ALBANY -- Behind a stellar pitching performance on the mound by Corey Odom, as well as a solid overall team defensive effort, Worth County gained sole possession of the No.1 playoff seed with its 9-1 win over now-No. 3 seed Westover on Friday evening at Paul Eames field.
"It was a big win for us," Odom said. "The guys were seeing my stuff good, and it gives me a lot of confidence."
The 9-1 victory by the Rams puts both teams' record at 10-10 overall, but the Rams' 7-2 record in the region gives them the edge in seeding over Westover, which fell to 7-3.
"Right now this (win) puts us in first place by ourselves," Rams coach Will Smith said. "It really helps to solidify our chances to make the playoffs (mostly) because there are some teams that are playing some good ball right now."
Namely Cairo --- which is still well within the playoff picture, and ironically will be playing Worth on Tuesday with major seeding implication riding on the outcome. Cairo has three losses in the region.
"If things work the way we want them to, then maybe we can go in (the playoffs) as a top seed," Smith said.
Offensively, the Rams were led by slugger Tyler Hembree, who went 2-for-4 with an RBI, while Will Peacock also went 2-for-4 and two RBI.
Westover was led by J.T. Santos, who went 1-3 with an RBI.
Odom's exceptional performance got off to a rough start in the first inning when Santos slapped one of his pitches to the center-field wall and drove in the would-be first run of the game. But it was called back after the umpire ruled that Santos was outside of the batters box when he hit the ball, and he was subsequently called out. Odom would eventually get out of the inning without any more trouble.
On Worth's ensuing at-bat in the second inning, with the help of errors by Westover, the Rams managed to load the bases with no outs. A walk issued by Westover's Robert Daniel put the first run on the board for the Rams, followed by a sac-fly by Hembree that put Worth up 2-0.
But it didn't end there. With the bases loaded once again, Allen Fender hit a shot to the wall that resulted in a base clearing RBI-triple and a commanding 5-0 early lead for the Rams.
Santos would eventually put Westover on the board in the third inning with an RBI single, but it would prove to be a moot point as Worth would go on to score four more insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning on its way to the decisive win.
"Situational hitting killed us," Westover coach Kevin Fretwell said "We got to get things fixed and fast. We are still in it."
Westover looks to bounce back in its next game against Monroe on Monday.
LEE COUNTY SWEEPS TCC, NEARS LOCK OF NO. 1 SEED IN REGION 1-AAAA:
LEESBURG -- If Lee County can split with Bainbridge next Friday, the Trojans' baseball team will lock up the No. 1 Region 1-AAAA playoff seed -- this after Lee (14-5, 5-1) trounced TCC in a doubleheader sweep on Friday night at home, 9-2, in Game 1, and 7-3 in Game 2.
Jess Posey was the winning pitcher in Game 1 to improve to 3-1 on the season, while Matthew Suggs got the Game 2 win. Both struck out nine and walked one in their complete-game performances, while Posey gave up eight hits and Suggs (4-1) game up six.
Suggs also had a monster day at the plate in both games, going 2-for-5 with 2 RBI in Game 1, followed by a 2-for-3 outing with three runs scored in Game 2. That was only topped by Chase Griffin's night as he went 2-for-5 with a three-run homer -- his fourth of the season -- to finish with five RBI.
In Game 1, Taylor Jordan was 2-for-2 and Mark Fowler was 3-for-4.
TERRELL ACADEMY BLANKS RIVAL RANDOLPH SOUTHERN:
SHELLMAN -- The Terrell Academy baseball team shut out rival Randolph Southern on Friday, 5-0, behind nine strikeouts by Cole Phillips (4-1), who gave up just three hits -- two of which were by the Patriots' Cody Aeger.
Terrell's Hogan Skandamis did some damage from the plate, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored, while teammate Colby Blackburn was 1-for-3 with two RBI.