Raiders fall at Valwood in come-from-behind fashion

Published 11:24 am Monday, April 24, 2023

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VALDOSTA – After the Southland Academy Raiders (SAR) jumped out to a 5-0 lead on Valwood early in the game, it looked as if SAR was going to win in dominating fashion just as they had done in Americus a few days before. However, the Valiants responded with five runs in the bottom of the third inning and two more in the bottom of the sixth to earn a 7-5 come-from behind victory over the Raiders on Friday, April 21, at the Valwood School in Valdosta, GA.

“Overall, it was a really well-played game,” SAR Assistant Coach Blaze Hargrove said. “We had one inning where we didn’t make some plays that we needed to make and they were able to capitalize and drive in some runs after those mistakes in order to tie the game. My guys fought their tales off and played a great game. In a game like this against a really good opponent in Valwood, all you can ask for is a chance and we had that chance at the end and that’s the reason you play the game. Sometimes, you come out on top. Sometimes, it doesn’t work out for you and today, we had the chance. It just didn’t work out for us at the end. Overall, this (SAR) is a great team. We’re one of the top teams in AAA and I really believe that we can make a strong run in this playoff push here in the next week or two.”

Southland Academy second baseman Chase Ledger went 3 for 4 at the plate with two runs scored in the Raiders’ loss at Valwood.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Being that Brookwood (15-8, 7-3 Region 3-AAA) won its game against Deerfield-Windsor by the score of 2-1, the Warriors ended up clinching the GIAA Region 3-AAA regular season title, while the Raiders (11-8, 6-4 Region 3-AAA) will be the region runners-up and will be the #2 seed out of Region 3-AAA in the upcoming GIAA Class AAA State Playoffs.

SAR jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first, as they scored three runs on three hits and took advantage of an error. The big hit in the frame came off the bat of Scout Luvin, who drove in two runs on an RBI single. Then in the top of the third, the Raiders added two more runs on four hits, including an RBI double by Camden Rodgers and an RBI single from Trey Sellers.

However, the Valiants responded with five runs on four hits in the bottom half of the inning and they took advantage of two errors and one hit batsman. The big hit in this inning came off the bat of Dallas Hatfield, as he doubled in two runs to tie the game at 5-5.

Later on in the bottom of the sixth, the Valiants struck again and took the lead for good when Maddox Coyle drove in the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly and Conner Hutto drove in the Valiants’ seventh run of the game on an RBI double.

Southland Academy third baseman Camden Rodgers went 1 for 4 with a double and an RBI in the Raiders’ 7-5 loss at Valwood.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

With one out in the top of the seventh, Chase Ledger singled and the tying run came to the plate in the form of Will Godwin. Godwin grounded out to short, but Ledger made it to second as the result of an error. Camden Rodgers then reached on an error and the Raiders had the bases loaded with two outs. However, Luvin was not able to come through, as he popped out to first baseman Conner Hutto in foul territory to end the game.

Ledger led the SAR offense by going 3 for 4 at the plate with two runs scored and Luke Exley went 2 for 3 at the plate with a double and scored a run. In total, the Raiders out hit the Valiants 10-9 and each team committed four errors.

Perry Usher started on the mound for SAR and took the loss. In a little over five innings of work, Usher gave up seven runs on seven hits, walked two and struck out two. Trey Sellars came on in relief of Usher. In a little less than an inning, he gave up two hits with a walk and a strikeout.

Southland Academy pitcher Perry Usher is seen here pitching at Valwood. Usher gave up seven runs on seven hits, with three of those runs earned. He walked two batters and struck out two.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Matthew Kerrigan led the Valiants’ offense by going 3 for 4 at the plate with a triple and two runs scored, while Jack Drew went 2 for 4 and scored a run.

Kerrigan started on the mound for Valwood and got the win. He gave up five runs on eight hits, walked one batter and struck out five.

The Raiders will try to bounce back from this setback, as they will step out of region play on Monday, April 24, when they host Stratford Academy at 4:30 p.m.