VALDOSTA -- No runs, one hit, three errors.

Those are three good reasons Valdosta High lost 5-0 to Ware County Tuesday night at Bazemore Field.

Ware starter Randall Thrift took a no-hitter into the sixth, and combined with lefty Morris Grant on a one-hit shutout.

Ware might not have scored either, but three Valdosta errors led to three Ware runs, which was more than enough for the Gators.

"We didn't play well tonight," frustrated Valdosta head coach Bart Shuman said. "One hit and three errors. I'm baffled."

Part of the problem was Valdosta's inability to figure out the opposing pitcher. Thrift, who shut down Lowndes last week, held the Wildcats hitless the first five innings. Four of those five innings lasted three batters.

"We struck out 10 times. You can't do that," Shuman said. "All we can do is practice, and try to get better."

Brett McCrary opened the bottom of the sixth by flying out to center. Next up was Will Petersen. Petersen, the Wildcats' leading hitter, got a pitch to hit, and singled to center to break up the no-hitter.

At that point, Ware led only 3-0, and a rally was still possible. Thrift walked Kurt Lamon, bringing the tying run to the plate. The Gators brought in Grant to pitch. Grant walked Andrew Braley to load the bases.

The tying run was on first base, but it would stay there. Justin Coleman struck out, then John Courson did the same, and the bases were left loaded.

Ware came back with two runs in the top of the seventh, to further seal the deal.

Valdosta pitcher Stephen Newman was almost as good as Thrift Tuesday, limiting the Gators to only three hits and striking out eight batters. But all three of his team's errors came back to haunt him.

Newman struck out the first two batters in the second inning. Ware's Josh Anderson then walked on a full count, and moved to third on Brett Collins' infield single. Collins then broke for second. Braley, the VHS catcher, threw down, but no one covered second. The ball went into center field, and Anderson scored the game's first run.

The next inning, with two outs and a runner on second, Ware's Chris Johnson grounded back to Newman, whose throw went into right field, allowing a second run to score.

In the fifth, Newman made a pickoff move to first that froze baserunner Adam Brooks. But Newman's throw went wide of first, and instead of being out, Brooks went to third. Cuyler Martin drove him home with a sacrifice fly, making it 3-0.

Valdosta hosts Colquitt County Friday at 6 p.m.



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