SYLVESTER -- Bouncing back has never felt like this.
At least not at Worth County, where the baseball team can look just about anyone eye-to-eye.
The Rams blinked Wednesday and it cost them as Crisp County's juggernaut ran over Worth, 13-1, in five innings to put an exclamation point on the Region 1-AAA race.
Now the Rams have to find a way to bounce back from their worst loss of the season and their first defeat in 2011 at Pope Park all year.
"I believe we can,'' said Ryan Hickox, who tripled and scored Worth's only run when Will Peacock drove him in with a single in the third inning. "We can come back from this. We just have to come together as a team. We have to fight our way back.''
It was just a bad night for the Rams, who were hoping to make a move in the region race. They're in third place at 5-3, but they could have moved to within a game of Cairo for second, and gained a full game on Crisp.
"Yeah, it was a big game,'' Crisp coach Bill Pate said. "They could have closed in on us, and we could have dropped down and been in a tie with Cairo if we had lost.''
Crisp might not lose at all in the region. The Cougars (16-3) are 7-0 in the region race with five games left, and looked unbeatable Wednesday night.
"Right now they're the class of our region,'' Worth coach Will Smith said. "They've finished sixth in the region the last two years, but they have a senior-heavy team this year, and they're playing like it.''
There might not be a better hitter in Region 1-AAA than Crisp shortstop Will Jones, who homered in the first to start the rout. Worth never got him out. He walked and doubled twice, and he scored all four times he came to the plate.
"To me, he's the best hitter in the region,'' said Pate, who has seen his kids make a giant step this season. "They have good team chemistry. They made up their minds over the summer that we would be a good baseball team this year, and they put in the work in the weight room and have worked hard on the field.''
Crisp pounded out 14 hits and didn't make an error behind J. D. Slade, who went the five-inning distance and gave up only six hits while striking out five and walking just one. Slade looked like he was throwing as hard in the fifth as he was in the first.
Peacock started for Worth and gave up six runs in 2 1/3 innings on five hits, but only one was earned (Jones' sixth homer of the season). The Rams gave up an unearned run in the second and kicked the ball around in the third when a pair of errors opened up the gates for a four-run inning that was highlighted by Luke Whitman's two-out bases loaded double. The Cougars put the game away with a six-run fifth. Jones slammed a two-run double off the wall and Slade hit a two-run double.
Worth plays Berrien at home tonight in a non-region game, but needs to bounce back quickly because the Rams (12-8 overall) have a big region game on Tuesday against Westover at Paul Eames Park.
"I think we'll bounce back,'' Smith said. "We've got character. Our players want to put a good product on the field for our fans and our community. We just had a bad night ... It was just one of those deals. They were the better team. They hit the ball hard and we made errors.''