Samuel D. Logan
The Valdosta Daily Times
Two rotten innings soured the Valdosta Wildcats’ experience Saturday in the final day of the Georgia-Florida Challenge.
The Wildcats committed a host of defensive miscues, allowing Clay (Fla.) to hand them their first loss 10-4. VHS is now 5-1.
“I would have loved for us to play better,” Valdosta coach Bart Shuman said. “We had two bad innings where we had eight errors. I guess our youth kind of showed today. We had a few physical errors, but mentally, we are still playing hard and smart.”
The starting pitcher for the Wildcats was Seth Shuman, who threw well up until the top of the fourth inning. After allowing five runs in the fourth, Shuman was relieved by Luke Ard for the fifth inning as Valdosta fell behind 6-1 thanks to those defensive miscues.
“Against a good club, if you give up a few runs and make so many errors, you’re going to be in trouble,” said Shuman.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Wildcats were able to pick up their second run of the game.
In the top of the sixth, the ’Cats — who pulled within 6-2 an inning earlier — used two pitchers, as Ard gave up four hits and Clay crossed home plate two more times, moving to an 8-2 lead. John Eager relieved for the Wildcats and the destructive inning continued as Clay added two more runs.
With the help of Jacob McMillan’s at-bat, the Wildcats were able to add two more runs to their score but it was too little too late as the Blue Devils ended the game by catching a fly ball near second base.
“We’re going to get back to work. We got beat by a good ball club but we will go back to practice on Monday and fix a few things and move on,” said Shuman. “Overall it was a good tournament with good competition. Both of the teams we played were good teams out of Florida. The weather cooperated and our kids got some valuable experience.”
VHS hosts Lee County on Tuesday.