VALDOSTA -- Even after an up-and-down regular season, Lowndes High looks as menacing as ever at state baseball playoff time.
After belting out a 14-7 victory in the first game of Thursday's Class AAAAA first round doubleheader, the Vikings kicked into an even higher offensive gear in the nightcap. Lowndes scored 10 runs in the first three innings to cruise to a 12-2 win in five innings and a series sweep over Brunswick.
LHS (20-8) now advances to a second-round series beginning Wednesday against Columbus-Hardaway. And after struggling to find its way at the plate most of the year, the Vikings had a power surge at Noel George Field, belting out three home runs on the evening.
Leading 3-0 as the visiting team in the top of the third, the Vikings started their onslaught with a Bowen Corbett double that scored Yancey Hartman. Gary Prine's sacrifice fly brought in Corbett before pitcher Will Thompson produced a two-run homer that also scored courtesy runner Jesse Bush and pushed the lead to 7-0. After Blake Griffin followed up with a single, starter Jason Owens was relieved after 2 1/3 fruitless innings.
Owens allowed eight runs -- seven earned -- on nine hits and two walks against one strikeout. But the fun wasn't over for Lowndes in the third.
Reliever Butch Morris started off with a walk to Brandon Ponder, bringing up Barrett Wilkes. The senior center fielder singled to score Griffin and advanced to third on a two-base error that pushed home Ponder. A wild pitch allowed Wilkes to score for a 10-0 advantage.
The Pirates (18-7) broke through for two runs in the bottom of the third, but Lowndes responded with a pair of runs in the fifth. Brandon Smith came on to retire the side in the fifth, ending the game via the 10-run rule.
Starter Will Thompson allowed two runs on seven hits in the winning effort. He struck out three batters and walked only one in four innings.
Ponder finished 2-for-3 with an RBI double in the second, while Wilkes and Buck Cargile went 2-for-4. Wilkes had a double, and Cargile produced a pair of RBIs.
For Brunswick, Raymar Nelson had a solo home run in the bottom of the third. Morris was 2-for-2 with an RBI, while Matt Price went 2-for-3 with a run scored.
Game 1: Lowndes 14, Brunswick 7
The Vikings got a grand slam from Buck Cargile as part of a six-run second inning, then survived a shaky defensive effort to preserve the win.
Lowndes was up 8-1 before the Pirates rallied in the top of the fourth. Jay Brown reached on a two-base error that scored William Philmore and consecutive walks forced home Morris. Matt Price singled home Brown and Drew Culpepper scored on the second error of the inning to cut the lead to 8-5.
The Vikings squashed the threat with three runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth. A Bowen Corbett double plated Cargile and Yancey Hartman. Corbett advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored thanks to a Jacob Jarvis sacrifice. Brunswick scored a pair of runs in the top of the sixth, but never seriously threatened again.
Luke Taylor got the win for Lowndes, giving up just two earned runs on five hits over four innings. He walked four batters and struck out three.
Jay Jones surrendered 11 runs on eight hits and five walks against four strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings for Brunswick.
Eight of Lowndes' nine starters got at least one hit in the contest, including Corbett who was 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Barrett Wilkes batted in a pair of runs, while Blake Bonner came off the bench for a two-run homer in the sixth. Taylor and Brandon Ponder had doubles for the Vikings.
Culpepper finished 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles to lead the Pirates. Philmore and Raynor Nelson also had doubles for Brunswick
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