Crisp Academy pitcher Rush Brown beats Westwood on Tuesday, 6-1. He went five innings and allowed just three hits and one run.
CORDELE — So here’s how it all works out ...
Westwood gets the region title, and Crisp Academy gets revenge.
That’s the best way to explain what happened Tuesday in Cordele, where just about everything went right for Crisp in a 6-1 win against Westwood that avenged an earlier 2-1 loss and ended Westwood’s perfect season.
The win also sets up a possible rubber match with more bounce than anyone wants to think about right now, because the only way these teams can meet again would be in the ultimate rematch in the GISA Class A state championship game.
“We know we will see them down the road,’’ said Crisp coach John Penney, whose team beat Westwood last year for the state title. “’When the school year began everyone said it was us and Westwood. There are some other teams, but I don’t know a lot about them. I know Westwood. They’re a good team. We respect them.’’
Could these two really meet again for the state title?
“No doubt about it,’’ said Crisp starter Rush Brown, who kept Westwood off balance all day before giving way to Jordan Howard. Brown gave up just three hits over five innings and struck out two while walking two to improve to 4-1 for the season.
Mason Worsham had two of those hits — an infield single to start the game, and a solo homer in the fifth that closed things to 6-1. Howard gave up one hit, a single to Mason’s brother, Chason Worsham, and struck out four over the final two innings.
Howard did more damage with his bat, going 3-for-4 and driving in two runs. He also scored twice, and helped Crisp jump out to a 6-0 lead after two innings. His RBI single up the middle in the first gave Crisp a 1-0 lead, and Robby Wright followed with an RBI single. Jake Smith had an infield single and James Bodrey hit a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0.
Crisp put up another three-spot in the second on an RBI single from Howard and a two-out, two-run double by Wright, whose soft fly to right fell just in front of a charging J.T. Edore.
It was that kind of day for Westwood, which entered the game with a 15-0 record and the Region 3-A title in its pocket — and a cake pan.
Well, that’s what someone suggested at Westwood, where the Wildcats clinched the region title last week when Randolph Southern beat Crisp, 4-2. Left fielder Mitch Good brought up the idea that Westwood should bake a cake for Randolph Southern. After all, that win against Crisp left Crisp with two losses in the region. Westwood finished the region at 7-1 after Tuesday’s lone loss of the season.
“You can’t give them a six-run lead,’’ Westwood coach Al Timmerman said. “We were a little flat, and they put the ball in the right place’’
Crisp had some seeing-eye hits early and three errors and a balk opened a door for Crisp, which was all too happy to kick it in at the expense of Caleb Morrell, who gave up four earned runs over five innings while striking out seven and walking three. Morrell also hit a double to lead off the fourth but was stranded.
“I thought he pitched a heck of a game,’’ Timmerman said. “They’re the defending state champs for a reason. We still have a lot of ball to play.’’
Crisp was ready when they said: “play ball,’’ on Tuesday.
“We came out smoking,’’ Penney said of the his team’s six-run burst. “We were running the bases, and we took a few chances on the bases and it paid off. You’ve got to put the ball in play, and we did. And we were very aggressive. You have to be aggressive when you play them.’’
“It’s a great win,’’ he added. “They were looking to come in here and beat us (again). I’m just so proud of the kids for playing the way we asked them to.’’
The growing rivalry made this win even better for Crisp.
“It’s a big, emotional win,’’ Penney said. “Going into the playoffs, it’s a big emotional boost for us.’’
Both teams will get byes in the first round of the state playoffs and won’t play until May 11.
“We’re playing great right now,’’ Howard said. “We’re hitting the ball pretty good, and we’re fielding real good. We’re looking like a team ready to make a run in the playoffs.’’