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March 16, 2013

Prep roundup

Malone’s hit is winner for Colts vs. Dalton

VARNELL — For Coahulla Creek High School’s baseball team, the sixth and seventh innings of Friday’s game against Dalton played out a lot like the night before.

The difference was that after this defensive meltdown, the Colts had a chance to respond at the plate.

Designated hitter Patrick Malone’s two-run single was the game-winning hit in a 6-5 victory in non-region action.

It was one of the final tuneups before both teams begin league play, and the Colts also made the best of their shot at avenging a loss. Earlier this season, the Catamounts won 5-1 at home in a rain-shortened game.

Coahulla Creek (3-5) led 4-0 through five innings Friday, but a throwing error with two outs in the sixth allowed Dalton (1-6) to score two runs and end starting pitcher Braiden Jacobs’ solid performance.

In the seventh, with runners on second and third and no one out, Will Erwin had an RBI groundout to cut the Colts’ lead to 4-3. The next three batters all reached on errors by Coahulla Creek’s infield, and Dalton took a 5-4 lead. Only one of the three runs Zack Glines allowed was earned.

That was similar to Thursday, when the Colts held a 5-2 lead through five innings at Pickens but allowed two runs in both the sixth and seventh innings to suffer a loss Colts coach Michael Bolen called “a heartbreaker.”

“We’re going to have growing pains,” said Bolen, whose team made the state playoffs in its first season in 2012. “That’s just the bottom line.

“The guys showed a lot of character for coming back. ... Braiden pitched well and Zack pitched well. We just didn’t make plays behind them.”

In Coahulla Creek’s half of the seventh, Danny Stavrow led off with a single, Tucker Sheram struck out trying to lay down a sacrifice bunt and Scout Plott and Blake Phillips walked to load the bases. Blake Evans entered to pitch for Dalton, relieving Omar Lara, and Malone stepped up with the game in his hands.

“I’m thinking I need to hit a ground ball to the right side,” said Malone, a sophomore. “Just put it on the ground somewhere and let whatever happen happen.”

It wasn’t a grounder, but it worked. His hit down the right-field line fell in front of the right fielder, and both Stavrow and Plott scored to end the game.

“That was my first (walk-off hit),” Malone said.

Coahulla Creek scored its other runs in the third. Stavrow’s infield single drove in Erick Dominguez, then Plott’s two-run single brought home Michael Ward and Stavrow before Malone’s RBI groundout drove in Plott. The Colts only had five hits in the game, while the Cats had nine and were helped by six Coahulla Creek errors.

Dalton had at least one runner on base in each inning but couldn’t string together enough hits to get on the scoreboard before the sixth.

“That’s been the story of each of the last five bal games,” Cats coach Shane Ramsey said. “We’ve had people on, but we can’t score. We can’t get that big hit. We started to see that at the end of this game and we’ll have some momentum going into next week.”

Dalton opens Sub-region 7B-4A play on Tuesday against Southeast Whitfield. Coahulla Creek plays at 1 p.m. today at LaFayette and then begins Region 5-3A action Tuesday at Sonoraville.

Jacobs pitched six innings, allowing no earned runs off seven hits while striking out four. Michael O’ Brien started on the mound for Dalton, lasting three innings and giving up four earned runs off two hits and five walks while striking out three.

Lara pitched 3 1/3 innings, allowing two earned runs off two hits. Through his first three innings, he shut the Colts out.

“He comes in and throws strikes,” Ramsey said. “He has done a great job for us and will continue to do a great job.”

Northwest Whitfield 8, Station Camp (Tenn.) 6: The Bruins hit well and Wade Terrell turned in a solid effort on the mound as Northwest (4-2) won in a Scenic City Classic matchup played at Chattanooga’s Baylor School.

Terrell allowed one earned run on seven hits in a complete-game victory, striking out three and walking none.

At the plate, Brady Middleton was 3-for-4 with an RBI double, Edwin Hernandez was 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs, Brandon Smith was 2-for-5 with an RBI double, Andy Whisenant had a solo home run and A.J. Orozco added a double. The Bruins collected 13 hits.

“Most everything was pretty good,” Bruins coach Todd Middleton said. “The defense was a little shaky, though. Wade had to get too many extra outs. But he showed some great composure and kept plugging away.”

Station Camp — the school is in Gallatin, Tenn., outside of Nashville — scored one run in both the first and fifth innings and two in both the third and sixth. Northwest scored two runs in both the third and fourth before building a big cushion with a four-run fifth.

Sonoraville 7, Southeast 4: The Phoenix scored three runs in the sixth to pull away from the Raiders (3-5).

Pedro Vargas pitched the first five innings for Southeast, allowing just three earned runs off eight hits and four walks while striking out seven. Tyler Hale pitched the sixth, allowing three runs off four hits, and Blake Foster pitched a scoreless seventh.

At the plate for the Raiders, Abram Stanley had an RBI double, Foster was 2-for-3, Jose Vargas was 2-for-3 with an RBI, Austin Pratt had a two-run double and Colter Faith was 2-for-3 with two runs scored.

“We played fairly well. We had just one defensive miscue and it didn’t cost us,” Southeast coach Brad Lofton said. “They had big, timely hits in the sixth inning, and we had two runners on in the seventh with a chance to tie it but couldn’t pull it off.”

Gordon Lee 15, Christian Heritage 0: The Lions (4-5, 2-2 Sub-region 6A-A) managed just one hit in the home loss, which was shortened to six innings by the run rule.

The Trojans struck for five runs in the second, then slowly built their lead before a seven-run outburst in the sixth finished the job.

“Disappointing effort,” Christian Heritage coach Noah Stokes said. “We just weren’t ready to play. We haven’t done that in a while. It’s one of those things that’s hard to explain — you never saw it coming.”

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