The Valdosta Daily Times
The small things matter in baseball, especially in a winner-take-all game three.
On Wednesday, Lowndes’ baseball team made too many mistakes on the little things. The Vikings committed four errors that led to five Roswell runs and were eliminated in the Class AAAAAA state playoffs with a 5-2 loss to the Hornets.
“Tough way to lose,” Lowndes head coach Danny Redshaw said. “The defense let us down there at the end. We battled, we fought till the end. I am proud of them. That is all about you can tell them.
“I tell our guys all the time, when you have two evenly matched teams, which ever team does the little things right (is going to win). They did and we didn’t. That was the difference. It is not that hard to figure out.”
Lowndes finished the season with a 22-11 record, while Roswell will face Walton, which defeated Tift County Wednesday, in the state semifinals.
“We rode our seniors. They did a heck of a job all year; great leadership,” said Redshaw, who led the Vikings to the Region 1 championship this season.
With the game tied 1-1 in the top of the sixth inning, a pair of Viking errors gave way to four Hornet runs, breaking open a tied game and putting Lowndes in a four-run hole with only six outs to play. It was a deficit that was too much for the Vikings.
The inning started with an error in shallow left field by shortstop David Wortham, who dropped a fly ball. Then, Cam Buescher overthrew a routine play to first base, pulling the covering Mason Miller off the base.
After a ground out to third base advanced the runners into scoring position, Roswell executed a sacrifice squeeze bunt to score the leadoff batter of the inning, making the score 2-1. Then, Roswell connected on three straight singles to score the final three runs of the inning, taking a 5-1 lead.
“I thought we played well until right there in the sixth inning,” Redshaw said. “Didn’t make some clutch plays. That was the difference.”
Roswell took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, scoring the run off a Lowndes error that occurred when catcher Josh Day was attempting to throw out a base runner at second base. The ball bounced past Miller at second base and into the outfield, allowing the Hornets’ leadoff batter to score from third base, after reaching on a hit-by-pitch.
Lowndes evened the score in the fourth inning when Blake Smith singled and scored on an RBI double into left field by Buescher. On the play, Day was tagged out at home on the relay throw from the outfield.
Then, in the bottom of the seventh inning, Lowndes’ Ty Harwell hit a solo home run to left field, making the score 5-2. It was Harwell’s first home run of the season, coming on his final at-bat of his high school career.
Dalton Register took the loss on the hill for the Vikings, allowing all five unearned runs on seven Hornet hits. He struck out three batters in his first start since April 24.
“He gave us a chance, didn’t he?” Redshaw said. “He pitched well. You know, he was our No. 2 starter in the first half of the season, before (Logan Hutchinson) got healthy. He was one of our two region Friday night starters. He did a great job....He gave us a chance. He is a winner.”
Henry Hoff replaced Register, allowing no runs on one hit in 1 1/3 inning, making his second straight relief appearance for the Vikings.
For Roswell, Wake Forest signee Connor Johnstone allowed two runs on four hits, striking out four.
“I thought we swung it pretty good,” Redshaw said. “We didn’t square it up a whole lot. We didn’t have but three of four strikeouts. We put the ball in play. You don’t see too many guys like that at our level.”