Sparks’ walkoff hit sends Bulldogs past Bears

WHITE HALL — The White Hall Bulldogs are the defending Billy Bock Classic champions and showed why in walk off fashion on Thursday at White Hall.

Turner Sparks hit a bases-loaded RBI single through the left side in the bottom of the seventh to give White Hall a 2-1 victory over the Woodlawn Bears in the opening round of the Classic at White Hall Field.

With the game tied at 1-1, the Bulldogs opened the seventh inning with a hit-by-pitch on Justin Archer. A sharply hit ball that was booted by the shortstop allowed Aaron Johnston to reach safely and the Bulldogs had two on and nobody out. A passed ball allowed both runners to advance. With first base open, the Bears decided to intentionally walk Kirk Baugh to give the Bulldogs the bases loaded with nobody out which brought up Sparks’ game-ending hit.

The Bulldogs received another phenomenal performance from Daniel Sprinkle as he finished with seven innings pitched allowing just three hits and one run (earned) with no walks and 12 strikeouts.

“He kept us in the game,” White Hall head coach Skip Carr said. “He did an outstanding job and threw a bunch of strikes. He didn’t walk any hitters and only hit two. He kept his pitch count down and had around 90 pitches in seven innings which is what we are looking for.”

Woodlawn head coach Tommy Richardson gave credit to Sprinkle for keeping his team off balance as the Bears fell behind in the count throughout the night.

“He threw well,” Richardson said. “You’re going to have a hard time catching him. We didn’t do a good enough job of making him work down in the zone.”

Woodlawn (4-1) also didn’t receive too much help from the defense as they committed three errors with the crucial one happening in the seventh inning.

“You can’t play good teams and make errors and come out on top,” Richardson said. “In the last inning we made an error and walked a kid … and good teams are going to make you pay for walks and errors and they did.”

White Hall (2-1) played an error free ballgame and Carr said that was a factor in his team’s victory.

“The defense played good,” Carr said. “When (Sprinkle) pitches the way he does, there won’t be a lot of balls hit, but the balls (Woodlawn) hit were executed well.”

White Hall was led at the plate by Sparks who finished 2 for 2 with an RBI including the game-winning hit. Caleb Carr added a 1 for 3 day with an RBI.

Woodlawn was led by Colton Williams who ended the night 2 for 3 with a run scored.

White Hall will host the Watson Chapel JV in a winner’s bracket semifinal at 5 p.m. Friday, while Woodlawn faces Dollarway at 6:15 p.m. at Taylor Field.