Valdosta Daily Times

April 24, 2013

Wildcats rout Brantley County in season finale

Christian Malone
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — The Valdosta baseball team dominated its final game of the season, routing Brantley County 10-0 in five innings on Tuesday at Bazemore Field.

The Wildcats pounded out eight hits, one of them a three-run homer by Craig Barry, and pitchers Brogen Berard and John Eager combined on a two-hit shutout.

“It’s great (to win this game),” Valdosta head coach Bart Shuman said. “I’m very excited for our seniors. We got on a roll here at the end of the year. Brogen was very good in the strike zone today. We had great at-bats. Of course, Craig Barry’s three-run homer was huge. We had a lot of people contribute.”

Valdosta finished the season 10-14. The ’Cats ended the year with a three-game winning streak.

“We got better the last month of the season, no doubt,” Shuman said.

The rout started in the bottom of the first, when the Wildcats put two runs on the board. Seniors Drew Morrison and Bradley Felkel were hit by pitches to start the inning. One out later, Corey Jaramillo singled home Morrison. Then Berard drove in a run with another single, giving Valdosta a 2-0 lead.

The Wildcats built on their lead in the second inning. Zach Newham led off the inning with a single. Casey Guilliams laid down a bunt, trying to move Newham to second, but the pitcher’s throw to second sailed into center field. Barry walked to load the bases. Morrison followed with an RBI single, scoring Newham. Felkel grounded into a fielder’s choice, but Guilliams came home, making it 4-0. David Posas also hit into a fielder’s choice, but that brought home Barry with another run. Posas stole second, then came home when Jaramillo doubled, giving Valdosta a 6-0 lead.

The offensive onslaught continued in the third inning. Jacob Davis led off with a single and Newham reached on an error. Two batters later, Barry stepped up to the plate. He saw a pitch he liked, and drilled it over the left field fence for a three-run homer, making the score 9-0.

Valdosta scored its final run in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs, Newham reached on an error and went to third on Guilliams’ single to right. Then Newham ran home on a wild pitch, making the score 10-0.

Berard held the Herons hitless for the first four innings. Brantley County finally got its first hit in the fifth. Berard struck out five batters in 4 1/3 innings.

With one out in the top of the fifth, knowing that his team was on the verge of a mercy rule victory, Shuman pulled Felkel, Jaramillo and Berard, so that the fans would have the chance to applaud them as they walked off the field after their final game at Valdosta.

Eager replaced Berard on the mound, and got the final two outs to close out the win.

Eight of Valdosta’s nine starters scored at least one run, and seven of them had at least one hit.

It was the final game for Valdosta seniors Felkel, Berard, Guilliams, Morrison, Newham, Davis and Jaramillo.

“I’m very proud of them,” Shuman said. “They could have folded it up two weeks ago, when we were (eliminated from) the playoffs, but they came out here, had great practices and we played our best baseball down the stretch. That in itself says a lot about our senior class.”