Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local Sports

May 8, 2014

No. 14 Marion County edged by No. 3 Charlton to end playoff baseball run

FOLKSTON — The Marion County Eagle baseball team had a tough opponent waiting for them in the first round of the GHSA Class A Public State Playoffs last weekend. Although they were matched up with the No. 3 team Charlton County, the defending Class A State Champions, Marion went into the opening series confident, and nearly knocked off the Indians in two very close contests.

In the first game, Marion County fell behind 3-0 after surrendering single runs to the Indians in the bottom of the first, second and fourth innings. The Eagles began to battle back in the top of the fifth inning, however, scoring two runs to cut the Charlton County lead down to 3-2.

C.J. Dudley led off the top of the fifth by getting hit by a pitch. J.J. Fuller then connected on a big double to bring home Dudley, and catcher Brandon Dumas ended the Marion County scoring with another double to Fuller all the way home.

Following two scoreless innings by starting pitcher Dylan Price, Feller once again led his offense off by singling in the top of the seventh inning. Sonny Singleton then walked to put a runner in scoring position, and Dumas stepped to the plate once again. This time, Dumas hit a ground ball that Charlton botched, allowing Fuller to score and tie the game at 3-3.

Price continued his terrific work on the mound as the game entered extra innings. The senior ace for the Eagles shut down the Indians in the bottom of the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, but unfortunately Marion County was not able to break through with a run in any of those innings either.

Keeping the defending state champs off of the scoreboard was not going to be an easy task though, and in the bottom of the 11th inning the Indians finally touched home for the winning run. In a game that was played so well by both teams for so long, Charlton scored the walk-off run on a wild pitch to sink the Eagles 4-3.

The second game also began as a defensive struggle with strong pitching performances by each team’s starter. For Marion County, Trent Miller took the mound and turned in his best performance of the year in the Eagles’ upset bid. Following two scoreless frames, junior Dustin Eckert gave his pitcher some much-deserved run support in the bottom of the second.

Eckert put his team on top by blasting a solo home run over the left field fence. Eckert’s long-ball gave the Eagles a 1-0 lead, and that margin would hold up over the next four innings thanks to a dominant effort by Miller.

Charlton County was not able to manufacture any runs over the first six innings, but in the top of the seventh they got all that they needed thanks to two hits. After leading off the inning with a single, the Indians connected on a two-out, two-run home run to claim a 2-1 lead over their opponent in their last opportunity. In the bottom of the seventh, the Indians retired the Eagles in order to close out a heart-breaking loss for Marion.

Miller scattered four hits over seven innings, and he took the tough luck loss after Charlton’s big seventh inning homer. According to Marion County head coach Luke Jernigan, Miller could not have pitched a better game against a very tough team.

“Trent pitched so well for us,” Jernigan said. “That was his best ball game of the year. He had all of his pitches working against Charlton, and he only gave up hits to three guys and held down the 4-9 hitters in their lineup.”

Jernigan was extremely proud of his entire team’s performance against one of the top powerhouses in the state.

“With being the 14 seed and going against the three seed and defending state champions, the boys could have rolled in and assumed we would get beat,” he said. “But the team did a great job of competing against some of the best competition in the state. I would like to wish the best of luck to all the teams remaining in the state playoffs.”


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