Area Sports...

April 17, 2002

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Diamond Leopards to host Apalachee
The Leopards’ playoffs hopes aren’t looking too good.
A couple of losses on the road over the past week has put Banks County (7-9, 4-7) in the hole as far as the postseason goes.
“I think we’re pretty much shut out,” head coach Mike Williams said. “Even if we win the rest of our games and finish the region 13-7, I don’t think that will get us in.”
Williams puts GAC, East Hall and Lumpkin in the top three spots, with Union and Dawson fighting for the number four seed.
Banks was scheduled to host Union Wednesday. Results were not available at press time.
Thursday, the Leopards will host Apalachee at 4:30 p.m. to make up a game that was rained out last week. They will travel to GAC on Friday and host White County Monday.
Last Monday, the Leopards fell 5-4 to Towns County in 11 innings.
Banks had several errors, giving up four unearned runs.
“It’s hard to win when you make that many defensive mistakes,” Williams said. “Hopefully, we are learning a little bit from this and seeing what type of character we have. We’ll just keep battling and see what happens.”
Banks fell 10-0 to Lumpkin in five innings last week. The Leopards had no hits in the loss.
“There’s not much you can say about that,” Williams said. “If you don’t hit, you dig yourself a hole defensively.”

Tigers Look To Stay Afloat In Region
Commerce Drops Two More Region Games After Picking Up First 8-A Win Last Week
The diamond Tigers will try to keep their heads above the region waters this week after being dealt back-to-back 8-A losses.
Commerce, whose record dipped to 1-3 in region play, will have two chances to redeem themselves this week with home contests against Wesleyan today (Wednesday) and Jefferson Monday.
The Tigers were downed by Buford 5-1 this past Wednesday and Lakeview 14-4 this past Monday.
In both setbacks, Commerce fell victim to late-inning collapses, giving up a combined 13 runs in the final two innings.
The squad trailed the Wolves 2-1 after five innings but gave up three runs in the sixth. Then, against Lakeview, the Tigers were locked up in a 4-4 tie with the Lions after five innings before getting blasted with 10 unanswered runs in the sixth and seventh innings.
Commerce’s rained-out Friday matchup with Tallulah Falls was made up Tuesday, but results weren’t available as of press time.
The diamond Tigers battled Lakeview punch-for-punch for the first five innings Monday, but the Lions administered the knockout blow over the final two in a 14-4 win over Commerce.
With the contest tied at four in the sixth, Lakeview struck for six runs during that inning to break the game open and then tallied four more in the seventh inning in picking up the region win.
Lakeview’s scoring barrage was a quick twist of fortune, however, for Commerce compared to the previous inning.
The Tigers looked to be the ones on the verge of breaking out offensively in the bottom of the fifth, putting the Lions in a bind with a score off a bases loaded walk and an RBI single from Sam Cutler to knot the game at four.
But the Lions mustered some timely defense to escape the inning without any further damage and also turn the game around.
After getting a line-out, in perhaps the turning point of the contest, Lakeview’s third baseman completed a double play by snagging a grounder, tagging third and cutting down Nick Cox at home to preserve the 4-4 tie.
Commerce’s pitching then began to struggle the following inning and that’s when the game started to fall apart for the Tigers as they surrendered three of the six runs in the sixth inning off bases loaded walks.
The other three came via an error in the infield, a wild throw on a force at home and a sacrifice fly to right field.
With a six-run edge in the seventh, the Lions then added four insurance runs with a two-run homer to center field, a bases loaded walk and an RBI single.
Early on, the matchup looked like it would turn out to be a lower scoring affair as the teams combined for only four runs in the first four innings.
After Lakeview scored an unearned run in the first inning, Commerce’s Craig Henderson drilled a solo shot over the left field fence to even the contest at 1-1.
Lakeview then went back ahead 3-1 after pushing a run home with a ground out at third and getting a two RBI single.
But Chad Jordan kept the Tigers a float in the bottom half of the inning with a solo home run to left center field.
The Lions then pushed their edge back out to two runs in the top of the fifth with a two-out bloop, RBI single.
Looking to inch their way up the region standing ladder, Commerce entered the sixth inning of their region contest with 8-A foe Buford locked in a 2-1 pitchers’ dual.
But instead of a late Tiger comeback in crunch time, Buford put the game away instead, responding with three scores in the inning on their way to taking a 5-1 win.
Both teams got on the board early in the contest with the Wolves getting a run in the top of the second with a bases load sacrifice fly while Commerce notched their first score with Craig Henderson taking home on a double steal.
Buford then manufactured another run in following inning, getting two singles, moving a runner to third off a ground out and bringing him home on another ground out, putting the Wolves up 2-1.
However, the offense took a back seat after that with neither team managing a base hit till Buford collected a single in the fifth inning.
Then came the pivotal sixth inning.
Buford got runners on with a lead off double and an infield hit and brought them home with a two-run single, pushing the Wolves’ lead out to a 4-1 edge. Buford then added an insurance score a batter later on a squeeze play, padding the lead at four runs.
Commerce then couldn’t answer Buford’s offense surge, getting only an infield hit in the sixth and then going down in order in the seventh.

Lady Panthers peaking as region meet nears
Place second in Jefferson Relays
Jackson County’s girls’ track and field team will participate Friday and Monday in the Region 8-AAA state qualifying meet at Winder-Barrow High School. Field events will begin at 1 p.m. Friday with track qualifiers following. Finals are scheduled for 4 p.m. Monday.
The boys’ region meet is scheduled for April 26 and 29.
The region meet couldn’t come at a better time for the Lady Panthers, who finished a strong second in Saturday’s Jefferson Relays. Jackson County scored 80 team points, well behind first-place St. Pius’ 135, but ahead of the rest of the 13-team field.
Crystal Yonce won the high jump by clearing 5 feet, 2 inches, and Melissa Lerette took top honors with a shot put of 32 feet, 8 inches.
Other place-winners were Karla Rainwater (fourth, 100 hurdles), Nickee DuBose (fifth, 100 hurdles; second, 300 hurdles), Carey Yonce (long jump), Candice Boyd (second, triple jump) and Lerette (third, discus).
The 4x100 and distance medley relay teams finished third, and the 4x200, 4x400 and sprint medley relay teams all placed fourth.
For the boys, Chuck Kubiak was second with the discus, and brother Chris placed fourth in the long jump. The sprint medley and distance medley relay teams both placed sixth.
“It was a pretty good day,” head coach Steve Collins said. “The girls placed second, and the boys broke some records, so we had a pretty good day. I was pleased with it. As we always like to see, we’re starting to peak right here around region week.”
Both the boys’ and girls’ teams were involved in tight team finishes Thursday against West Hall and Stephens County. The Panther boys came out on top in their fight with 65 points to Stephens’ 54 and West Hall’s 50, while the girls finished second with 68, behind West Hall’s 68 but ahead of Stephens’ 27.
Chuck Kubiak broke his own school record in the shot with a winning toss of 49 feet, 2.5 inches, and won the discus with a 148 foot, 8-inch throw. Chris Kubiak placed first in the long jump (20 feet, 5.5 inches), 800 meters (2:18) and 300 hurdles (43.0 seconds). Daniel Elder claimed two top finishes, on a 4:54 1600-meters and a 10:16 3200. The 4x400 relay team of Chris Kubiak, Kelly Parr, Adam Hughes and Travis Parks also won.
Finishing second were Chris McGeary (discus), Parks (high jump), Stephen Ogletree (pole vault), Parr (3200 and 1600), Hughes (400 meters) and Terrence Fitch (110 hurdles). Jayson Sweet was third in both the 110 and 300 hurdles.
Lerette won the shot (31-7) and discus (86-2), Crystal Yonce took the high jump (5 feet), DuBose won the 300 hurdles (53.0) and Nikki Sosebee claimed the 100 meters (13.0). The 4x100 relay team of Sosebee, Nicole Rizzo, Rashonda Jarrells and Emily Edwards won in 53.48 seconds, and the 4x400 squad of DuBose, Yonce, Yonce and Sosebee won with a time of 4:34.
Carrie Hammond was second with the shot and third with the discus, Carey Yonce was second in the long jump and 400 meters, Rainwater finished second in the 100 hurdles, Christina Nowak second in the 3200 and third in the 1600 and DuBose third in the 100 hurdles.
“We had seven personal bests Thursday,” Collins said. “Things really started coming together there. The girls are starting to fall in to their stride pretty well.”
Jackson County’s girls outlasted Franklin County 82-80 last Monday, also defeating Habersham Central and Commerce. Winners were Lerette (shot), DuBose (300 hurdles) and the 4x400 team.
Lerette (discus), Boyd (triple jump), Crystal Yonce (400), Sosebee (100 and 200), Rainwater (100 hurdles) and Nowak (3200) finished second, as did the 4x100 team.
Elder (3200) and Chris Kubiak (800) won for the boys. Chuck Kubiak (discus), Elder (1600), Sweet (110 hurdles), and Travis Parks (high jump and 200 meters) placed second, as did the 4x400 team of Hughes, McGeary, Parks and Kubiak.

Lady Dragons in region meet Monday, Tuesday
Coming off a strong performance in last weekend’s Jefferson Relays at home, the Lady Dragon track and field team will travel Monday and Tuesday to Wesleyan, to participate in the Region 8-A state qualifying meet. Field events are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. each day, with track events at 3 p.m.
Jefferson’s girls finished third among smaller schools Saturday, scoring 64 team points to finish behind a pair of defending state champions - Class A Landmark Christian (111) and Class AA Crim (105).
Annie Goza picked up the Lady Dragons’ sole gold medal of the event, after tossing the discus 105 feet, 1 inch. Katie Champlin was second in the pole vault, clearing a height of 7 feet. Champlin’s vault also set a new Jefferson Relays record for the newly-sanctioned girls’ event.
Also placing for Jefferson were Brittany Caudell (sixth, 100 meters; third, 100 hurdles), Audrey Johnson (fifth, 300 hurdles; third, high jump), Vanessa Greenwood (third, long jump; sixth, triple jump), Kristen Bryant (third, shot) and Michelle Boring (fourth, discus). Jefferson also finished fourth in the 4x200 relay, third in the 4x400 and fifth in both the sprint medley and distance medley relays.
Jefferson’s boys took fourth in the meet, behind 2001 Class AA state runner-up Washington-Wilkes, defending Class A state champion Landmark Christian and defending Class AA state champion Crim.
Courtney Wiley won the long jump with a leap of 22 feet, 7 inches, and took second in the 100 meters.
Other placers included Travis Reed (fourth, 110 hurdles; sixth, 300 hurdles), Stephen Wiley (sixth, triple jump), Corey Mack (third, high jump), Blake Gooch (second, pole vault), Jason Martin (fourth, shot and discus) and Andrew Chambers (fifth, shot and discus). The team also finished fourth in the 4x100 and 4x200, third in the 4x400, second in the sprint medley and sixth in both the distance medley and 4x800.
Jefferson will host region foes Wesleyan and Buford Thursday, and the boys’ team will be back in action next Wednesday at home against Riverside and Washington-Wilkes before hosting the boys’ region meet April 29 and 30.

Lady Raider win over Monroe Fri. could seal up playoff spot
One victory stands between the Lady Raiders and the region playoffs—mabye.
The Madison County girls’ soccer team will face Monroe Area Friday night on the road at 7 p.m. in a game that could seal a postseason bid if the team wins and the numbers end up right in region’s complex points-based standings system.
The four teams in the region tallying the most points in the regular season will advance on to the 8-AAA tournament next week.
But head coach Andy Felt warned that there’s still a possibilty that another team could slip past the Lady Raiders in the ratings, even if they do prevail Friday.
However, that scenario isn’t likely.
“It could work out weird, but in all probability, we should be in if we beat Monroe,” he said.
Numbers and points aside, this much is clear: Madison County has to take care of business Friday to have a chance to fulfill their preseason goal of advancing to the playoffs.
“We have to show up and play our best,”’ Felt said. “We’re not going to be able to go out and give less than 100 precent and win.”
Felt said his team is due for a breakout game after a season full of close contests.
“The talent is there,” he said. “But there have been nights that we’ve had some close games and others that we haven’t played that well.”
The team will need to have a peak performance against the Monroe Area squad who already downed Madison County earlier this year. Based on the first contest, the Purple Hurricanes perhaps matchup with the Lady Raiders. On March 8, the two teams ended 40 minutes of regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods deadlocked at 0-0. Monroe Area then tipped the scales in the penalty kick period, outscoring Madison County 4-2 to take the win.
Felt hopes his team will be the hungrier outfit this time.
“I’m hoping we can build some momentum during the week,”
“The desire is there to go far this year, and I’m hoping that we can hang around and go far this year.”
JV team will head into Friday’s match up with the JV Purple Hurricanes with a 9-0 mark, looking to complete a perfect season.
The two teams will square off at 5 p.m.
The Lady Raider didn’t light up the scoreboard Tuesday against first-year program Franklin County, but got a step closer to qualifying for postseason play with their fourth region win of the year with a 4-0 victory.
“I was glad to see us get the region win we needed,” Felt said. “We could have played better and the score should have been higher. But we were able to experiment with some new positions.”
The team started off stong in the contest, getting three first half goals. Candace Smith notched the first score off an assist from Jessica Chambers followed by Mandy Perry scored a goal off an assist from Jamie Fitzpatrick. Then with only 15 second left in the first half, Amy Beck supplied the third goal of contest off a corner kick from Jessica Bentle.
The team was then held to a single score after intermission, with the team’s last goal coming from Bentle off an assist from Jessica Chambers midway through the second half.
“We came out a bit flat,” Felt said of the team’s second half play.
The Lady Raiders didn’t take home a win Monday night against AAAA Habersham Central, but Felt said he hoped the loss was “an educational experience” against a outfit which the coach described as a solid team which boasted a lot of team speed.
“Mistakes cost us, but I hoped it improved us with Monroe coming up,” Felt said.
The first half ended scoreless, but Habersham went to work offensively after intermission, notching four goals. At the same, Madison County stayed cold offensively.
“We weren’t able to shut down their forwards and we didn’t create any opportunities up front,” Felt said.
The Lady Raiders notched their only goal in the final minutes of the contest with Megan Holloman chipping in a shot from midfield.
The Lady Raiders’ nabbed a crucial region win Friday night, pulling out a 1-0 victory over Eastside in Covington.
The first half ended scoreless, but Madison County picked up the lone score of the night from Smith in the second half.
The score was set up after Kelli Fitzpatrick launched a long shot which Eastside’s goalie was able to get a hand on. Smith the came in and followed up the shot to break the scoreless tie.
Felt praised the play of two Lady Raider defenders in the low-scoring affair.
“Deidre Davis had a good game and Amanda Lewis did a good job at midfield,” he said.
The Lady Raiders dropped a key region game in heartbreaking fashion, falling 2-1 in overtime last Tuesday.
Bentle gave the squad an early lead with a first-half goal, but Loganville knotted the contest at one in the second period and added the deciding score in the first overtime period.
“We had a hard time keeping our footing in the game,” Felt said. “We weren’t getting a good handle on the ball.”

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