Southland Academy Raiders earn walk-off victory over Deerfield-Windsor

Published 5:22 pm Saturday, March 30, 2024

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AMERICUS – The score was tied at 5-5 in the bottom of the seventh inning and the Southland Academy Raiders (SAR) had the bases loaded with two outs against Deerfield-Windsor (DWS). It came down to the watchful eyes of SAR batter Perry Bennett. All he needed to do was to earn a single or draw a walk-off walk for the Raiders to win in come-from-behind fashion. Bennett took the first pitch for a strike from DWS pitcher Lane Sceals, but Bennett used eye discipline and took the next four pitches for balls. As a result, Will Godwin scored from third and the Raiders enjoyed a 6-5 victory over the Knights on Friday in walk-off fashion.

“I’m super proud of their fight,” SAR Head Coach Blaze Hargrove said. “They stayed in there. They kept battling. We’re still giving away a little too many at bats. Early in the game, I felt like all the breaks were going their way and so it was good to finally see in that bottom of the seventh that we caught a break.”

One big hit in the bottom of the seventh that led to the bases-loaded walk came off the bat of SAR starting pitcher Travis Pennington. With the bases loaded and one out, the Knights had a 5-3 lead, but Pennington belted a two-run double to tie the game at 5-5.

“With the bases loaded and one out right there, Travis came through with a big, huge double down the line in left field,” Hargrove said. “I’m super proud of the way the guys fought. Again, with all the adversity we faced yesterday and today, we could have laid an egg right there and gone into spring break, but we decided to fight and put together a good, strong last inning and we were able to come away with a victory. I’m super proud of them,” Hargrove continued.

The Raiders lost to the Knights in Albany the day before by the score of 6-5. With Friday’s come-from-behind win, they were able to avenge that loss in this heated rivalry.

Mac McMichael led the Raiders’ offense by going 2 for 4 at the plate with a double and a run scored and Perry Bennett went 1 for 1 with three RBIs and drew three walks.

Travis Pennington got the start on the mound for the Raiders. In a little over four innings of work, Pennington gave up five runs on nine hits, walked one and struck out three. Jackson Webb came on in relief of Pennington. In a little over two innings of work, Webb gave up only two hits with a walk and a strikeout.

The Knights got on the scoreboard first in the top of the first when Lane Sceals drove in a run on an RBI single, but the Raiders responded in the bottom of the fourth with two runs on a two-run double by Bennett.

The Knights responded with four runs on five hits in the top of the fifth, but the Raiders were able to score a run in the bottom half of the inning when a balk was called against the DWS pitcher.

Two innings later, the Raiders began their comeback. With one out, Luke Tarrer reached on an error and Perry Usher singled. Due to a DWS error, the runners advanced to second and third with one out. Will Godwin was intentionally walked to load the bases, but that strategy backfired when Travis Pennington tied the game at 5-5 on a two-run double.

With runners at second and third, Trey Sellers was intentionally walked before Cade Futch struck out for the second out of the inning. This set the stage for Perry Bennett, who was able to drive in the winning run on a bases-loaded walk.

The Raiders are currently 5-4 overall and they are currently tied for third place with Valwood in the GIAA Region 3-AAA standings at 3-2. They will head to St. Simons Island, GA next weekend for games against Frederica Academy and John Milledge Academy. They will take on Frederica on Friday at 12:30 p.m. and will take on John Milledge on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.