
Brandon Montgomery and John Holt Waldrop made sure that was not a problem Friday.
The two New Albany pitchers combined for a one-hitter, and the Bulldogs recorded a 14-0 victory in five innings over the Humphreys County Cowboys in Game 1 of their Class 4A play-in series.
“We had a really long week already, with three division games,” New Albany head coach John Walker said. “We’re real thin on the mound right now, but Brandon did a good job tonight.
“And this was Waldrop’s first appearance in a game this year, though he’s thrown in scrimmages enough. He did a good job coming in and throwing strikes.”
In the best of three series, Game 2 will be played at Humphreys County today at 2 p.m.
If needed, Game 3 would also be today, immediately following Game 2.
New Albany (22-7) did not need much more offense than the second inning, where the Bulldogs sent 15 batters to the plate. During the frame, New Albany batters drew seven walks, eventually scoring 11 runs.
Freshman Jake McDonald did connect for a two-run single in the frame, with Waldrop sending a ball down the left field line for an RBI triple.
“Our guys usually take a pretty good approach at the plate,” Walker said. “We took what they gave us in the second inning, and when we put it in play, it was effective.”
The Bulldogs also scored solo runs in each of the first, third, and fourth innings.
In the first, Ben Foster led off the contest with a double, later scoring. In the third, Colt Smith had an RBI single, then later in the fourth, Easton Hall added an RBI single.
Conversely, New Albany pitching cruised through the Cowboys’ lineup.
In his three innings of work, Montgomery faced the minimum number of batters, walking a batter in the second, and allowing a single to Jimmie Nalls in the third. A strike out-thrown out double play ended the second, and Montgomery picked off Nall to end the third.
“We’ve been in this situation twice already in division play – easily winning the first game of a series,” Walker said. “Against Lafayette, we beat them up pretty good the first game, then they beat us the second.
“Then against Lewisburg, we beat their best pitcher in the first game, then the same thing. I think we’ll show up ready to play tomorrow.”