VALDOSTA -- The Valdosta Boys Club team was an unkind host in its Dixie Pre-Majors state tournament opener.
Valdosta defeated Dacula 13-3 in a game shortened to five innings by the mercy rule Saturday.
Valdosta will play the winner of today's Duluth-Toccoa game on Monday at 7:30 p.m.
The game was close most of the way. But in the fifth inning, leading 5-3, Valdosta turned a two-run lead into a rout, scoring eight runs before the mercy rule kicked in.
Valdosta's Luke Selph was hit by a pitch to start the fifth. Ryan Carpenter doubled Selph to third, then Brandon Smith walked, loading the bases.
A new Dacula pitcher was summoned, but he was immediately greeted with a two-run double by Zach Millsaps. Bo Love lofted a fly ball that was dropped by the Dacula right fielder, and two more runs crossed the plate, making it 9-3. Love wound up reaching third base on the play, then scored on a passed ball.
Brandon Waller walked, then Corey Nichols' fly ball was dropped by Dacula's left fielder, and there were runners on first and second.
Another passed ball moved the runners to second and third, then Waller scored on Derrick Newham's infield single. With Nichols on third and Newham on second, Cam Newmans lined a single to center, making it 13-3.
Perhaps it was best that the 10-run rule did kick in at that point, since there were still no outs. Nine batters had come up to bat, and all nine had reached base.
Valdosta had initially jumped out to a 2-0 lead with two runs in the second. Smith scored on an error and Love on a passed ball.
Dacula responded with three runs in the top of the third, but Valdosta retook the lead with runs by Newham and R.J. Harris in the bottom of the third. Joseph Jones' RBI single in the fourth made it 5-3 VBC.
Valdosta starter Robbie Petit pitched two perfect innings before being replaced by Jones, who got the win.
Earlier Saturday, Duluth defeated Monroe County, 5-2, and Toccoa beat Thomson, 10-0. Duluth scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth for the win, while Toccoa only needed five innings to win by mercy rule. Duluth and Toccoa will play each other at 1 p.m. today, while Thomson and Monroe play in the loser's bracket at 3 p.m.
The Pre-Majors (16-under) tournament runs through Wednesday at Valdosta High's Bazemore Field.
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