Christian Heritage School Lions

May 5, 2012

Prep baseball: Colts come up short on road; CH leads series

Coahulla Creek’s baseball team surprised Northwest Georgia with its success this year in its inaugural season, but the Colts were unable to produce a happy ending Friday in Northeast Georgia in the GHSA’s Class 2A state playoffs.

Playing a best-of-three series in the opening round of the bracket, Coahulla Creek’s season ended via a Hart County doubleheader sweep.

The Colts lost 4-1 in the first game and 11-0 in a mercy rule-shortened second game in Hartwell. A third game, if necessary, would have been played today in Hartwell.

The Colts (17-9) enjoyed success this season largely by not allowing walks and having the defense making plays behind the pitcher. They went the opposite direction Friday, with a number of errors in the doubleheader.

The day started well for Coahulla Creek, which held Hart County scoreless through the first four innings and got on the board in the fifth inning to take a 1-0 lead on an RBI single from Josh Swinford that drove in Cody Wood. However, Colts starting pitcher Tucker Sheram was saddled with three errors in the bottom half of the inning, resulting in all four of Hart County’s runs.

“We started to do some uncharacteristic things,” Colts coach Michael Bolen said. “In the first game it was just one inning. It was good baseball up until that point. One thing led to another and it continued to build up.”

Sheram pitched five innings, allowing four runs, just one earned, off five hits. At the plate, Tyler Higgins was 2-for-3 and Swinford had a hit and drove in a run.

In the second game, the Colts never rebounded and another tough fifth led to the game ending after six innings.

Braiden Jacobs went 4 2/3 innings on the mound for Coahulla Creek. He allowed six unearned runs off seven hits.

In the top of the fifth, with Coahulla Creek down 2-0, Hart County scored six runs to break it open and scored three more in the sixth to end the game.

“Mentally I just never felt like we were in the game,” Bolen said. “We never had time to lick wounds after a tough loss. We should’ve won (the first game) 1-0, or at least had a chance.”

Swinford, Austin Busby and Levi Wilson each had a single in the second game.

Bolen said his team is young and will rebound after some time to get over the tough ending.

“It’s good experience as far as everything goes,” he said. “This is going to hurt for a little bit and that’s a good thing. You want it to hurt a little bit, but once the bad taste gets out of their mouth they will look back and what they accomplished this year. We’re in the early infant stages of a program and we are just building, but as far as where we’re at, the guys have it headed in the right direction.”

Coahulla Creek, in only its first year, was the only area baseball team to advance to the Georgia High School Association state playoffs. The Colts emerged from Region 7-2A as the No. 3 seed after winning a best-of-three series with River Ridge, 2-1. Hart County (16-10) came in as the Region 8 No. 2 seed.

Christian Heritage 1, Piedmont Academy 0: The host Lions won the first game in a best-of-three series in the first round of the Georgia Independent School Association Class 2A state playoffs.

Michael McKinney pitched a complete game for Christian Heritage (16-5), allowing two hits and striking out four. Chase Kranzlein went 2-for-3 for the Lions, who scored their lone run in the third inning.

With runners on first and third, a pickoff attempt at first resulted in a rundown and allowed Pate Duddleston to score from third. Christian Heritage had only five hits.

“It was pitching and defense, no doubt, today,” Lions coach Noah Stokes said. “We hit several balls hard right at them.”

The series resumes today at 1 p.m. at Christian Heritage. If Piedmont Academy wins that game, the two teams will play again today to determine the series winner.

Christian Heritage is the Region 4 No. 2 seed, while Piedmont Academy is the Region 1 No. 3 seed.

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