Four-run fifth inning by Panthers proves costly to Southland

Published 6:43 am Friday, March 24, 2023

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From Staff Reports

CHULA, GA – After handing Tiftarea Academy (TA) a 14-5 defeat on Tuesday, March 21 in Americus, the Southland Academy Baseball Team (SAR) made the trip down to Chula, GA on Thursday hoping to repeat their success against the Panthers. However, TA scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and that would eventually lead to a 7-4 loss for the Raiders at the TA baseball complex.

This was a game in which SAR out hit the Panthers 10-8, but the Raiders (5-5, 2-2) weren’t able to capitalize.
The Raiders had a golden opportunity to score first and produce a big inning in the top of the first, as Henry Johnson led off with a walk and Chase Ledger followed with a single. Then Camden Rodgers got an infield hit and the Raiders had the bases loaded with nobody out.

However, Perry Usher flew out to center field and Johnson was called out for offensive interference. Then Will Godwin struck out to end the inning and the Raiders’ golden opportunity to set the tone with a multi-run inning went by the boards.

The Panthers scored first in the bottom of the first when Parks Parrott drove in Matthew Malone on an RBI single. Then in the bottom of the third, TA added to its lead when Malone led off the inning by belting a solo home run over the left field fence.

The Raiders finally responded in the top of the fourth when Godwin led off the frame with a home run, but the Panthers had a much bigger response in the bottom of the fifth and it all began with two outs. John Jackson led off by drawing a walk off SAR starting pitcher Chase Ledger. Then Malone, who had reached on a fielder’s choice earlier, was able to steal home as Jackson stole second. Then Ledger walked Lane Cole to load the bases and Jackson would later score on a wild pitch. Winston Lamb then followed that up with a two-run single and the Raiders found themselves trailing 6-1.

The Panthers added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth when Justin Moore drove in Jackson Gray on an RBI single, but the Raiders would not quit. In the top of the seventh, SAR scored three runs on three hits and took advantage of an error. The big hit of the inning was an RBI double by Usher, but unfortunately for SAR, that would be as close as they would get. With runners at first and second with two outs, Trey Sellars had a chance to bring his team even closer, but TA reliever Parks Colwell got Sellars to ground out to second base to end the game.

Luke Exley led the Raiders’ offensive attack by going 4 for 4 at the plate with an RBI, while Will Godwin went 2 for 4 with a run scored and an RBI.

Chase Ledger got the start on the mound for the Raiders, but struggled in his outing, giving up six runs on seven hits with four walks and six strikeouts over 4.2 innings of work. Camden Rodgers came on in relief of Ledger and gave up one run on one hit with two strikeouts.

The Raiders will try to get back into the win column when they travel to Pinehurst, GA to take on Fullington Academy on Thursday, March 30. First pitch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.