Posted: Wednesday, April 11th 2012 at 9:55pm
Baseball: Falcons fall to Winder, tie for first in 8A-AAAA
By Jeff Hart Staff
FLOWERY BRANCH – The mission was a simple one for the Flowery Branch baseball team Wednesday.
Beat Winder-Barrow and the Falcons would be Region 8A-AAAA subregion champs and earn no worse than the No. 2 seed from the region in the state playoffs.
The Bulldoggs, however, had a mission of their own and spoiled the Falcons chance to win the subregion outright with a 6-5 win at the Hog Mountain Sports Complex.
The Falcons had put themselves into position to win the subregion after beating Winder 6-3 on Monday in the home-and-home series. With just two subregion games left, the two teams are tied atop the standings (Flowery Branch 15-4, 7-1 in subregion; Winder 14-6, 7-1).
“We’re disappointed because we could have wrapped it up,” Flowery Branch coach Scott Myers said. “Now we just have to take care of business and hope we get a break. It was there for us but we just couldn’t get the big hit.”
Junior Travis Demeritte did the majority of the damage for Winder-Barrow belting a wind-aided two-run home run in the first inning, scored twice, and then shut down the Falcons’ comeback bid by striking out six of the seven batters he faced in the final two innings.
The key play, however, came in the third inning. The Bulldoggs loaded the bases on two walks and a hit with one out against Flowery Branch starter Chase Hulsey. Dalton Carter then ripped a shot to right field that was lost in the sun by the Falcons’ right fielder allowing three runs to score. Carter would then come around to score on the play on an error by the shortstop for a 6-1 lead.
“Bottom line, we have to make that catch,” Myers said. “That turned out to be the big play. It was a great game and in a game like that you have to make all the plays.”
Hulsey pitched well enough to win and in essence was just two pitches from a shutout. He allowed just two hits after the third inning and fanned six for the game.
“Chase pitched very well,” Myers said. “Any other day (the home run) is a routine out and if we make that catch he gets out of the big inning. Now we just have to put it behind us and regroup for the finish.”
After Demeritte’s home run, Flowery Branch answered with a run in the bottom of the first on an RBI infield hit from Hulsey to trail 2-1.
After Winder-Barrow’s big inning, the Falcons cut the lead to 6-2 in the bottom of the inning on a bases loaded ground out by C.J. Navin. In the fourth, Brody Thomas tripled in Justin Seabolt, who walked with one out, and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Logan Conley to make it 6-4. The Falcons inched closer with another run in the fifth on a RBI single by Andrew Laur scoring Hulsey.
Flowery Branch had plenty of opportunities to take the lead in the middle innings but stranded seven base runners, five in scoring position. Demeritte slammed the door on any further comeback with four of the six strike outs swinging at nasty breaking pitches.
Both teams finished with five hits. For the Falcons, Thomas finished with two hits and scored twice, and Drew Miles, Hulsey, and Laur each had one hit.
For Winder, Christian Hodges and Grayson Ivey each had one hit, one RBI, and scored a run. Jake Frady and Drew Dunagan each had one hit for the Bulldoggs.
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