Valdosta Daily Times

Top Sports News

April 4, 2012

Lowndes tops Valdosta

Vikings hold off late Wildcat rally, win 8-7

VALDOSTA — From hits, errors, runs and questionable calls to fan ejections, Tuesday night’s crosstown rivalry game between the Lowndes Vikings and the Valdosta Wildcats had it all.

Despite all the drama, and nearly three hours of baseball, the Vikings secured an 8-7 win over their crosstown rival.

“Seems like every time we play (Valdosta), or at least one time a year, stuff happens,” Lowndes head coach Danny Redshaw said.

With the Vikings (9-7) leading 8-6, and just three outs away from victory, Valdosta (4-8) started a seventh inning rally. Corey Jaramillo started the inning with a double down the left field line, a hit that just stayed inside the third base line. Jaramillo advanced to third base after Lowndes pitcher Dylan Roberts threw his pickoff throw into center field.

The play at third base was close, as Lance Jarriel’s throw from center arrived in sync with Jaramillo at the base, but the runner was called safe. The call sent Lowndes’ Redshaw onto the field to argue, and the same call earned a fan an ejection for arguing from the stands.

“I feel strongly that (the umpires) were 0 for 3 on all those calls,” Redshaw said. “And I think that most people here would agree with me. ... I just thought it was inconsistent.”

“It looked fair to me,” Valdosta head coach Bart Shuman said of the call. “This is a hard game to call, for anybody. But, it is what it is. No umpire is going to get (all of the calls) right.”

Following a near four-minute delay for the argument, Roberts struck out the next two Valdosta batters — Drew Morrison and Brogan Berard — before Jacob Davis delivered an RBI single that scored Jaramillo, which cut Lowndes’ lead to 8-7.

Kyle Wilkes then delivered a single, giving Valdosta runners at first and second base. Then Roberts beaned David Posas, which loaded the bases for the Wildcats.

“We are still very, very young,” Shuman said. “We gave up a few runs that were unnecessary and that got us in a hole, but I love the fight and the way we bounced back and found a way to get on base and score runs.”

Roberts calmed down, though, and forced Bradley Felkel to fly out to right field to end the game.

Roberts earned the save for Lowndes, recording the final six outs of the night. Pitcher Hank Davis earned the win for the Vikings, allowing no runs and no hits in his one inning of work.

Valdosta’s Brogen Berard took the loss on the hill, allowing eight runs (three earned) on eight hits in four-plus innings on the hill. Berard was plagued by poor defense, as the Wildcats finished the night with five errors, three from Posas at shortstop.

“Brogen did a good job and stayed in there and kept his composure,” Shuman said. “When everything else around him was going crazy, he was throwing strikes. I am just proud of the whole team and the effort.”

Both pitching staffs were sporadic. The Lowndes pitching staff hit six Wildcat batters with pitches, while Valdosta pelted one Viking batter on the night.

“We didn’t pitch it very well,” Redshaw said. “Nobody pitched it well. We were very fortunate to win.”

In the opening inning, it looked as though Lowndes was going to dominate. The Vikings batted around, scoring five runs in the process. On the first pitch of the inning, Jarriel belted a ball into left field for a single. Following a strikeout by Nick Higginbotham, Seth Evans reached on a double and Luke Miller reached on an error, scoring Jarriel from third.

Then Mason Brooks reached on another Valdosta error, which was followed by a Ty Harwell walk. Evans later scored on a wild pitch by Berard. Tyler Rehberg added two more runs to Lowndes’ lead with a two-run single, which made the score 4-0.

The Vikings weren’t done, though. On the following at-bat, Parker Armstrong drove in Harwell to make the score 5-0.

In the second inning, Trey Haygood led the inning off with a solo home run to left field for Valdosta, which was followed by a Jaramillo walk and a Kaleb Whitfield hit-by-pitch. Following a 4-6-3 double play, the Wildcats brought another run across home plate, as Jaramillo scored on a Davis single, which made the score 5-2.

After Lowndes added to its lead in the bottom of the second inning on a Miller home run to center field, Valdosta took over the scoring in the top of the fourth inning.

Facing new Viking pitcher Logan Hutchinson, the Wildcats used an error, a walk and a single to load the bases. Then Hutchinson drilled Valdosta’s Zach Newham to bring across a run, making the score 6-3. Posas continued the Wildcats’ charge, driving in Berard to bring Lowndes’ lead to just 6-4, with no outs in the inning. Felkel grounded into a fielder’s choice that scored Davis, which was followed by a game-tying RBI single from Daniel Tefft.

“I am very happy for them,” Shuman said. “We come to work every day, and they are getting better every game. We just have to stay with it and stay on course.”

The Vikings had an opportunity to regain the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning, loading the bases with just one out. But, after a meeting on the mound, Berard retired the next two Lowndes batters to end the inning, leaving the bases loaded in the process.

Lowndes regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning, using back-to-back doubles from Wortham and Jarriel to take a 7-6 lead. The two hits ended the day for Berard on the hill, and he was replaced by Haygood. Jarriel later scored on another error by Posas at shortstop, which made the score 8-6, Lowndes.

“I was real disappointed in the fact that we were not ready to play,” Redshaw said. “One thing I have said about this bunch is that they play hard, they don’t quit and they believe in themselves. That is a tough win, especially, like I said, when I don’t think we were mentally ready to play.”

Valdosta travels to Northside-Warner Robins today, and will face Warner Robins and Howard at 3 and 5 p.m. Lowndes will host Milton at 7 p.m. today.

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