By Roy Fuoco
BARTOW — On a night when Bartow honored the 1997 state championship, the best thing the Yellow Jackets could say about the show they put on Friday night in the Class 8A, District 11 title game was that they won.
Bartow’s 5-4 victory over George Jenkins was an uncharacteristic error-filled game, and both teams need to clean up their play if they’re to make a postseason run.
Bartow committed five errors, including two in the final inning that led to some last-minute drama. George Jenkins also had five errors, all of which led to runs.
“I told them, if you could have made it any more difficult, I don’t know how you could,” Bartow coach Donna Byars said. “Definitely, it wasn’t one of the greatest outings. The key thing is you fight through it, and you don’t pout about.”
Trailing 2-0, Bartow chased George Jenkins starter Emily Cornelius in the third inning. Cornelius got the starting nod over Reagan More, in a move that surprised Byars.
Destiny Breeden and Owen Taylor led off the third by reaching on errors, and Haley Williamson singled to load the bases. Ashton Owen then tied the score with a two-run single. Sabrina Long later gave Bartow a 4-2 lead with two-run single.
George Jenkins made it 4-3 in the fifth when Paityn Moore doubled to lead off the inning then scored on Janessa Plummer’s two-out single.
Bartow answered in the bottom of the fifth with what proved to be the winning run when Long singled to lead off the inning then scored when the Eagles committed two errors on an infield grounder by Jaden Williamson. It was a big run as the Eagles’ Olivia Davis led off the top of the seventh by reaching on an error and later scored on Bartow’s final error, but Williamson retired Tori Velez to end the game.
Both teams were on the wrong end of a controversial calls at the plate. In the second inning, Bartow’s Ashleigh Robinson was called out for leaving early when she looked to score on a sacrifice fly. Byars argued the call that could have cut Jenkins’ lead to 2-1.
In the fifth, Jenkins’ Drew Pope was called out at home for running outside the baseline on what would have tied the score 4-4. Jenkins coach Jeff Lang declined comment after the game.