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Worth County maintains pace, tops Monroe

State-ranked Rams overcome slow start for 14-2 win

Worth County's Denzel Gowdy (9) and Tripp Goff (3) celebrate after Goff scored a run in the sixth inning Wednesday at Paul Eames Sports Complex. (Staff Photo: Tim Morse)

Worth County's Denzel Gowdy (9) and Tripp Goff (3) celebrate after Goff scored a run in the sixth inning Wednesday at Paul Eames Sports Complex. (Staff Photo: Tim Morse)

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Worth County first-baseman Cole Melton (16) fields the throw to force out Monroe’s Cornelius Jenkins at first-base Wednesday afternoon at Paul Eames Sports Complex. (Staff Photo: Tim Morse)

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Worth County’s Tripp Melton tags Monroe’s Frederick West out at first-base on a pickoff attempt in the first inning Wednesday afternoon at Paul Eames Sports Complex. (Staff Photo: Tim Morse)

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Monroe pitcher Napoleon Harris started the game on the mound for the Tornadoes. (Staff Photo: Tim Morse)

ALBANY — Denzel Gowdy bumped elbows with Tripp Goff.

Pitcher Austin Dorough smiled and high-fived his teammates.

Cole Melton turned into a defensive specialist at first base, stabbing low balls and making the defense look good.

It may not have been the prettiest victory. But after nearly a week of rainouts and postponements, Worth County High School scored a 14-2 victory Wednesday afternoon over Monroe at the Paul Eames Sports Complex, maintaining its grip of second place in the Region 1-AAAA standings.

The Rams improved to 14-4 overall and 8-1 in region play. Just a few days after Worth moved up to No. 4 in the Score Atlanta/AJC high school state baseball poll, coach Will Smith wanted to make sure his team played like a state-ranked program.

“It’s good to be recognized,” Smith said. “I’m excited about where the team is going.”

Worth needed six innings to overcome the pesky Tornadoes, and they didn’t turn the heat on until they sent 16 batters to the plate during a 10-run sixth inning, taking advantage of a handful of Monroe errors.

The Rams finished the game with 13 hits.

Dorough earned the victory, allowing the Tornadoes just four hits. He held them scoreless until the fifth when Monroe’s Austin Gordon scored, then they added another in the sixth on a double steal.

No. 9 hitter Cody Reddell led the way, going 4-for-4 with a pair of RBIs. Johnathan Cirullo, Gowdy, Aaron Franks and Dorough finished with two hits each. Cirullo, Gowdy, Franks, Dorough Reddell and Tripp Goff finished with two RBIs each.

Monroe coach Cecil Williams said his team challenged the Rams until the sixth inning.

“Overall, I thought we played fairly well until that one bad inning just overpowered us,” Williams said. “Napoleon Harris started and threw well for us, and we were getting people out. But that sixth inning, it seemed like one error led to another.”

Harris kept Monroe in the game until running out of gas in the sixth. Dorough and Reddell added RBI singles in the second to give the Rams an early 2-0 advantage.

Cirullo said the team made adjustments, then Worth County’s offense took off.

“We made the adjustments and had a big inning,” the junior shortstop said. “That’s something we’ve been pretty good at this year.”

With just eight games left, including five in region play, the Rams are hoping they can keep pace with region leader Crisp County. They’d like to play host to a first-round postseason game in Sylvester, something the program hasn’t done since 2010. Cirullo said it’s long overdue.

“We’d like to host,” he said. “That’s our No. 1 goal, and we want to keep getting better.”

They had plenty of reasons to smile on Wednesday.