Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local Sports

May 8, 2014

Raiders drop regular season finale, prepare to host playoff opener on Friday

THOMASVILLE — Southland Academy wrapped up the 2014 regular season on Saturday with a narrow loss to Brookwood on the road Saturday. Despite seeing their comeback attempt come up just one run short in the final inning, the Raiders out-hit the Warriors 15-12, and will now turn their focus to hosting the first round of the playoffs for the first time in several years later this evening.

The Raiders got off to a blazing start against Brookwood as Brandon Looney led off the top of the first inning with a triple. Ryan Weaver followed with a single to score his teammate, and later in the frame Ford Roach brought Weaver home to give Southland a 2-0 lead.

Brookwood also led off their half of the first inning with a triple and brought home their runner to cut the lead to 2-1. That, however, was the only run that the Warriors would score as Southland starting pitcher Reed Dillard escaped the inning with the lead intact.

Looney once again got his team started off in the top of the second inning with a single to set the table. Dillard then helped himself out by driving a single to third base to score Dillard and extend the Raider lead back to two runs, 3-1.

The Raiders were back at it in the top of the third as Hunter Weldon led off his offense with a single to left field. Weldon advanced to second on a wild pitch before moving up to third on a ground out by Geoffrey McDonald. Senior Jon Adkins brought Weldon in with a single to left field, extending the Raiders advantage to 4-1.

Southland saw their lead disappear in the bottom of the fourth inning thanks to a grand slam by the Warriors. Brookwood, who had already scored two runs thanks to lead-off homer and an RBI single, ended the inning with a bases loaded blast to take their first lead of the game by a score of 7-4.

Another home run by Brookwood in the bottom of the fifth inning stretched the Warrior lead to 8-4. That round-tripper turned out to be one of the most important plays of the game, providing a big insurance run that the Warriors would need to hang on to the region win.

Southland was held scoreless in the top of the sixth inning, but they got their comeback attempt started in the top of the seventh inning. Senior Allen Gleeson led off the inning sith a single, and Weldon quickly cut the Warrior lead to just 8-6 by sending a home run over the left field wall.

Roach then singled for Southland to start the rally back up, and after an Adam Shutters walk and another single by Adkins the Raiders had loaded the bases with no outs. Roach scored on a passed ball to make the score 8-7, and a walk by Cason Fort loaded the bags again with no outs. Unfortunately for the Raiders, Brookwood was able to get a fielder’s choice out at home before forcing to fly-outs to end the game an narrowly escaped with an 8-7 victory.

Weaver and Roach split honors as the team’s leading hitters with three hits apiece, and Adkins, Weldon, and Looney all had two hits apiece. Weldon led the Raiders with two RBIs, and Adkins, Weaver, Roach, and Dillard all brought in one run each.

On the mound, Dillard completed 4.1 innings and gave up four earned runs while striking out three. Looney tossed 1.2 innings in relief and gave up just one hit and struck out two while holding the Warriors scoreless.

“This was a great game between two good teams,” said Raider head coach John Brady. “Unfortunately we came out on the short end of it. It very easily could have gone our way.”

“Our guys hit the ball very well and usually seven runs are enough, but their guys hit well too. We made one mistake that extended the fourth inning and they made us pay.”

Southland finishes the season as the number two seed from Region 3-AAA. As the two seed, they will host the first round of the GISA Class AAA State Playoffs against number three seed Bulloch at 5 p.m. today. The second game will begin at noon on Saturday, and the ‘if” game will start at 3 p.m. Saturday if needed.

“We have had a great season and hope that we will have a big crowd to watch us this weekend,” Brady said.

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