TUNNEL HILL, Ga. — Patience isn't a word usually associated with the Northwest Whitfield High School baseball team, but Tuesday's quick start in the much-delayed third game of its GHSA Class AAAA first-round series showed a different side.
The Bruins scored seven first-inning runs in the 11-1 win over Grady -- against a pitcher that held them to one run in last week's series-opening loss. The Bruins now will host Stephens County on Thursday in a doubleheader start to a best-of-three series.
Northwest (23-6) rapped out seven hits -- six of them singles -- against Grady starter Liam Henry, whose soft sidearm tosses tied the aggressive Bruins hitters into knots in the first meeting. Tuesday the team let the ball get a little farther before swinging.
"We had the same approach going into game one, but we just didn't execute it," Northwest coach Todd Middleton said. "We swung way out in front and popped up a lot in that first game. Today we waited on the ball a bit better, at least at the start of the game. We got back into the bad habit in the middle innings."
Relegated to being the visitors after a pregame coin toss, the Bruins had consecutive singles from Brandon Smith, Brady Middleton and Diego Peralta to load the bases in the first inning. Henry, clearly rattled, then hit Edwin Hernandez and A.J. Orozco with pitches for the first two runs before Seth Pierce and Kyle Brock singled in runs and Andy Whisenant plated two with a double.
Whisenant, who added another double as part of the team's 13-hit attack, said it was difficult waiting to get on the field to play the game that was originally scheduled for last Thursday.
"We didn't like waiting to get back out there, but I'm glad it worked out this way," the senior left fielder said. "When you put up seven runs in the first inning, that does a lot of things for you and it put them in a big hole. The key was hitting the ball where it was pitched. Last week we were just too anxious and pulling out on everything."
The runs made starting pitcher Wade Terrell's job easier, and the right-hander responded with five innings of one-hit, five-strikeout pitching and no runs. Cameron Alday pitched the final two innings. With the short turnaround to the next series, Coach Middleton was thrilled with the job on the mound Tuesday.
"Wade does pretty much the same thing every outing: He throws strikes; he's going to keep it away from them and keep them off balanced," said Middleton, who will have ace Seth Pierce fresh for game one Thursday. "He did a great job and he didn't need many pitches, and he should be available Thursday or Friday."
Shortstop Diego Peralta hit a two-run homer in the fourth, and Orozco drove home two more with a seventh-inning single.
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...