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Cullen, Wilson lead West baseball over Flowery Branch
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Flowery Branch’s Justin Seabolt is tagged out at home plate by West Forsyth catcher Josh Tate on Wednesday in Cumming. The Wolverines defeated the Falcons 15-6. - photo by Jared Putnam

Between the two of them, Chris Cullen and Alec Wilson seemed to find almost every gap in Flowery Branch's defense.

Add in the Falcons' self-inflicted wounds, and a game that was tied midway through the fifth inning quickly turned into a rout.

Cullen and Wilson, both juniors, each went 5 for 6 at the plate to help West Forsyth push nine unanswered runs home over the final three innings of a 15-6 victory against the Falcons on Wednesday at the Wolverines' field.

Cullen, a catcher who is verbally committed to South Carolina, finished the night with three doubles and six RBIs to lead West (6-1) to its second victory over Flowery Branch this season.

"I feel like right now everything is just clicking," Cullen said. "We've been playing some pretty good baseball lately. Hopefully we can keep that going throughout the season.

"Fortunately for me, my teammates were able to put me in position to succeed and balls fell where they needed to fall."

Three different Flowery Branch (3-3) pitchers combined for seven walks and two hit batsmen, while the defense committed three errors and made a mental mistake that led to another late run.

The Falcons escaped more than one jam with minimal damage through the first 4 1/2 innings, and entered the bottom of the fifth inning in a 6-6 tie thanks largely to a strong night from the top of the batting order.

Leadoff hitter Jonathan Hughes (2 for 3) and No. 2 hitter Justin Seabolt (3 for 3) combined to reach base a total of seven times in the game, while starting pitcher Dylan Gibeau helped himself by going 2 for 3 with 3 RBIs while batting cleanup.

Gibeau’s sacrifice fly in the first inning gave the Falcons an early 1-0 lead. He also delivered a run-scoring single in the third to tie the game at 3-3, and later tacked on an RBI double to deep center in the fifth to cut the West Forsyth lead to 6-5.

“We put ourselves in peril early with some walks and some errors,” Flowery Branch coach Scott Myers said.

“Early on we did a good job of wiggling out (of trouble) and keeping it close and I thought we swung the bat OK, but defensively we’ve just got to get better, that’s the bottom line.”

The Falcons had a chance for a much bigger inning in the fifth with the bases still loaded and nobody out after cutting the gap to 6-5. Instead, Wilson, who is verbally committed to Stanford, came on in relief and allowed only one more run, tying the game 6-6 going into the bottom of the inning.

Wilson recorded the final nine outs for West — seven of them via strikeout — to earn the win on the mound. He allowed two hits, two walks and no earned runs.

“Alec looked good coming in there in relief, that was good to see,” said West coach Mike Pruitt, who spent two years as an assistant baseball coach at Flowery Branch prior to becoming head coach of the Wolverines.

“He brings something special to that back end of the rotation. He’s (more than) a back-end (caliber) guy, but that’s what we’re going to use him as.”

It was all West from that point on.

Cullen led off the bottom of the fifth with a double that hit the third base bag and caromed into the outfield, before advancing to third and scoring on a pair of wild pitches.

That proved to be the only other run the Wolverines needed, but they added two more in the inning, including one on an RBI double by Mason McWhorter and another after the Falcons failed to attempt a potentially inning-ending double play with only one out.

West blew the game open with six more runs in the bottom of the sixth and finished the game with 17 hits.

“When you’ve got Alec, who is like 10 for his last 11 or something crazy like that, and Chris who is close to the same, when you get the No. 1 (hitter in the batting order) and No. 3 going like that you’re going to score some runs,” Pruitt said.

“We struggled early, more so on the defensive and pitching side, but our bats kept us one step ahead ... and (our guys) hit it pretty good that last inning and got us the cushion we needed. I’m proud of our hitters, they’re swinging the bat really well, seeing (the ball) really well and making good adjustments.”

West hosts Sprayberry at 1 p.m. on Saturday.