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A's fall to Canton in 10
Gainesville A’s Pitcher Josh Wright grimaces with back pain as he leaves the mound between innings of Tuesday evening’s game with Canton Post 45 at Ivey-Watson Field. - photo by Scott Rogers | The Times
Gainesville A’s head coach Clay Haynes was surprisingly pleased following its 15-9 loss to Canton Post 45 Tuesday night at Ivey-Watson Field.

Although the A’s (7-7, 4-1 area) were the eventual losers to their area rival, they made a complete turnaround in the bottom of the ninth, scoring seven runs to come from behind and force extra innings.

“I don’t know what happened,” Haynes said. “Something sparked us and made us really want to play that ninth inning. If we hadn’t shown up in that inning, we would’ve been really embarrassed.”

But the A’s couldn’t keep the momentum after that inning, giving up six unanswered runs in a four-hit, two-walk 10th inning for Canton.

“They have a lot of good athletes on their team,” Haynes said. “Somebody told me they had around four or five Division-I signees on their team.”

But Canton’s high-caliber talent didn’t completely shut the A’s down. North Georgia signee Zach
Bennett was 3-for-5 with a home run, a double and two RBIs and Valdosta State signee Patrick Henry had two doubles, a run and an RBI.

Cody Ackerman went 4-for-6 for the A’s. Blaine Martin had three hits and a run for Gainesville.

Although Henry was the losing pitcher in the 10th inning, he struck out five hitters in two innings despite seeing limited pitching time since graduating from Flowery Branch.

“Patrick is a great athlete and a great competitor,” Haynes said. “He’s one of those guys that is going to want the ball no matter what.”

Gainesville also had a strong starting appearance from Shorter signee Josh Wright, who struck out seven and allowed three runs in six innings pitched in his first start since playing for Team Georgia in the 2008 Sunbelt Invitational.

“Josh threw a great game today,” Haynes said. “I couldn’t be happier with his performance."
The A’s scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the first inning when Charlie Newman was hit by a pitch with the bases load to score Tyler Vaughn.

But Canton took their first lead of the night in the third inning off Jon White’s two-run home run. White finished the night 2-for-4 with a home run, a double, four runs and two RBIs.

Canton expanded their lead in the fifth when Nate Grammer scored on a wild pitch, but the A’s remained within one when Bennett hit an RBI double in the following inning.

Canton countered again in the seventh, stretching their lead to five off Adam Whitlock’s grand slam and Sean Hess’ RBI double. They would add another run in the ninth to take a 9-2 lead.

Looking to rally, the A’s opened the bottom of the ninth with Henry’s RBI double and Bennett’s home run, followed by Piedmont signee Zeb Miller’s walk and RBI singles from Lance Smallwood and Ackerman.

Tyler Vaughn and Henry then walked to score two more runs and tie the game 9-9, forcing extra innings.

But Gainesville couldn’t contain Canton in the 10th inning. After giving up Chaz Bagwell’s single and Brandon Cursing’s double, Grammer scored on Henry’s wild pitch. Henry then walked two hitters and
allowed an two-RBI double by Clint McNeal and a two-RBI single by Hess to allow six runs in the inning.

The A’s look to rebound when they visit Shelbyville, Tenn. this weekend. Their next home game is at 7 p.m. July 2 against Dawsonville.

“Hopefully we can take the intensity we had in the ninth and 10th innings and have it through the whole game next time,” Haynes said.
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