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Three-Run Homer by Crisp County’s Napier the difference in Southland’s loss

CORDELE – Crisp County shortstop Myles Napier belted a three-run homer off Southland relief pitcher Adam Smith. That proved to be the difference as the Cougars defeated the Raiders 7-4.

As a result, the Cougars end up sweeping the two-game season series against the raiders. In the first game, Crisp County defeated the raiders 7-3 on Wednesday, March 7, at Southland Academy.

Southland starter Hunter McCain had been pitching well for the Raiders. Up till then, McCain had not allowed a run. He pitched at least four innings, Allowing four hits, two walks and one strikeout.

However, Southland Head Coach John Brady did not want to risk the health of his starting pitcher due to his shoulder. “We had our starting pitcher (McCain) on a pretty strict pitch count. He had a little bit of a tender shoulder,” Brady said. “The guy we brought in (Adam Smith), he made a really nice pitch, and the kid (Napier) hit a home run. You’ve got to tip your cap. The kid went down and got it. It was a good pitch. It was a curve ball, a pretty good pitch. That kind of got the momentum going on their side. We couldn’t keep the snow ball from rolling down the hill.”

The Raiders took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Hunter McCain led off the inning by reaching on an error. Later in the inning, with two men out and one man on, Luke Law singled in an RBI. The Raiders took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third. Clay Owens led off the inning when he was hit by a pitch, then Tyler Kennedy singled. There was a throwing error committed by the Cougars, and Southland was able to score their second run of the game.

Then with two outs in the top of the fourth, the Raiders were able to score again. McCain singled and made it to second on an error by the Cougars. Then Ross Minick reached on another error, allowing another run to score. At that point, Southland had a 3-0 lead going into the fifth.

The trouble began when the Cougars’ starting pitcher, Noah Walters, singled to lead off the inning. Then Cole Lancaster drew a walk from McCain. At this point, Brady decided to relieve McCain and bring in Adam Smith. Smith struck out Dallas Pheil, but with one out, Myles Napier belted a three-run home run, tying the game 3-3. Smith got Connor Richmond to fly out. However, with two outs, Jackson Napier and Colin Infante both singled. Napier attempted to steal third base, and Southland Catcher George Wall threw to third to try get him, but the ball got away, allowing Napier to score. Bailey Barfield and Garrett Hobbs both drew walks, but Smith struck out Noah Walters to end the inning.

In the top of the sixth, Walters, the starting pitcher for the Cougars, got Wall to ground out, Luke Law to fly out and Steven Barnes to strike out end the Raiders’ at bat.

Crisp County scored four more runs in the top of the seventh. A hit-batsman, three walks, an RBI single by Jackson Milner and a passed ball contributed to the scoring.

The Raiders tried to mount a comeback in the bottom of the seventh. Landon Law led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a passed ball. However, Clay Owens and Tyler Kennedy both struck out. Harrison Bell doubled, driving in a run, but that would be all the offense the Raiders could generate as McCain popped up for the final out of the game.

With the loss, the Raiders fall to 2-4 on the season. The Raiders will try to rebound when they host Terrell Academy on Monday, March 19, at 4 p.m.