Valdosta Daily Times

April 16, 2013

Grand slam lifts Georgia Christian over Open Bible

Christian Malone
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — C.J. Lynch’s grand slam in the sixth inning helped Georgia Christian’s baseball team earn a 7-4 win over Open Bible on Monday.

The Generals scored seven runs in the last four innings, and came back from a 2-0 deficit to hand Open Bible only its second loss of the season.

“We played pretty well,” Georgia Christian head coach Donald Dawkins said. “That’s a big win for us. We’re at a turning point in our season. (This win) is going to be big for our confidence. We have three region games in the next 10 days, and I think it’s going to help us through.”

“They had one big opportunity to help themselves, and they did,” Open Bible head coach John Joye said. “They got some hits and we helped them add some baserunners. You can’t allow them to have that many opportunities, and we did. That hurt us, and they made it work for them. Credit to Georgia Christian.”

The game was tied 2-2 going into the top of the sixth. Cole Seasholtz started the inning with a single to left, one of his three hits in the game. He stole second, then went to third on a wild pitch. One out later, Cole Copeland and Dillon Greene walked, loading the bases. The next batter popped up to first for the second out. That brought Lynch to the plate.

With a 3-0 count, the pitcher threw a high fastball, and Lynch was ready for it. He connected with the pitch, and hit a long fly ball to deep left center field. The left fielder ran back to the fence, but could only watch as the ball sailed over the fence and into the Open Bible softball field for a grand slam, giving the Generals a 6-2 lead.

“It was a 3-0 count. (Coach Dawkins) said, ‘I’m not going to give you the take right here,’ so I said, ‘All right,’” Lynch recalled. “He pitched it how I liked it, and I went yard. It felt good.”

Open Bible came back with two runs in the bottom of the sixth. With two outs and nobody on, Patrick Eason singled to center. Eddie Garcia came in to run for Eason, stole second and went to third on a wild pitch. Nathan Infante walked, putting runners on the corners. Then pitcher Quinton Carter was called for a balk, and Garcia scored. Caleb Bowden hit a fly ball for what should have been the third out, but the center fielder dropped the ball, and Infante scored, making it 6-4.

Georgia Christian answered with a run in the seventh. With two outs, Seasholtz singled to left center and stole second. Ethan Boyd followed with a single to right, and Seasholtz scored to make it 7-4.

Open Bible had one last chance in the bottom of the seventh, with the bottom of the order coming up. Evan White was hit with a pitch to start the inning, but Carter retired the next three hitters to close out the win.

Open Bible grabbed the lead with two runs in the bottom of the first. Colton Jenkins walked to start the inning, and Eason was hit by a pitch. Lynch retired the next two hitters, but walked Matthew Infante to load the bases. Jenkins scored on a wild pitch. White was hit by a pitch, reloading the bases. Then Holden Highsmith beat out a ground ball. Garcia scored, and the Warriors had a 2-0 lead.

The score remained 2-0 until the top of the fourth, when Georgia Christian cut the Warriors’ lead in half. Seasholtz led off the inning with a line drive double into the gap in left center, then moved up on a wild pitch. Boyd followed with a fly ball to right, and Seasholtz tagged up and ran home to make it 2-1.

The Generals tied the score in the fifth. Leading off the inning, Lynch ripped a line drive that went over the center fielder’s head. He took off running, and made it all the way to third with a triple. Kyle Watkins followed with a single off of the shortstop’s glove, scoring Lynch and tying the score at 2-2.

The score stayed 2-2 until Lynch’s grand slam gave Georgia Christian a lead it would not relinquish.

Seasholtz went 3 for 4 and scored three runs for the Generals. Lynch was 2 for 3 with a home run and four RBIs. Boyd drove in a couple of runs and Greene had a couple of hits.

Lynch pitched the first 4 1/3 innings and allowed two runs and two hits, while striking out five. Carter replaced him on the mound, and pitched the final 2 2/3 innings. He held the Warriors to two runs, one earned, and one hit and struck out four.

“We got a good pitching performance,” Dawkins said. “This is (C.J.’s) first start of the year. He came out today and threw real well.”

Matthew Infante pitched the first three innings for Open Bible, and held Georgia Christian to no runs and one hit. He struck out six. Jenkins pitched the last four innings. Jenkins, Eason and Highsmith had Open Bible’s three hits.

Last month, Open Bible routed Georgia Christian 14-0 in Dasher. That day, the Generals committed four errors and their pitchers walked 17 batters. On Monday, they made two errors and the pitchers walked just five batters.

“Georgia Christian played much better today than they played the first time we saw them,” Joye said.

Open Bible begins its region playoffs today, hosting Byne at 4 p.m. Georgia Christian will travel to Fullington today for a region game.