The Apalachee High School baseball team is using this week as a final tune-up going into region play.

The Wildcats (7-3) fell to Franklin County 4-1 on the road Monday, March 9, despite a strong pitching effort by Hunter Parks. In six innings of work, Parks had six strikeouts while scattering four runs.

At the plate, Chris Miller and Colby Sikes were both 2-for-3. It was the second loss this season for AHS to Franklin County.

While disappointed with Monday’s loss, Apalachee coach Allan Bailey said he likes how his team is playing overall as the GHSA Region 8-AAAAAA schedule gets closer on the horizon.

Prior to Monday’s contest, AHS recorded two wins on Saturday, March 7, sweeping visiting Alcovy High School of Covington in a doubleheader. AHS won the first game 11-1 before taking the second one 10-7.

“I was really pleased with how we did in the doubleheader,” Bailey said. “We hadn’t been able to be on the field much due to the weather. We are very pleased with the indoor facilities we have but you can only do so much work inside. You simply can’t simulate everything you will see on the field.”

Manning West earned the win in the opener, working three innings and striking out four. The sophomore did not allow a run.

At the plate, Jordan “Bam” Wilson was 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Wilson connected for a double and a triple.

Ethan Middlebrooks was 2-for-3 while AJ Forbing was 1-for-3 with a two-run double.

Jesse Greenway was the winning pitcher in the second game for Bailey’s team. Parks was 2-for-4 with three RBI while Sikes was 2-for-4. Forbing was also 2-for-4 and drove in three runs.

Nate Hodnett was 3-for-4 in the second contest with three RBIs.

AHS collected 24 hits in the two games against Alcovy.

“The great thing is we are a young team,” Bailey said. “We had four sophomores on the field for the doubleheader. It is good to see our young talent blossom. In the four years I have been here, we have played our kids early. It is paying off now.”

The Wildcats are scheduled to host Oconee County on Wednesday, March 11, for a non-region contest and Bethlehem Christian Academy on Friday, March 13, for Senior Night. Both games are set to begin at 5:30 p.m.

Bailey said his program works with BCA during the offseason and is glad to help develop the local rivalry.

“Many of the players for the two teams go to church together,” Bailey said. “It adds to the excitement of playing against each other.”

AHS begins region play Monday, March 16, at Habersham Central for the start of a three-game series, with first pitch at 5:55 p.m.

Going into region play, Bailey said his team is excelling in all three phases, from pitching to defense to offense. The coach said he also likes the quality performance of the team’s bullpen.

After qualifying for the postseason for the first time in program history last spring, the Wildcats are looking not only to get back to the postseason, but to host a playoff series.

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