NASHVILLE — Berrien’s special season came to a quick and stunning end far sooner than the Rebels could imagine.
Pierce County stormed into Dr. Frank Carter Field and swept away the home-standing Rebels’ dreams of a long playoff run with a pair of close wins in the second round of the playoffs on Wednesday.
The Bears came from behind when down to their last out to win game 1 5-2, then scored the go-ahead run in the sixth inning of game 2 to win 9-8.
Pierce County was able to manage Rebels superstar Larry Greene, who went 0 for 4 in game 1 and walked three times in game 2. He was stranded on deck as the tying run of game 2 when Kalen Dillingham struck out to end Berrien’s season.
Pierce County will travel to Buford in the AA quarterfinals. Berrien only lost two games all year coming into Wednesday but lost twice in six hours to finish the season 26-4.
Game 1: Pierce County 5, Berrien 2
Game 1 ended in a disastrous way for the Rebels. Drew Harrelson pitched the first six innings without allowing a run, and he took a 2-0 lead into the top of the seventh.
That’s when the wheels came off.
Harrelson walked the leadoff batter, and after getting a strikeout, gave up a single to put runners on first and second. The Bears gambled and gave up their second out when they had No. 9 hitter Codi Dixon sac bunt the tying run to third and go-ahead run to second.
The decision paid off when third baseman Kalen Dillingham unsuccessfully tried to backhand a hard grounder and Xavier McGauley scored from first to tie the game 2-2.
Cole Dowling followed with a hit to right that scored Micah Larson and put the Bears up 3-2.
Harrelson was taken out of the game and Kal Simmons entered, but the change didn’t help. Simmons gave up three consecutive base hits and two more runs scored to make it a five-run inning for the Bears. They scored four runs with two outs and took a 5-2 lead into the bottom of the seventh.
The Rebels started a rally in their half of the seventh when Bears starter Will Lowman walked the first two batters, but reliever Jayk Graham got a ground out and then got Dillingham to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Lowman got the win after pitching six innings and allowing two runs and four hits while striking out eight.
Harrelson’s outing was wasted, as he took the loss after allowing four runs, one earned, in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out seven and allowed just two hits in the first six innings.
The Rebels failed several times to expand their 2-0 lead. Their only two runs came on a sac bunt by Dillingham and a sac fly by Cole Stewart.
Their best scoring chance came in the fourth when they loaded the bases with no outs. However, they only got one run when Stewart plated Simmons on his fly ball left. Lowman got out of the threat when
Devonte Bass lined out to first and Spencer Johnson was doubled up after being caught too far off of second for a double play.
Game 2: Pierce County 9, Berrien 8
With time running out on their season, the Rebels put together a frantic and dramatic comeback only to watch the Bears steal the game away in the end.
Pierce County took a commanding 8-1 lead on a grand slam in the second inning by Vince Elliott, but the Rebels scrapped their way back to tie the game.
Simmons made it 8-3 with an RBI single in the fourth, then Spencer Johnson followed with a two-run single. Dalton McMillian made 8-6 with an RBI single of his own later in the inning.
The Rebels completed their comeback in the top of sixth. McMillian made it 8-7 on a sac fly, and Hunter Garrett belted a grounder down the third base line with two outs to score Johnson and tie the game 8-8.
The Rebels fought long and hard to get back into the game only to see the Bears take the lead right back in the bottom of the sixth. Brian Barefield and Will Lowman led off the inning with singles of off McMillian to put runners at the corners. After a popout, Tim Huff lofted a ball to Greene in center field. Pinch runner Skip Hunter tagged, raced home and beat Greene’s throw to put the Bears up 9-8. Graham, who came on in relief for the Bears in the third, pitched a 1-2-3 seventh and ended the game with a pair of strikeouts. Greene watched the final one from the on-deck circle.
It was a tough loss for McMillian. He entered the game for Ashton Sparks with the bases loaded and served up the grand slam to Elliott.
However, he settled in and gave the Rebels a chance by shutting the Bears down until the sixth.
Simmons started the game and was hit hard. The first two batters hit home runs, then Simmons gave up a single and a double before being taken out without recording and out.
Sparks, a freshman, allowed both inherited runners to score to make it 4-1, but he held the Bears in check the rest of the inning.
Unfortunately for the Rebels, Elliott hit a grand slam and a seven-run deficit was too much to overcome.
Pierce County knocks Rebels out of playoffs
- Local Sports
VSU softball wins South Region, headed to nationals
For the third time in four years, and second in a row, Valdosta State’s softball team will play in the national championship tournament.
The Blazers won their third South Region championship Saturday, beating Alabama-Huntsville 8-3 in game three of the best-of-three series at Steel’s Diamond at Blazer Park.
VSU baseball season comes to an end
Delta State scored seven unanswered runs to defeat Valdosta State 7-2 in an elimination game of the NCAA South Region Tournament at the UT Baseball Field Saturday afternoon.
Blazers take 1-0 series lead
Angela O’Connor launched a pinch-hit two-run home run over the left-field fence, tying the game against Alabama-Huntsville in the bottom of the sixth inning, and sparking the Blazers and their fans along the way.
Blazer baseball stays alive, beats Stillman
Valdosta State scored five runs in the first inning to defeat Stillman 6-2 in an elimination game of the NCAA South Region Tournament at UT Baseball Field Friday morning.
Lowndes’ Harwell, Wortham sign with Valdosta State
Lowndes’ Ty Harwell and David Wortham won’t have to go far to play college baseball.
Blazers host respected rival UAH in Super Regional
One would expect a matchup featuring two of the top softball programs in Division II to come in the national championship game.
Unfortunately for Valdosta State and Alabama-Huntsville, who have combined to appear in four straight national championship games, they won’t be meeting in title game on Memorial Day in Salem, Va.
Pop Warner Football coming to Valdosta
Pop Warner Football is coming to Valdosta.
The nationally known organization that puts an emphasis on education and developing American youth has been established in the Valdosta area and will begin playing football this August.
Blazers lose to Delta State, fall to loser’s bracket
If the Valdosta State baseball team is going to win the South Region Tournament, the Blazers going to have to do it from the loser’s bracket.
The Blazers (33-17) dropped their first game of the tournament Thursday, falling to Delta State 4-2 at UT Baseball Stadium.
VSU will face Stillman College, which lost to No. 1 seed and tournament host Tampa Thursday, Friday at 11 a.m. to advance to the weekend portion of the tournament. The loser will be eliminated.
Lowndes’ Willis, Breit named Region 1 Coaches of the Year
The All-Region 1-AAAAAA soccer teams were announced Wednesday and Lowndes was well represented.
Lowndes coaches Chris Willis (girls) and Jordan Breit (boys) were named the Region Coaches of the Year, after leading the Lowndes teams to region championships and going undefeated in region play.
Vikings commit 4 errors, fall to Roswell, 5-2
The small things matter in baseball, especially in a winner-take-all game three.
On Wednesday, Lowndes’ baseball team made too many mistakes on the little things. The Vikings committed four errors that led to five Roswell runs and were eliminated in the Class AAAAAA state playoffs with a 5-2 loss to the Hornets.
- More Local Sports Headlines
- VSU softball wins South Region, headed to nationals