By Devin Golden
TUNNEL HILL — Wade Terrell knew his Northwest Whitfield High School teammates eventually would pile up runs and make his day on the mound a little easier.
The pitcher just had to start the scoring spree himself.
Terrell’s RBI double launched a five-run fifth inning as the Bruins won 12-2 at home against their intracounty rivals, the Southeast Whitfield Raiders.
Heading into the fifth, Northwest (13-3, 8-0 Sub-region 7B-4A) led 4-2 and had four hits off Southeast (4-11, 1-7) starting pitcher Tyler Hale.
“We weren’t swinging at good pitches or being very patient,” Northwest coach Todd Middleton said of the first four innings. “We did start going with the pitch a little bit more and adjusting.”
After Seth Pierce walked with one out and advanced to second on a wild pitch, Terrell drove a double into the right-center field gap to score his teammate. Two batters later, Andy Whisenant singled for the first of five consecutive Bruins hits.
“I think it was just adjusting to that pitcher,” Terrell said. “Taking it to right field instead of trying so much to pull. We started hitting it to right field and then started getting some stuff to pull.”
The Bruins led 9-2 heading into the sixth, when they scored three runs to finish the game via run rule. The win is Northwest’s ninth straight and keeps the squad level in the loss column with rival Dalton, which is 9-0 in league play. The two teams play a three-game series next week, but the Bruins and Raiders still play once more this week, finishing the series Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Southeast.
“All we’re doing is looking to Friday,” Middleton said. “We have another game with Southeast and have to take care of business. We won’t talk about next week until after that.”
Northwest scored in the first when Diego Peralta’s double drove in Brandon Smith, who led off with a walk. The Bruins rallied with two outs in the third, scoring twice off back-to-back bases-loaded walks.
“Our pitching depth isn’t very deep,” Raiders coach Brad Lofton said. “I thought we came out swinging the bats good. The pitchers just have to come in and throw strikes. I thought Tyler started off well. They just started hitting him in the later innings.”
In the fourth, Southeast used two errors and a single to score twice and cut the deficit to 3-2, putting pressure on Terrell and the Bruins. In the bottom half of the inning, Smith’s sacrifice fly to deep center field drove in Kyle Brock and added the first insurance run.
“I knew the offense would pick me up,” Terrell said. “In the next inning, we scored four off Hale and got some more off (reliever Zack Ramsey).”
Terrell pitched all six innings, allowing no earned runs off four hits and three walks. He struck out five.
Smith scored three times and drove in two runs. Brady Middleton went 3-for-4 with three runs and an RBI. Peralta was 3-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored. Edwin Hernandez went 2-for-5, including a walk-off RBI single in the sixth inning to clinch a victory.
For Southeast, Hale pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowing six earned runs off seven hits and five walks. Ramsey threw the final 1 1/3, allowing four runs off five hits and three walks. He struck out one.
Jose Vargas, who took a foul ball to the ankle in the fourth inning and continued playing with a noticeable limp, scored once. Pedro Vargas scored the other run and finished 2-for-3, while Noah Ramsey drove in a run.