VALDOSTA -- Two baseball teams kept doing what they've been doing lately on a Friday afternoon at Valwood School.
Tiftarea kept winning. Valwood let another one get away.
Tiftarea (10-1, 4-0) rallied from a 6-2 deficit after five innings, scoring two in the sixth and three in the seventh, to claim a 7-6 GISA Region 3-AA game over Valwood.
For the second-straight Friday, the Valiants (3-6, 2-2) lost a late-inning lead. Last Friday at Valwood, Terrell turned a 5-2 deficit after five innings into an 8-7, eight-inning win.
Valwood committed five errors and had a hotly contested balk in the last two innings this time.
"The difference between us and them is we have 5-1 lead with two innings left and we can't hold it," said Valwood head coach Brett Martin. "It's the same thing we did against Terrell.
"We're tightening up in the crucial situations. That's the difference between an upper-level team and a mid-level team. I'm disappointed because going into spring break we could be 4-0 in this region."
Down 6-4 in the top of the seventh, Tiftarea's Tanner Ivie reached on an infield error and moved to third on Clint Karsten's double to left-center, both off Valwood starter David Morgan.
Jonathan House's single off reliever T.C. Armes scored a run, and Karsten raced home when the hit was bobbled in left field.
Armes balked House to second (drawing an argument from Martin after the Tiftarea coaches complained on Armes' first pitch), then hit Taylor Hammond. The runners moved up a base on Kurt Rogers' sacrifice bunt and, after a walk loaded the bases, House score the go-ahead run on another infield error.
Reliever Josh Hobdy got out of the inning when Caleb Latham lined to first baseman Kent Crago. He turned to tag John Womack for the third out, and Womack lowered his shoulder into the fielder and was ejected.
Karsten (2-for-4) came on to pitch the seventh, and allowed Crago's leadoff single before getting two strikeouts and a flyout to end the game.
Reliever Matt Lee got the win, pitching 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. Tiftarea got out of a jam in the sixth on a fielder's choice out at the plate and a groundout with runners at second and third.
Tiftarea, down 4-0, scored twice in the fourth on Latham's RBI single and a throwing error. Two more runs scored in the sixth on two infield errors.
In all, Valwood committed eight errors.
Brian Reveron walked three times, stealing six bases and scoring three runs for the Valiants. Crago was 2-for-3, while Hobdy had a two-RBI single in the third.
Morgan had just two earned runs among his six total. He struck out four, walked three and allowed four hits.
"Morgan did a great job, but our defense let us down in the later innings," Martin said. "Hunter Casey did a great job behind the plate (throwing out a base stealer and a runner at the plate after an errant pitch)."
After spring break, Valwood hosts Deerfield-Windsor in a non-region game April 7.
React to this story:
- Lowndes sheriff: Four teens charged with murder
- GBI: Man faces murder charges for Remerton killings
- Berrien man pleads guilty in multimillion-dollar fraud scheme
- Appeals court deals blow to Rodemaker lawsuit
- Police: Teen dies in Valdosta wreck
- UPDATE: Mel Gibson shooting film in Downtown Valdosta; extras needed
- Changing Forrest: Street name petition has enough signatures to take to City Council
- City approves settlement offer in VPD excessive force suit
- Group protests Valdosta billboard censorship
- Settlement accepted in VPD excessive force case