Area Sports...

April 24, 2002

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Leopards pound White
Banks downs Warriors 12-2 in five innings. The Leopards have not had much luck in the region lately. But Monday, they bounced back in a big way.
Banks (9-11, 6-9) put a hurting on White County, downing the Warriors 12-2 in five innings.
Though the Leopards got a much-needed win, their playoff hopes still look dismal. Banks has only five games to go. A perfect season from here on out would give the Leopards an 11-9 region mark, just short of what they will probably need to make the region playoffs.
Banks is set to host East Hall Friday at 5 p.m. Monday; they travel to Riverside before finishing up next week.
In the meantime, Banks can relish in its big win earlier this week.
“We started swinging our bat with a little authority,” head coach Mike Williams said. “We were hitting the ball harder.”
Banks scored three runs in the third, seven in the fourth and two in the fifth inning in the win.
Junior Ross Oliver led the team offensively, going two for two with five RBIs and a grand slam. He was also hit by a pitch twice.
Tyson Baxter continued to climb out of his early season hitting slump, going two for three from the plate. Alex Cruce also had two hits in the wins.
Chris Denton added a sacrifice RBI.
Kyle Duncan went all five innings on the mound for the Leopards. He bagged eight strikeouts and gave up only two hits and one earned run.
“Kyle threw the ball well,” Williams said.
Friday, the Leopards fell 10-0 to GAC in five innings.
Last Thursday, Banks slammed Apalachee 17-2.
Cruce led the team with three hits and three RBIs.
The day before, Banks fell 11-1 to Dawson County. Oliver, Cruce, Denton, Dereck McKinzie and Corey Sims all had hits.

Roller Rolls On To State Meet
Anna Rollers’ stellar senior season will have one more chapter left in it.
Roller, who’s been a dominant distance runner all spring long for the track Tigers, qualified Monday for the state track meet in Albany by placing second in the 1600-meter race at the girls’ Region 8-A at Wesleyan with a time of 6:00.
Through Monday’s action, Roller was the only member of the girls’ squad to advance to the state.
Both Roller and teammate Jessica Ward were slated to run Tuesday in the 3200-meter event. However, results weren’t available as of press time.
The only other Lady Tiger scoring at region was Stephanie Rainwater who finished fifth in the 1600-meters with a time of 6:38.
Overall, Commerce’s girls concluded the first day of the meet with 10 points.
While their efforts might not have translated into points at the region meet and passes to state, Tiger track coach Terry Canup said the girls’ team has come a long way since the beginning of the season.
“The girls have worked hard,” he said. “Everybody’s performance improved, they just weren’t state qualifying scores. But they had a good season.”
Attention will turn to the boys’ team next week as their region meet will be held in Jefferson next Monday and Tuesday.
According to Canup, three Tigers have shot at making it to Albany.
Throwers Tommy Eason and Kenny Flint will be state hopefuls in the shot put and discus while Gary Saxon has a shot in either the 1600- or 3200-meter events.
“They’re our best chances to score and go on to state,” he said.
The Tiger track teams concluded the regular season portion of their schedules this past week competing at Jefferson last Tuesday and Gainesville this past Thursday.
Throwers Eason and Flint were the Tiger standouts in the field events while Saxon led the way for the boys’ team on the track during Thursday’s meet in Gainesville.
The team finished with 15 points.
Eason took first in the discus with a throw of 133’1 and second in the shot put with a toss of 38’11” while Flint nabbed second in the discus with a throw of 119’ and took forth in the shot put with a throw of 37’8.”
Saxon placed third in both distance events, finishing the 1600-meter race with a time of 5:23 and a time of 11:32 in the 3200-meter event.
Roller placed three times to lead the girls’ squad Thursday, nabbing first in the both the 3200-meter race (14:18) and the long jump (14’5”) while finishing second in the 1600-meter event.
Susan Simmons complimented Rollers’ day with a first-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles (18.55 seconds) along with second place finishes in the 300-meter low hurdles (61.2 seconds) and the long jump (13’3”).
Mary Beth Howington also added points for the girls’ team, taking third in the 200-meter race (31.51 seconds) and the shot put (22’10”).
The girls’ team tallied 34 points in the meet.
Saxon was the lone scorer for the boys against the Dragons last Tuesday with first place finishes in the 1600- and 3200-meter races with times of 5:05 and 11:51.
On the girls’ side, Roller provided he team’s only points, taking first in the 3200-meters with a time of 14:05 and second in the 1600-meter event with a time of 6:18.

Nine area girls qualify for state track meet
Jefferson to send four individuals, one relay team. Region track meets concluded earlier this week, and nine area girls will be heading to Albany next week after finishing among the top two in their respective region events.
Crystal Yonce will represent Jackson County in the Class AAA high jump, and teammate Nickee DuBose qualified in the 300-meter hurdles. See related story on this page.
Commerce Lady Tiger Anna Roller will participate in the Class A 1600-meter run.
Jefferson’s Lady Dragons will send the largest contingent to Albany – four individuals and a relay team.
Jefferson finished third in the Region 8-A team standings, scoring 100.5 points behind Providence (169.5) and Wesleyan (111).
Vanessa Greenwood won the long jump competition and finished second in the 100-meter dash. Greenwood is also a member of the 4x400 relay team that finished second. Others on that squad are Brittany Caudell, Audrey Johnson and Michelle Boring.
Also earning second-place finishes and thus qualifying for the state meet were Annie Goza (discus), Katie Champlin (pole vault) and Caudell (100-meter dash).
Others placing in the region meet included Goza (3rd, shot put), Caudell (3rd, 400 meters), Champlin (3rd, 100 meters and 200 meters), Boring (4th, discus and 400 meters), Johnson (4th, high jump), Kristen Bryant (5th, shot put), Savannah Porter (5th, 3200 meters), Molly Cleveland (6th, triple jump), Lauren Guzman (6th, 800 meters) and Karen Roberts (6th, high jump).
The 4x100 relay team of Tylia Hunter, Sara Holden, Goza and Boring finished fourth, as did the 4x400 team of Holden, Guzman, Roberts and Cleveland.
The Lady Dragons closed their regular season last week with wins over Banks County and Buford, and a loss to Wesleyan.
Jefferson won four events in the meet: the discus (Goza), shot put (Goza), pole vault (Champlin) and 4x400 relay (Champlin, Caudell, Roverts, Boring).
Also placing in the meet were Boring (2nd, discus; 3rd, shot), Bryant (4th, discus; 3rd, shot), Caudell (4th, long jump; 2nd, 100 meters and 400 meters), Champlin (4th, 200 and 100 meters), Johnson (3rd, high jump; 5th, 300 hurdles), Holden (5th, 100 hurdles), Porter (4th, triple jump; 2nd, 800 meters) and Stephanie Boring (3rd, 800 meters).
Jefferson won 12 events and set seven new personal-best marks in wins last week over Commerce and Athens Academy.
Greenwood was a three-time winner (long jump, triple jump, 200 meters), and set a new personal-best mark of 28.6 seconds in the 200. Johnson also won three events (high jump, 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles).
Other winners included M. Boring with a personal-best of 93’ 7” in the discus, Bryant with a personal best of 28’ 10.5” with the shot, Champlin (100), Caudell with a personal best of 64.9 seconds in the 400, the 4X400 relay team of Caudell, Greenwood, Johnson and Boring, and the 4X100 relay team of Chmplin, Roberts, Caudell and Greenwood with a personal best of 54.92 seconds.
Other personal bests were turned in by Boring (67.41 400 meters) and Roberts (4’ 6” high jump).
Turn to Page 4B for Jefferson boys’ track results.

Raiders red-hot in late April again
Second-place Madison County enters crucial region stretch on heels of five-game winning streak. If the rejuvenated diamond Raiders have been experiencing a bit of de ja vu lately, there’s a reason.
They’ve definitely been a warm ball club in late April before.
Red-hot Madison County will carry a 9-4 region record and a five-game winning streak into this week’s crucial contests against region-leading Loganville, third-place Winder-Barrow and second-place Stephens County.
Flash back to last year.
The team took an identical 9-4 mark and six-game winning streak into the same critical stretch.
“We’re playing with some confidence now,” Griffeth said. “We’ve got some kids hitting and the defense is playing a whole lot better.”
Like the 2001 outfit, Madison County comes into the stretch carrying a big stick, scoring 55 runs over the last five games, an average of 11 per contest.
Griffeth said he really didn’t have an explanation for the sudden turnaround.
“I don’t know,” he said. “We were struggling offensively coming into the Hart County game. We hit it there and it carried over. I guess it’s kind of contagious....It kind of snow balls.”
Madison County hopes the comparisons with last year’s success continue in their matchup with the Red Devils.
Last year, the Raiders toppled high-flying Loganville and ace fire baller Brandon Moss 4-2 thanks to an eighth-inning, two-runner homer by Chad Youngblood.
However, this year’s edition of the diamond Red Devils appears to be even more imposing than last year’s, boasting a 13-0 mark in the region and an 18-3 record overall. On top of that, the Red Devils are currently riding a school-best 17-game winning streak.
“They’ve got good pitching and good hitting,” Griffeth said
But Loganville will be just the first test in a huge week of baseball for Madison County.
If the Raiders are to hold their spot in the top four of the region standings, they’ll have to take care of the upstart Winder-Barrow Bulldoggs again, who’ve turned heads this year with an 8-5 region mark, and then traditional powerhouse Stephens County, which the Raiders currently share second place with.
However, if the past five games are any indication, Madison County is as up for the rough stretch as any outfit in 8-AAA. The team topped Hart County April 11, pounded improved Franklin County (which beat Eastside) 11-3 April 15, got even with Monroe Area in a 17-6 romp this past Wednesday, picked up a win over dangerous Elbert County 6-5 this past Friday and drilled Jackson County 9-2 this past Monday.
And this week’s three-game stretch is especially crucial since only two games remain after it—Eastside on May 1 and Hart County May 3.
Though the team has taken much of the same path as last year’s team, if there’s a point where the Raiders would like to end the comparisons to 2001, it’s the final stretch.
After last year’s win over Loganville, the team lost their last four contests to miss out on the state playoffs.
“We were in the same position last year and we lost the last four,” Griffeth said. “We’ve got to figure out what happened then and we just need to come out and play.”
A four-run second inning helped the red-hot Red Raiders distance themselves from the cellar-dweller Jackson County Monday in an 9-2 win in Danielsville.
The Panthers led 2-0 early, but Madison County snuffed out the Jackson County spark, answering with two scores in the bottom of the first before breaking the game open in the second.
The Raiders then tacked on insurance runs in the third, fourth and sixth in the seven-run win.
Adam Nash took care of things from the mound, working five innings, surrendering eight hits, two runs, one walk and striking out three in the win.
The Panthers, winless in Region 8-AAA (0-13), posed an early threat to Madison County’s four-game winning streak, getting a pair of scores in the opening inning off a Brad Pittman sacrifice bunt and a Drew Cantrell RBI single.
But the lead turned out to be short-lived.
Seagraves and Dinsmore answered the Jackson County scores with a pair of RBI singles to knot the contest at two.
Madison County then put the game in cruise control after the second, with four two-out runs to push the lead to 6-2.
Seagraves was responsible for the first score of the inning, driving in his second run of the night with an RBI single. Travis Calloway followed later with a double, pushing home two more runs. Burkhalter then capped the spurt with a two-run single to give Madison County a four-run edge.
The lead grew to five the following inning with Power bring home a run on a sacrifice fly while Dinsmore didn the same in the fourth inning to push the lead to 8-2.
The Raiders’ final run of the night came in the sixth inning with pinch runner James Smith scoring on a wild pitch.
An Elbert County three-run homer in the top of the seventh wiped out a three-run Raider lead, but Madison County stormed back in the bottom of the inning to win 6-5 and extend its winning streak to four games, whle improving to 8-4 in the region.
Brent Burkhalter provided the late heroics for the Raiders, nailing a shot over the left fielder’s head to score pinch runner Tony Tittle from second for the game-winning run.
“I thought it was a regular fly to left,” said Burkhalter about his game-winning hit, adding that he had momentarily forgotten that the outfield was playing in to cut off the winning run at home.
The sophomore also picked up the win in the contest, recording two outs in the top of the seventh after Elbert County had knotted the score at five against reliever Michael Young, who surrendered three hits, three runs and walk while striking out one.
Starter Dustin Dinsmore turned in another solid performance on the mound, fanning seven batters, walking three and allowing two runs.
Elbert County took an early 2-0 lead, scoring two runs on a two-out, two-strike single in the top of the second. But Madison County retaliated with a four-run rally in the bottom of the inning.
Stephen Seagraves led off with a single. Travis Calloway smacked a hard single to left. An errant Elbert throw allowed Seagraves to score and Calloway to advance to third. Pinch runner Tony Tittle then scored on a sacrifice fly by Burkhalter. A bunt down the third base line by Chris Burroughs then scored Cody Threlkeld and Jonathan Pou nailed a run-scoring double down the right field line to score Adam Nash and give the Raiders a 4-2 lead. Madison County padded the lead to 5-2 with a run in the fourth.
If there were any bad memories lingering from Madison County’s 10-7 loss to Monroe Area March 25 where they squandered a six-run lead, they were wiped away Wednesday.
Madison County both picked up needed region and exacted a measure of revenge in a 17-6 pasting of Monroe Area on the road.
The 17 runs matched the team highest offensive output of the season since scoring that many on March 22 when they trottled Franklin County 17-0
Thanks to a 10-run second inning, the Raiders broke out to a comfortable lead early and coasted behind the solid relief pitching of senior Stephen Seagraves who surrendered no runs in five innings of work.
Down by two runs after an inning play, the Raiders sent 13 batters to the plate in the top of the second inning, turning a close game into a route as they pushed their lead to 11-3.
Conrad Carey drove in the first run of the inning with a bloop single followed by another score thanks to an infield error on a grounder from Jonathan Pou, tying the game at three.
Trey McCay then put the team ahead with an RBI single followed by a two-run base single to widen the gap to 6-3.
Madison County added their seventh run of the night off a Monroe Area error followed by a bases loaded single by Dustin Dinsmore to pad the advantage at five runs.
Then with two outs and the bases loaded, Carey rubbed even more salt in the Purple Hurricanes wounds, cleaning the bases with a three-run double down the right field line, giving him four RBIs in the inning and pushing the lead to eight runs.
Monroe Area attempted to answer the Raiders’ big inning with a rally of their own in the bottom half of the second, striking for two runs off two hits and two errors to cut the lead to 11-5 and knock starting pitcher Brent Burkhalter out of the contest.
However, Seagraves entered the game with the bases loaded and only one out and snuffed out the fire.
The senior pitcher got a groundball out which allowed a runner to score, closing the gap 11-6. The run was not charged to Seagraves however. Seagraves then ended the inning by forcing a flyout.
Madison went back to work offensively, shrugging off the shaky inning, and took a 12-6 lead off an RBI single from Travis Calloway in the third.
The Raiders then struck for three more runs in the fifth off an RBI double from McCay, an infield error by Monroe and a fielder’s choice, putting the team up 15-6.
Madison County got even more insurance with McCay scoring on a wild pitch in the seventh followed by Cody Therkeld coming home off an error at third.

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