Southland Raiders unable to get the clutch hits against Tiftarea

Published 8:16 pm Friday, April 13, 2018

AMERICUS – It was an unlucky Friday the 13th for the Southland Academy Baseball Team. The opportunities were there for the Raiders with base runners aboard, but Tiftarea starting pitcher Brandon Prudhomme seemed to make the right pitch at the right time, not allowing Southland to get the clutch hits. This allowed the Panthers to leave Americus with a 4-1 victory over the Raiders on Friday, April 13, at Southland Academy.

The Raiders had beaten Tiftarea Academy in Chula on Tuesday, April 10 by the score of 6-1. The Panthers came into Americus with payback on their mind, and they got it.

“He (Prudhomme) did a good job. He changed speeds on us and did a good job. We had some opportunities to score and didn’t take advantage of them,” Southland head coach John Brady said. The Raiders were only able to score one run on nine hits against Prudhomme. He went the distance for the Panthers, walking none and striking out two.

Things started off well for Southland in the bottom of the first. Tyler Kennedy led off with a single. Both Hunter McCain and Harrison Bell hit into a fielder’s choice, but it allowed Kennedy to advance to third with two outs. Then George Wall singled in Kennedy to give the Raiders a 1-0 lead. Unfortunately for the Raiders, that would be their only run of the game.

Ross Minick got the start for the Raiders and pitched well for the first two innings, not allowing a hit from the Panthers. Cain Cooper drew a walk for Tiftarea to lead off the top of the second. Prudhomme hit into a fielder’s choice, advancing Cooper to second. Minick then threw a wild pitch, allowing Cooper to advance to third. However, Minick was able to pitch out of the jam by striking out Casen Royal and getting Will Matt to ground out to end the threat.

The Raiders had a chance to add to their lead in their half of the second when Clay Owens singled to lead off the inning. Owens then stole second base. Landon Law popped out and Will Hubbard struck out. Owens was also picked off at second base, nullifying the Raiders; opportunity to score.

Tiftarea got their bats going in the top of the third. The Panthers scored two runs on three hits. The Raiders’ next best chance they had to get back in the game was in the bottom of the fifth. They had runners at second and third with two outs, but Hunter McCain hit into a fielder’s choice to end the inning. That would be the last threat the Raiders would make against Tiftarea, as Prudhomme retired in order the next six batters he faced in the sixth and seventh innings.

The Panthers scored two more insurance runs in the top of the sixth. Prudhomme led off with a walk. At that point, Will Hubbard was brought on to pitch for the Raiders in relief of Minick. Hubbard got Casen Royal to fly out and Will Matt to strike out. However, Nate Fortson belted his second double of the game, driving in a run. Hayden Murphy then followed with an RBI single of his own. That would be all the offense the Panthers would need to get the victory.

Ross Minick pitched five innings for Southland, giving up three runs on five hits. He walked three and struck out five. In relief, Will Hubbard pitched an inning, giving up one run on two hits. He walked one and struck out one. Hunter McCain was the final pitcher used by the Raiders. McCain pitched one inning, allowing no runs on one hit. We walked none and struck out one.

The Raiders got nine hits in the game, out-hitting the Panthers by one hit. However, they weren’t able to get the clutch hits to drive in runs.

Tyler Kennedy had the best day offensively for Southland. He went 3-for-3 and scored the Raiders’ only run. For Tiftarea, Nate Fortson led their offensive attack, going 2-for-3 at the plate. He scored two runs and drove in one as well. With the loss, the Raiders drop to 5-7-1 on the season and 3-3 in GISA Region 3-AAA play. They will try to bounce back on Tuesday, April 17, when they host Brookwood in a very important region game. First pitch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.