Three words often used by Bradwell Institute baseball coach Rhett Hellgren appear to be sinking in.
Hellgren’s phrase "concentration and intensity," could describe the way the Tigers are playing of late, including Friday’s 15-0 win over visiting Johnson.
The win improved Bradwell to 7-4 overall and 6-1 in Region 3-AAAAA. It also put BI in a three-way tie for first with Camden and Jenkins.
"And the top three teams have all won at home," Hellgren said. "Camden lost at Jenkins, we lost at Camden and Jenkins lost to us at home. We have to beat Camden here at home and if we can beat Jenkins on their turf that would be huge."
The coach said the top three teams are battling head-to-head and the tie breaker could come down to runs scored.
"We have 10 runs on Jenkins, but Camden has 10 runs on us so it’s going to come down to the wire and we can’t slip up against one of the middle tier teams," he said. "Groves and Benedictine are teams that can beat us if we don’t play up to our abilities. We need to be ready to play in all our games."
The Tigers have a non-region game Monday hosting McIntosh Academy and will host region opponent Groves at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
"We are going to come out tomorrow (Saturday) and have a hard practice with a lot of running and a lot of defense and get ready for Monday and Tuesday. Tuesday is a big game against Groves," Hellgren said.
Against Johnson, pitcher Chris Rafferty got the start and win. Rafferty tossed all three innings, giving up one hit, two walks and he hit a batter.
The Tigers broke the game open early with six runs in the bottom of the first inning. Bradwell scored eight runs in the second to take a 14-0 lead and added a run in the third to end the game under the Georgia High School Association mercy rule.
Leonard Felton led things off in the first when he got on base and stole second. Eric Wells got the first out but it moved Felton to third and Alton Malpass walked. Jacob Dill singled in Felton and Garrett McCorkle was walked to load the bases.
Josh Driggers walked to put BI up 2-0 and Matt Brown drove in Malpass. With runners on second and third, Rafferty hit a two-run single to give the Tigers a 5-0 lead and BI added a run on an Atomsmashers error.
In the second inning, Malpass singled and stole second base. McCorkle drove in Malpass and wound up on second. Rafferty singled in a run and Felton hit one over the shortstop’s head to drive in two runs and put the Tigers on top 9-0.
Wells, Malpass, McCorckle and Driggers had hits to score runs and pad BI’s lead to 14-0.
In the bottom of the third, Rafferty got a base hit and moved to second on a Johnson error. Xavier John moved Rafferty to third with a single and Wells drove in the winning run.
If there was a negative, it wasn’t much of one. Tiger hitters only recorded three pop-up outs.
"Yeah we had some pop ups but overall it wasn’t as bad as I have seen in other games," Hellgren said. "But we still need to make sure we are hitting line drives and on the ground. That is our bread and butter and we got away from that a little bit today."