Tuesday night, everything went right for the Lowndes Vikings.
Lowndes pounded crosstown rival Valdosta 10-0 in five innings on Tuesday at Bazemore Field.
The Vikings played excellent baseball on Tuesday. They pounded out 10 hits and scored 10 runs. Dylan Roberts was dominant on the mound, allowing only one hit in four-plus innings. The Vikings committed no errors in the field.
“I think that’s the first run-rule game we’ve had all year,” Lowndes head coach Danny Redshaw said. “We played good defense. We pitched it well; Roberts went out there and pitched four solid innings. And we swung the bats well. That’s been our key all year; if we swing the bats, we’re going to have a chance to win.”
The Vikings swept the season series with the Wildcats. They had beaten Valdosta 8-2 on March 16 and 8-7 on April 3.
Lowndes is now 8-3 in region play, one game behind Colquitt County in the region standings. The Vikings will face the Packers on Friday night at Noel George Field, with the winner becoming the region champion.
“It’s a great opportunity in front of us on Friday night, to play for a region championship,” Redshaw said. “That’s all you can ask for.”
It didn’t take long for Lowndes to grab the lead on Tuesday. The Vikings scored three runs in the first inning, and took a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Leading off the game, Lance Jarriel lined a double down the left field line. Nick Higginbotham and Seth Evans reached base, loading the bases with nobody out. Ty Harwell grounded into a force out at third, but Jarriel scored the first run of the game. Mason Brooks hit a ground ball to short, but Evans beat the throw to third, and the bases were loaded again. Then Josh Day walked on a full count, and Evans came home. David Wortham drove in Harwell with a single, giving the Vikings a 3-0 lead.
Then Lowndes exploded in the top of the fourth, scoring seven runs and putting the game away. Jarriel walked to start the inning and was bunted to second by Higginbotham. Then Evans hit a high fly ball to deep center field. The wind was blowing out, and the ball sailed over the fence for a two-run homer, giving the Vikings a 5-0 lead.
After Evans’ home run, Harwell singled through the hole into left field, Brooks walked and Day singled, loading the bases. Wortham hit a fly ball to shallow right center. Valdosta right fielder Craig Barry gave chase and nearly caught it on the run, but the ball fell just in front of him. Barry fired the ball towards home plate to try to get the force out, but his throw was just off the mark, and Harwell scored. Then Valdosta first baseman Daniel Tefft fielded Tyler Rehberg’s ground ball and threw home, but his throw pulled the catcher off the plate, and Brooks scored to make it 7-0. After Valdosta changed pitchers, Parker Armstrong hit a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Day. Then Wortham came home when VHS pitcher Trey Haygood was called for a balk. Two batters later, Higginbotham’s infield single scored Rehberg with the final run of the day, making it 10-0.
“That big seven-run inning was huge,” Redshaw said.
The game was called after five innings, due to the mercy rule.
Roberts was virtually unhittable on Tuesday. The first batter he faced, Valdosta’s David Posas, singled, but that was the only hit the Wildcats could manage against the Vikings’ starter. At one point, Roberts retired 10 straight batters. He struck out five hitters in four-plus innings.
“He’s our go-to guy. We felt like we had to win tonight to have a chance to play for the region championship on Friday. He did a great job. He’s done a great job all year,” Redshaw said.
Redshaw pulled Roberts in the fifth inning, with the Vikings leading 10-0, and let Logan Hutchinson get the final three outs.
At the plate, Evans went 2 for 3 with a home run, two runs batted in and two runs scored. Wortham went 2 for 3 and drove in a pair of runs. Harwell was 2 for 3 with two runs and an RBI. Higginbotham also had two hits.
“We had guys contributing all the way through (the lineup), and that’s big,” Redshaw said.
Lowndes (14-10) will travel to Adel today to face Cook at 6 p.m.
Lowndes will play Colquitt for region title on Friday
Tuesday night, everything went right for the Lowndes Vikings.
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