Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local Sports

May 29, 2014

Raiders title hopes spoiled by defending champs in Final Four

Tattnall pitching cools Southland’s hot bats in shutout

MACON — Tattnall Square Academy is no stranger to success in the sport of baseball. In 2012 and 2013, the Trojans ended their season by hoisting the GISA Class AAA State Championship trophy. Southland Academy’s Raider baseball team was hoping to end that title run on Saturday on the Trojans’ home field, but after dropping the opening contest 13-0, the Raiders saw their tremendous 2014 season come to an end with an 11-0 loss in the second game.

As the series began, Southland found themselves in a tough spot right off the bat. After being retired in order by Tattnall ace Taylor Ferringer in the top of the first inning, the Raiders fell behind 5-0 in the bottom of the frame. Southland nearly escaped the opening inning with just three runs allowed, but a dropped third strike that was thrown over first baseman Hunter Weldon’s head with two outs allowed Tattnall to add two more unearned runs to their total.

The Raiders got their first hit in the top of the second inning on a one out single by Weldon, but Tattnall’s good fortune continued as they induced a ground ball to start a double play and end the frame.

Tattnall began to add on to their margin in the bottom of the third thanks to an RBI double by Ian Herndon and an RBI single by Cole Gaylord. After forcing another double play in the top of the fourth inning, the Trojans put the finishing touches on the win in the bottom of the fourth with six hits and six runs to extend their lead to 13-0.

Despite a frozen-rope single by senior Ford Roach in the top of the fifth inning, Southland could not avoid the ten-run mercy rule, and the game ended with the Trojans claiming a victory by the same 13-0 score.

Over their five innings, Southland collected just three hits. Geoffrey McDonald earned his way into the hit column with a single in the top of the third, joining Weldon and Roach. For Tattnall, Blake Simmons led the way with three hits, and Gaylord had three RBIs. Herndon, Dakota Long, and Cory Bartholomew all had two RBIs apiece.

On the mound, McDonald was took the loss after starting the game on the hill for Southland. Allen Gleeson and Hoyt Gurley also made appearances for the Raiders on the bump. For Tattnall, Ferringer went all five innings and struck out seven batters to earn the win.

In game two, Tattnall took over the role as the visiting team, and once again they struck early against the Raiders. Thanks to a triple by Nick DiPonzio and a sacrifice fly by Simmons, the Trojans were able to put the first run of the game on the board in the top of the first.

Tattnall doubled their lead with another sacrifice fly in the top of the second inning, but the big damage came the following inning for the Trojans. In the top of the third, Tattnall scored three runs thanks to a Southland error and a passed ball to extend their lead to 5-0.

The Trojans doubled up their score again in the top of the fifth inning to put their lead past the 10-run advantage once again. RBI singles from DiPonzio, Simmons and Long made the score 9-0, and Parker Faircloth put the finishing touches on the series-clinching win with a two-RBI double to make the Tattnall lead 11-0. Bartholomew ended the game on the mound for the Trojans by retiring Southland in order in the top of the fifth inning.

In Southland’s final game of the year, Weldon led the Raiders with two hits in two trips to the plate. Reed Dillard had the only other hit for Southland in the heart-breaking loss. On the day, Weldon collected half of Southland’s six total hits with one in the first and two in the second game.

Despite a tough ending to the season, Southland still had tremendous year in 2014. The Raiders won two playoff series’ including their first series at home in several years against Bulloch Academy. Southland advanced to the Final Four for the first time since 2007, and they return a lot of talent next season.

“It was an awesome year and we had a good time with it,” said Southland head coach John Brady. “They got a lot of encouragement from around town and there was a lot of exposure for our program and school.”

There is little doubt that seniors Allen Gleeson, Adam Shutters, Jon Adkins, and Ford Roach will definitely be missed in Southland’s lineup next year, according to Brady.

“Those guys are great leaders,” he said. “Jon and Adam were voted as team capitans by their teammates, so that says all you need to know about them. Ford and Allen also got a lot of votes, and all four of them worked hard, showed up every day, knew their roles, and most importantly they played really well this season. I couldn’t ask for a better group.”

With a solid core of leadership and talent returning, the Raiders should be right in the thick of the hunt for a state championship once again in 2015, despite playing in a new-look Class AAA next season.

“It is going to be very tough with the new seven-team region alignment next year,” Brady said. “We are going to work hard and make another run at it next year though. I do want to tip my cap to Tattnall. They have a great team, and we didn’t play particularly well, but that had a lot to do with how talented they are.”

Brady said that he appreciates all of the support from the Raider fans, especially on their long road trips.

“We had great turnouts wherever we played, whether it was at home or on the road. Even at Loganville and Tattnall we had a lot of people there. I appreciate that very much, and I know that our players did too.”

Text Only
Local Sports
  • Matt Corbin.jpg Schley County’s Corbin signs to play football at Point University

    Matt Corbin, a multi-sport standout at Schley County High School, recently signed with Point University in West Point, Ga. to continue his football career at the college level. The 2013 All-Region 4-A first teamer and Americus Times-Recorder All-Area selection plans to help the Skyhawks football team out in multiple positions, just as he did for the Wildcats.

    July 24, 2014 3 Photos

  • Russ_Emili CTGC.jpg Russ signs with GSW women's basketball

    Georgia Southwestern State University head women's basketball coach Kelly Britsky has announced the addition of Emili Russ to the Lady Hurricane squad for the 2014-15 season.
    Russ signed with the Lady 'Canes after playing last season for Central Georgia Technical College in Macon. She will join the program in the fall with two years of eligibility remaining.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Souhtland XC State Champs web.jpg Three Southland coaches receive Coach of the Year honors

    Last year Southland Academy’s athletic program soared to new heights. Two state championships, several region championships, and many trips deep into the state playoffs marked a banner year for several Raider teams. Recently, three of Southland’s coaches were recognized by the GISA for their hard work and dedication to lead their programs to the state title.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Americus Travelers finish in top 3 at USSSA World Series

    The Americus Travelers 14U Baseball Club, after a stellar season on the baseball diamond, again peaked at the right time; finishing as the number three team at the USSSA Global Sports Baseball World Series in Orange Beach, Ala. last week. Coach Tim Estes’ squad entered the event with a record of 23–9 -1 on the season, and there were 35 teams from eight states competing for the title of World Series Champion.

    July 18, 2014

  • SAR football help flags.jpg Raiders lend a hand at Andersonville NHS

    The Avenue of Flags flies in Andersonville National Historic Site five times per year during days of special significance. Following the end of the Independence Day holiday, the Southland Academy football team took a break from their summer workouts to help take down the 200+ flags on Monday, July 7.

    July 11, 2014 2 Photos

  • Frey_Conyers_Balleur-7-14.jpg SGTC names new athletic director and assistant basketball coaches

    South Georgia Technical College Lady Jets head basketball coach James Frey has been named Athletic Director for the college effective July 1, 2014, announced South Georgia Technical College President Sparky Reeves. Frey will continue to serve as the Lady Jets head basketball coach, as well as work as a Recreation and Leisure Management instructor. Reeves also announced that Kezia Conyers and Chris Ballauer have been hired as full-time instructors and assistant basketball coaches for the Lady Jets and Jets.

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • 8U Champs.jpg Recreation all-star teams perform well in district tournaments, two qualify for state

    The Sumter County Parks and Recreation Department (SCPRD) has one of the strongest youth baseball programs in the state, and they will have a chance to prove it in the upcoming Georgia Recreation and Park Association (GRPA) state tournaments beginning on July 9.

    July 3, 2014 2 Photos

  • SCPRD Softball allstars.jpg SCPRD sees great success in first year of youth softball league

    The Sumter County Parks and Recreation Department (SCPRD) hosted a youth softball division for the first time this year, and according to SCPRD executive director Tim Estes, it was a roaring success.

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Josh Willis Sholarship receip 14.jpg Eight Panthers awarded Josh Willis Memorial Scholarships

    Last Friday, eight Americus-Sumter senior student athletes received scholarships in honor for former Americus-Sumter and University of Georgia standout football player Josh Willis. The memorial scholarships will help each of the student-athletes achieve their dream of attending college to further their education.

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Snow SOCC picture.jpg Georgia Southwestern’s Snow pegged as profession's next generation through NSCAA 30 Under 30 Program

    Georgia Southwestern head women's soccer coach Samantha Snow is one of only 15 female soccer coaches in the country selected by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) to participate in the organization's 30 Under 30 program.

    June 26, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar