Cole Tolbert’s third home run of the season was the kick-starter. Before the first three outs were registered Tuesday night on The Reservation, Tolbert’s two-out, two-run dinger gave West Jones an early 2-0 lead. The night continued to favor the Mustangs, and Tolbert whose clean-up bat accounted for the first three West Jones runs. The sophomore added an RBI single in the third and a run-scoring grounder in the seventh.
Behind Tolbert’s four-RBI night and Dustin Dickerson’s complete game performance on the mound, West Jones stomped past South Jones 8-1 in the first 2019 Region 5-5A meeting between the two.
“Cole [Tolbert] set the tone for us in the top of the first,” said West Jones head coach Trey Sutton. “We were able to put up a two-spot and steadily build on it from there. We never really had any big innings, but we had an inning or two here and there over the course of seven innings to pull away from [South Jones].”
For video highlights and the full postgame interview with Trey Sutton, click on the following link: https://youtu.be/DMAV4Ct6bfc
Tuesday night wasn’t void of excitement, as is accustomed to each meeting on the diamond between the two. A lengthy discussion between umpires on an interference call in the third and a bang-bang play at the plate in the fourth kept fans on their feet. Both calls went in favor of the home team.
“It’s like all these games are,” said Sutton. “It’s a great atmosphere. Like we told the kids before the game: ‘Enjoy playing in this type of atmosphere because there aren’t many high school baseball atmospheres like this.’”
Dickerson picked up his fifth win of the season from the mound, tossing the entire seven-inning affair. The Southern Miss signee allowed one run on four hits and fanned 10 Braves at the plate. South’s solo run came in the bottom of the sixth on a leadoff home run by senior John Mitchell.
“Dickerson was in the zone a lot,” said Sutton. “That’s just the type of guy he is. He has three or four pitches he can throw strikes with and when you have a guy like that…it makes our job a lot easier.”
Dickerson had a great night offensively, too. He joined Tolbert in the multi-hit category, hitting into a double in the fifth and driving in a run on a single in the seventh.
Heading into the final inning, and holding firm to a 5-1 lead, West Jones added three insurance runs in the seventh on RBI singles by Dickerson and Kris Riley. After his run-scoring single, Dickerson later scored following an infield grounder off the bat of Tolbert.
“We also got some timely hits and barreled some balls up,” Sutton said. “Because of that, we were able to push some runs across.”
South Jones starting pitcher Tyler Ducksworth took the loss on the mound – only his first of the season – giving up five runs on three hits in four innings pitched. Destin Shoemake threw in relief, tossing the remaining innings. Shoemake surrendered three runs on two hits in three innings pitched.
The rivalry series continues this week. South Jones (13-4, 3-1) travels to West Jones (14-3, 4-0) Friday night for Game 2 of the three-game regular season Region 5-5A series.
“My message to our guys was to enjoy tonight,” said Sutton. “But we must get back to work tomorrow. South Jones is a really good baseball team, and they can come out and put it to us Friday if we’re not where we need to be.”