The Valdosta Daily Times
The Valdosta baseball team swept Brunswick on Saturday in its final two Region 1-6A games of the season.
The Wildcats scored the winning run in their final at-bat in both games of the doubleheader. Corey Jaramillo hit a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the seventh in the first game, then Valdosta scored three runs in the top of the eighth to earn a 6-3 win in game 2.
For the Wildcats, it was a good way to end the region season, and a good way to celebrate senior day at Bazemore Field.
"I'm happy for our seniors to come out today on Senior Day and get two wins," Valdosta head coach Bart Shuman said. "We got them in the bottom (of the seventh) and we got them in extra (innings). Great wins for our kids."
Fans at Bazemore Field saw a classic pitcher's duel in game 1. Valdosta's Jacob Davis and Brunswick's J.R. Van Allen blanked the opposition for six innings, trading zeroes on the scoreboard. Davis pitched a complete game, and held Brunswick to no runs and five hits while striking out three. Van Allen allowed just four hits and one run in six-plus innings, and struck out six.
"Jacob Davis was just lights out," Shuman said.
Heading into the bottom of the seventh, Van Allen had faced the minimum 18 batters through six innings. Two batters had gotten base hits, but they had gotten out while on the base paths. But in the bottom of the seventh, the Wildcats finally found a way to break through.
Leading off the bottom of the seventh, senior Drew Morrison hit a soft line drive to the left side of the infield. Brunswick third baseman Dalton Flournoy dove to his left, but the ball hit off the tip of his glove and Morrison reached first with an infield single. Fellow senior Bradley Felkel drew a walk, putting two runners on base with no outs. Then a Van Allen pitch got away from the catcher, and the runners moved up to second and third.
That brought Jaramillo, another senior, to the plate. Jaramillo jumped on a pitch, and lined a base hit into left field. Morrison ran home and scored the only run of the game, giving the Wildcats a 1-0 win.
In between games, the senior baseball players and bat girls were recognized. Wildcat seniors Felkel, Brogen Berard, Casey Guilliams, Morrison, Zach Newham, Davis and Jaramillo were playing two of the final three games of their Valdosta careers on Saturday.
Then the Wildcats and the Pirates returned to the field for game 2, and played another game that went down to the wire.
Valdosta took the lead with two runs in the top of the third. Morrison led off with a single to right center, then Felkel hit a line drive past the third baseman and into left field. Two batters later, David Posas' single loaded the bases with one out. Brunswick pitcher Ryan Stewart then walked Brennan Goodson with the bases loaded, and Morrison scored the first run of the game. Jaramillo grounded out to short, but Felkel scored to make it 2-0.
With two outs in the top of the fifth, Jaramillo doubled to right center, moved up on a wild pitch, then raced home on another wild pitch, giving Valdosta a 3-0 lead.
At that point, Wildcat pitchers had held Brunswick scoreless for seven innings in game 1 and four more in game 2. But the Pirates finally broke through in the bottom of the fifth. Newham retired the first two hitters, but Kyle Bialousz singled to center and Stewart walked. Then Van Allen was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. Newham got an 0-2 count on cleanup hitter Jamond Kelly, then threw a pitch that was outside and up in the strike zone. Kelly ripped the pitch into deep right center field. The runners were running on contact, and all three crossed home plate to tie the score at 3-3. Kelly wound up with a double, but was stranded at second when Newham got Austin Guest to ground back to the mound for the third out.
Brunswick got a runner on second in the bottom of the sixth and Valdosta put a man on second in the top of the seventh, but neither runner was able to score, and the game went into extra innings.
Brunswick's Roy Poppell had pitched 4 1/3 shutout innings in relief of Stewart, but with two outs in the top of the eighth, Brunswick's coach took him out, possibly because he had reached his pitch limit. Seth Shuman greeted Guest, the new pitcher, with a double down the third base line. That brought Morrison to the plate, and the senior lined a single to left. Pinch runner Kaleb Whitfield scored from second, giving the Wildcats a 4-3 lead. Felkel walked, putting runners on first and second.
Brunswick changed pitchers again, and Flournoy, the new pitcher, got Berard to hit a fly ball to left.
But the left fielder overran the ball, and it fell just inside the left field line. Morrison and Felkel were running on contact, and both of them scored to increase Valdosta's lead to 6-3.
Berard took the mound in the bottom of the eighth, and closed out the win. He faced three batters, and got all three of them to ground out.
Newham was the winning pitcher. He allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings, and struck out five.