Still Looking For Momentum
Diamond Tigers Drop Non-Region, Region Contests During The Past Week
The Commerce baseball team (4-11, 3-6) experienced some erratic results this past week in its quest to get its season back on the right track.
The good news was that the Tigers returned to the region win column last Tuesday with a 10-7 win over Athens Christian.
The bad news was that they were trounced 15-3 against Oglethorpe County in a non-region contests the next time they took the field and were edged 5-2 by region foe Towns County Friday night, dropping the Tigers 8-A mark to 3-6 and putting them in tie with the Indians for seventh-place in the region.
Commerce was slated to rematch first-place Athens Academy this past Tuesday night but results were not available.
The Tigers, however, wont take the field again until this coming Tuesday when they face a slumping Prince Avenue team, giving them a week off from action.
Prince Avenue is only 4-4 in the region this year and Commerce has beaten two teams Athens Christian and Towns County which have topped the defending 8-A champions this spring.
After the contest with the Wolverines, the Tigers will have just five more contests this year, closing the regular season at Athens Christian on May 7.
On Thursday, besides a two-run, first inning homer by Hank Tiller, the highlights were few and far between for Commerce in its 15-3 loss to Oglethorpe in a mid-season non-region matchup.
Tillers blast gave the Tigers a short-lived 2-1 lead before the Patriots answered with 14 scores over the next five innings which included a two-run homer and a three-run homer from the Oglethorpe County bats.
Commerces only other run came bottom of the third when the Tigers loaded the bases on scored on a grounder after Oglethorpe County failed to convert a double play.
If nothing else, the Tigers were able to accomplish their objective of getting some of its lesser-used arms some work during the afternoon, using four pitchers.
Andy Briscoe made his first varsity start before making way for Beauchamp who came on in the second inning. Hank Tiller took the mound in the fifth inning and Caleb Jordan pitched the sixth.
The Patriots led 1-0 in the top of the first with an unearned run off a Tiger error in the outfield.
Commerce immediately erased that lead though with Jesse Smith walking and Tiller crushing the ball to the pine trees in center field.
But the scales tipped the Patriots way for good in the second inning with Oglethorpe scoring four times, highlighted by a long two-run homer to put it up 5-2.
The Patriots then added three scores in the top of the third, a three-run homer in the fourth, one run in the fifth and three more scores in the top of the sixth.
Banks County hosting all but one match in April
Hammers Glen is home to the Banks County Club Leopards and the course for this years region tourney, which will be held April 26.
Before the team plays at region, eight home matches will be played in Homer this month. Four games are over. Banks County won all of them. Coach Chuck Smith said hosting the region can give the team an advantage and he purposely scheduled his home matches at the end of the season to prepare the team.
The teams hosted Buford and Greater Atlanta Christian on Tuesday, April 13. They will travel to Smokerise Country Club on Thursday to play GAC again. The junior varsity will host Dawson County on Friday before traveling to Sandy Creek on Tuesday. The varsity teams will host Rabun and Providence on Tuesday, April 20. The final regular match of the season will be at home Thursday, April 22, against Union and Lumpkin counties.
The varsity Leopards defeated Elbert County by almost 30 strokes Tuesday, April 6, 164-190.
Tanner Goodson led the team with a low score of 39. Seth McCoy shot a 40. Jazz Hulsey had a 42. Chris Carter shot a 43. Josh Miller recorded a 44 and Jacob Fountain had a 45.
Matt Dale didnt play in Tuesdays match because he was playing in a two-day golf tournament at Jennings Mill.
Dale was back on Thursday for the match against Oglethorpe County. Banks County lowered their team score by two strokes from Tuesdays match and defeated the Patriots by 58 strokes, 162-220.
Dale had the low score for the day at one over par with a 37. Hulsey shot a 41. Miller had a 44. Seth McCoy, Goodson and Carter all shot 42s.
Banks Countys junior varsity golfers also defeated Oglethorpe on Thursday, 191-252.
Phillip Enslen had the low score for the jv with a 45. Saul McCoy shot a 48, Chris Erwin had a 49. Lee Okellys score was also averaged for the team.
The jv team fell to Athens Academy Friday at Hammers Glen.
Okelly had the low score of 43. Erwin recorded a 45. Enslen shot a 49 and one stroke behind was Zach Saxton with a 49.
The Lady Leopard golfers defeated Oglethorpe County as well. Janna Hobson had the low score for the ladies with a 53. Hannah White had a 57. Courtney Hawkins and Nicole Powell both shot 58s. Jessica Lewallen and Kayla Parks both had 62s. Ashley Shubert shot a 64 and Melinda Burnette shot a 68.
Dragons remain in region hunt
As far as region games go, Fridays showdown with first place Athens Academy will be the biggest to date for the Jefferson baseball team. And it appears the Dragons know it.
After struggling with a pesky Towns County team to win 7-6 in eight innings on a miserable Tuesday night, the Dragons (12-5, 7-3) made it past their potential look-ahead game and came out on top.
But, to knock off the Spartans on Friday, head coach Tommy Knight figures his team is going to have to do the one thing they failed to accomplish in the two squads prior meeting this season finish the game.
This is a big game for us as far as the region goes, Knight said. What we need to do is beat the teams were supposed to beat from here on out and hope we can sneak up on Athens Academy and Lakeview when we play them.
With six region games remaining in the regular season and the Dragons trailing both the Spartans and the Lions by a game and a half for first place, there is ample time to make up ground.
We need some help from some of the teams below us, but weve still got a shot at it, Knight said. With Social Circle and a surging Athens Christian squad both two games behind the Dragons for the fourth and final playoff spot, the stretch run of the regular season appears one that should play out tight.
Following Fridays 7 p.m. game in Athens, the Dragons also have key games against Prince Ave., Lakeview and a season finale at Social Circle left on the schedule. Any slip ups at Rabun Gap or Commerce will also need to be avoided in the coming weeks.
Tuesday though Knight was just happy to see his squad pull out a victory in less than ideal conditions that included a chilly 42-degree temperature, a howling wind and constant drizzle.
It was more like February weather, not April, Knight explained. Hopefully thats all behind us now.
Jefferson scored an unearned run in the bottom of the eighth inning at Horace Jackson Field to defeat the Indians by a run in the contest. Seth Potts worked a walk off Towns County pitcher Kyle Woody with one out in the inning. After a strikeout, he then advanced to second on a balk, Woodys second of the game. Senior Brian Wells hit a routine grounder to the shortstop, who then bobbled the ball, as Potts kept coming around third base. He was called safe on a bang-bang play at the plate to win the game.
Woody went the distance for the Indians., giving up five hits and four runs, all earned in the first inning, but then settled down and hold the Dragons to just four hits the rest of the game, giving up two more runs, both earned, until the eighth.
He finished with 10 strikeouts, but still came up a bit short.
Mark Price worked three innings for the Dragons to earn the win in relief of starter J.J. Brueshaber. Knight said Wednesday that Price would be the scheduled starter Friday at Athens Academy. He improved to 6-2 on the season with Tuesdays win, with an ERA under 2.00.
In other action from the past week:
Jefferson 2, ACS 7
Athens Christian pitcher Blake Haugen scattered nine Jefferson hits while yielding just two runs in a complete game win for the Eagles. For the game, Haugen had 10 strikeouts along with two walks. The Eagles were solid on defense, committing only one error, while the Dragons committed four. The Eagles only had four hits for the game, but used a double by Nick Dalton and a home run by Ryan Murphy, along with a slew of Jefferson mishaps to score five runs in the second inning. A pair of insurance runs in the fourth inning added to the lead. Jefferson was led at the plate by Seth Potts, who went 3-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. Six other Dragons had one hit a piece, but most were not in clutch situations. Jefferson left seven runners on base in the last four innings and nine total for the game.
Jefferson 13, Tri-County 5
Jefferson rebounded from Thursdays disheartening loss to Athens Christian by defeating non-region foe Tri-County in Buena Vista, Ga. 13-5 on Saturday. The Dragons scored three runs in the first inning before recording their first out. For the game, Jefferson banged out 16 hits, led by Brian Wells going 4-for-5, Seth Potts going 3-for-4 with five RBIs including a home run, J. Wood going 3-for-5 with three RBIs, Tyler Langford going 3-for-6 and scoring four runs, Prince Cruz going 2-for-5, and Andy Songer also homering.
Although 10 of the 13 Dragon runs on the day were earned, they were aided by six Eagle errors, but still left 12 runners on base. Mark Price got the win, going four innings, giving up two hits, and an unearned run, while recording five strikeouts. Cruz pitched the final three innings, yielding four runs on seven hits.
Panther road trip to start against first place Red Raiders
The Jackson County baseball squad has its work cut out for it this week.
Beginning today at Madison County, the Panthers will face three of the top five teams in the region standings, all on the road, in the span of a week.
The Red Raiders (12-4, 10-2 in Region 8-AAAA) have been as hot as any team in Northeast Georgia this season. Whats more, ace pitcher Ben Jeffers has already beaten Jackson County soundly in 2004. The junior threw a gem against the Panthers on March 19. He held Jackson County hitless and struck out 12 during an 11-0 trouncing in Jefferson.
Wednesdays meeting is especially important for the Red Raiders, as they are locked in a race with Newton for the top region spot. Heading into Tuesday, both teams were 10-2 in 8-AAAA play.
The meeting is also important for Jackson County because a win would help them get out of sole position in the regions cellar. The Panthers have just one win in region play while Eastside is a game ahead in the standings at 2-10 in region contests.
Following Wednesdays meeting in Danielsville, the Panthers make trips to third place Loganville for a double header Friday, followed by a game in Mt. Airy against Habersham Central the following Tuesday.
The Red Devils entered Tuesdays play at 8-4 in the region, while Habersham Central was 7-4.
Despite the setbacks a young Panther team has endured this season, head coach Scott Roberts continues to look forward to the future of his team. Regarding the remainder of the season, he appears ready to help his squad take on the role of spoiler in the region.
Were coming back after spring break and refocusing on fundamentals again, Roberts said Monday. These kids will bounce back and get something going the last part of the season.
The Panthers were knocked off three times during the last week, beginning with last Thursdays defeat at Clarke Central. The Gladiators pounded out 11 runs against Panther pitching and allowed just three. Ryne Williams and Robert McVay each went 1-for-3 on the day with an RBI and run scored apiece. Bryan Williams drove home the other Panther run of the day.
Last Friday, Jackson County dropped a pair of home games to Heritage during a double header. The Patriots were victorious in game one, 10-2, and won game two, 11-0.
Michael Mauldin was one of just a few Panthers to enjoyed solid games at the plate during the evening. He went 2-for-3 with a double in the first contest.
Other than that showing, no Jackson County batter had more than one hit in each game.
Diamond Raiders move to 10-2 in region after taking two against Eastside
It wasnt the perfect picture of Raiders baseball this past weekend, but this fact remains: Madison Countys wins over struggling Eastside mean the Raiders (12-4, 10-2) are still right on stride with Newton County in the race for the top spot in 8-AAAA.
Every game is not going to be like how you draw it up, but you find ways to win and weve been able to do that, Raider head coach Charlie Griffeth said.
Newton (11-2) was technically a half a game up on Madison County through Tuesday nights action since the Rams beat Heritage 6-4 and the Raiders contest with last-place Jackson County was rained out.
Madison County was to make the game up today.
As for Friday, the Raiders earned a sweep of the Eagles in a double header but it wasnt exactly an evening of light work at home against the lower-echelon 8-AAAA foe.
The Raiders edged the Covington outfit 3-1 in the opener thanks to an early homer and a strong pitching and then prevailed in the night cap 9-5 thanks to four long balls and a solid relief performance.
We didnt play that great but we didnt play that bad either, Griffeth said. We kind of lived by the home run. Weve hit sort of a midseason lull. Were not getting a lot of production. We are getting home runs but were not getting those four-hit