Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

May 17, 2014

GAC ends Berrien’s season in quarterfinal

NASHVILLE — Rain may have pushed back Game 3 of Berrien and Greater Atlanta Christian’s Elite Eight series in the GHSA Class AA playoffs, but it wouldn’t change the outcome. The Spartans came into Friday’s game prepared after seeing their 5-1 lead washed away on Wednesday, defeating the Rebels 8-1 to advance.

“Well, I told my kids, ‘Today they outplayed us,’ said Berrien coach Doug Nix. “I tip my hat to them. Cliff Shelton is a great guy, I can’t say enough about him. He’s been there 32 years, he’s a great coach.”

Despite the loss, the game couldn’t have started off any better for the Rebels considering how they fell behind 5-1 in the first attempt to play Game 3.

On Friday, Berrien got out to another early 1-0 lead when Dalton Ingram walked to leadoff the top of the first. Ingram stole second and took third on a wild pitch before scoring on a grounder to short. Unlike Wednesday, the Rebels were able to fend off the Spartans in the bottom of the inning, holding Greater Atlanta Christian scoreless thanks to a batter  interference call on a stolen base attempt.

Both teams went down in order in the second inning, but in the third Berrien’s pitching finally began to show some cracks.

A common theme throughout the game, the Spartans struck with two outs in the inning. Harry Kerr singled before coming around to score on Jackson O’Brien’s double to tie the game at 1-1.

Peyton McGuire continued to baffle the Rebels bats with another 1-2-3 inning in the fourth, but Ashton Sparks could not keep up in the pitcher’s duel. Sparks got Greater Atlanta Christian’s leadoff man to fly out to open the bottom of the fourth, but an error allowed the second batter to reach, opening the door and allowing the Spartans to charge right through.

Two more runners reached base before a deep fly ball — which would have been the third out of the inning — brought in the go-ahead run. Lucas Boudreau stepped up to the plate next and laced a single into left field to give Greater Atlanta Christian a 4-1 lead.

The three-run deficit was basically insurmountable with the way McGuire pitched. The left-hander stifled Berrien in Game 1 en route to a 2-1 win and he was back at it in Friday’s Game 3. McGuire didn’t allow a hit until there was one out in the bottom of the seventh and his team held an 8-1 advantage, something Nix didn’t foresee happening.

“We felt like we’d be able to hit (McGuire),” said Nix. “He’s a soft lefty, but that’s sometimes hard to hit. We had a lot of fly outs and some hard hit balls. They made some great plays in the field, we hit the ball right at them, but we just weren’t able to get the ball down.”

The loss ends one of the Rebels’ greatest seasons in recent history. Berrien hadn’t advanced to the Elite Eight in more than two decades, but it’s the fight his team showed that Nix was most proud of.

“I’m proud of what our kids have accomplished this season, they fought, they’ve been to Game 3 in all three series,” said Nix. “I can’t say enough for the things they have done and accomplished this season. I’m proud of them.”

Despite the tough loss, the future looks bright for Rebels baseball. A majority of the team will be returning for next season, along with some exciting incoming freshman, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Berrien still playing this time next season.

“We have obviously have four very good seniors we have to replace, but we have some good young players — I think we finished the game with five sophomores — we’ve got several juniors, so we’re looking forward to what we have coming back,” said Nix. “These kids kinda got a taste of it this year, this was deeper than we’ve been since I’ve been here, so I hope that’ll help us in the future.

“We’ve got a real good eighth grade class coming up so we’re excited about the future here as far as baseball’s concerned.”

Text Only
Local Sports
  • 0728-Lowndes practice4.jpg Vikings working out with padded practice, scrimmage on the horizon

    The look was familiar Monday at Martin Stadium.
    The Lowndes High football team’s conditioning practice was essentially a duplicate of the workouts the Vikings have completed throughout the summer.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thomasville_Ryals.jpg South Georgia special for high school coaches

    Phillip Johnson remembers when he had a “Wizard of Oz” moment.
    The North Carolina native moved to Georgia when he was 26 and Johnson, now Lanier County’s second-year head coach, recalls a 7-on-7 tournament leading to the realization that he wasn’t in Kansas — or in his case, North Carolina — anymore.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Nolin settling in as new VSU soccer coach

    Meet Rebecca Nolin, VSU's new soccer coach.

    July 28, 2014

  • Induction Crowd: Honorees were genuine, down to earth

    More than 48,000 people gathered under the scorching sun at The Clark Sports Center for the 75th National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Sunday, including one woman who carpooled to the event with more than 40 other people.

    July 28, 2014

  • Braves trio all business at inductions

    The Braves seemed almost businesslike in their approach -- something you might expect from a trio that won so consistently.
    Managers Joe Torre and Tony La Russa also remained calm and collected throughout their addresses.
    Frank Thomas took care of the emotional side, his voice breaking and his eyes moist during a heartfelt speech Sunday at the Clark Sports Center.

    July 28, 2014

  • Cooperstown Merchants: Weekend was a success

    Cooperstown merchants are elated about the exceptionally prosperous Hall of Fame Induction Weekend, several storekeepers said Sunday.

    During an afternoon lull in business, when the National Baseball Hall of Fame's induction ceremony was taking place, area shop and restaurant owners took a quick breath, reflected and expressed satisfaction with their sales for the weekend.

    July 28, 2014

  • Hall of Famers thank fathers for stepping up to the plate

    Great ballplayers thanking their dads at a Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is about as original as oil and vinegar are to an Italian restaurant.

    July 28, 2014

  • Hall_Maddux.jpg Hall of Braves

    The weird part was that Jeff Idelson didn't take a lot of time to answer.
    "Is there any word or description that unifies this class?" was the query posed to the National Baseball Hall of Fame's president.
    "The common thread among the six is profound humility," Idelson said of former managers Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa, and former players Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, all of whom will be inducted into the Hall today. "I don't think I realized that fully until I spent time with them in December. It was uncanny to me, for the cumulative star power in that group, the humility among them. I think that's felt really strongly with baseball fans."

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos 1 Story

  • Hall_Cox.jpg Cox’s willingness to defend players stands out to local coaches

    Bobby Cox will be able to add Hall of Famer to his resume when he is inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame today in Cooperstown, N.Y.
    But the former Atlanta Braves manager’s legacy will remain the same to area baseball coaches: his willingness to defend his players.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Valwood_Henderson.jpg Area teams hoping to get over the hump

    Past successes lead to present and future expectations.
    That’s the task faced by pretty much all 12 area high school football coaches present Saturday at In The Game Magazine’s South Georgia Football media day at the Holiday Inn conference center.
    It’s a task that also has the elite group searching for answers as to how to get past the state championship road block in recent years, aside from Valwood’s GISA Class AA crown in 2012.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

Blazers Blog