Southland Academy baseball withstands late rally by Warriors

Published 4:05 pm Wednesday, April 25, 2018

By Staff Reports


DAMASCUS, GA – The Southland Academy Baseball Team had to withstand a late rally by the Warriors of Southwest Georgia Academy and hold on to win 7-5 on Tuesday, April 24, at SGA.

SGA scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning to take an early 2-0 lead.

Parker Weaver led off the bottom of the first with a double to center field. After Beau Collins grounded out to Southland starting pitcher Ross Minick for a fielder’s choice, Luke Benton came to the plate, with Weaver having advanced to third. Benton grounded out to shortstop Hunter McCain, scoring Weaver for the first run of the game. With two outs, Minick walked Andrew Collins. Then K.J. Warren reached on a dropped third strike, advancing Collins to second. Ted Sasser then doubled to left field, driving home Collins to give the Warriors a 2-0 lead. Minick was able to strike out Josh Grimsley to end the inning.

Southland got their first run of the game in the top of the third. With one out, Landon Law was hit by a pitch by SGA starter Josh Grimsley. Tyler Kennedy then doubled to right field, scoring Law.

The Raiders scored three more runs in the top of the fourth to take a 4-2 lead. Harrison Bell led off the inning with a double. George Wall grounded out to third baseman Parker Weaver, and Bell was held at second with one out. Clay Owens then singled, advancing Bell to third base. Luke Law drew a walk, loading the bases for Ross Minick. Minick hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Bell to tie the game at 2-2. Then Will Hubbard singled, driving in Owens and Law to give the Raiders a 4-2 lead.

The Raiders added three more runs in the top of the fifth inning to give themselves a 7-2 cushion. With one out, Hunter McCain is hit by a pitch by Grimsley. Harrison Bell flew out to center field, but not deep enough to advance McCain to second. With two outs, George Wall singled, advancing McCain to third base. Then Clay Owens singled on a pop fly to left field. That single allowed both McCain and Wall to score, giving the Raiders a 6-2 lead with two outs. Landon Law then singled to left field, scoring Owens to give Southland a 7-2 lead. That would be all the offense the Raiders would need, but the Warriors would make a comeback.

Parker Weaver led off the inning with a walk against Southland reliever Hunter McCain, then Weaver stole second base. Hank Harbin lined out to second base for the first out of the inning. Luke Benton then popped up into foul territory. The catch was made, but Weaver was able to advance to third base on the play.

With two outs, Andrew Collins singled, driving in Weaver to cut the Warriors’ deficit to 7-3. Then K.J. Warren belted a two-run home run over the centerfield wall, cutting Southland’s lead to 7-5. Sasser then singled to center field, keeping the inning alive for SGA. McCain was able to strike out Grimsley, but the Warriors had scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth to only trail 7-5.

Southland was not able to get any insurance runs in their half of the seventh, giving the Warriors one last chance to tie or win the game. Will Hubbard was brought in to pitch for the Raiders. Hubbard struck out Beau Watson fir the first out, then got Aiden Bruner to hit a tapper in front of the plate. George Wall got the ball and threw to first to get Bruner for the second out. Parker Weaver was the last hope for the Warriors, but Hubbard got him to fly out to centerfielder Clay Owens to end the game.

Southland scored seven runs on nine hits and committed no errors. SGA scored five runs on nine hits and didn’t commit any errors either.

Ross Minick was the winning pitcher. He pitched 4.1 innings, giving up two runs on six hits. He walked six and struck out eight. Hunter McCain, who came on in relief for Minick, pitched 1.2 innings. McCain gave up three runs on three hits. He walked one and struck out one. Will Hubbard was the final pitcher used by Southland. Hubbard pitched an inning, giving up no runs and no hits. He walked none and struck out one batter.

Clay Owens led the Raiders offensively at the plate. He went 2-for4, scored two runs and drove in two runs. Tyler Kennedy also went 2-for-4 and drove in an RBI.

As for the Warriors, Ted Sasser led them offensively. Sasser went 2-for-3 and drove in an RBI. K.J. Warren went 1-for-4, but his one hit was a two-run homer.

Josh Grimsley started on the mound for the Warriors. He pitched 4.2 innings, giving up seven runs on seven hits. He walked one and struck out none. K.J. Warren came on in relief of Grimsley. Warren pitched 1.2 innings, giving up no runs on two hits. He walked two and struck out three. Luke Benton was the final pitcher used by SGA. Benton pitched 0.2 innings and didn’t give up any runs or hits. He didn’t walk or strike out any batters.

With the win, Southland finished the regular season at 7-8-1 overall and 4-4 in Region 3-AAA play. They are tied with Valwood for second place in the region behind both Deerfield-Windsor and Tiftarea Academy. Both those teams are tied for first place in the region at 5-3.

The Raiders will travel to Bellville, GA to take on Pinewood Christian School in the first round of the GISA State Playoffs on Friday, May 4th, in a two-game series. There will be a doubleheader on Friday, May 4th, with the first game beginning at 4:30 p.m. The second game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.