Christian Heritage School Lions

March 25, 2014

What they’re looking for

Lions hope win starts push for state playoffs

The problems that have been plaguing Christian Heritage School’s baseball team finally plagued the other team.

The Lions took advantage of three crucial Mount Pisgah Christian errors, and the visiting Patriots couldn’t get the timely hit when they needed it as the Lions took a much-needed 5-3 win Monday night.

“We are pleased to be on the other side of one of those games for a change,” Christian Heritage coach Noah Stokes said. “It seems like that has been us all year. Our pitching has been good enough all season, but our defense has let us down a few times and we haven’t seemed to be able to get the big hit when we needed it a few times.”

The solid pitching that Stokes was talking about came from Brady Souther, who gave up four hits over five-plus innings. He worked his way out of jams, and the Lions (5-7, 2-5 Region 6-A) gave him a 1-0 lead in the third. The Lions tacked on three more runs in the fourth and another in the sixth.

Mount Pisgah (7-5, 4-3) scored a pair of runs in the fifth and its final run in the sixth.

“We have been close it seems like in every game this year and we haven’t gotten that hit at the right time or had a bad defensive play,” Souther said. “We turned that around tonight.”

The Lions got the big hit when they needed it in the third to start that turnaround. With two outs and Ian Robbins on first, brother Spencer Robbins delivered a shot to the fence in center for a double, bringing Ian all the way around for the score.

Hits and a couple of assists from Mount Pisgah led to the three runs in the fourth. Chase Tidwell reached on an error, and Jake Stokes followed with a double to right. Trevor Brown was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Christian Heritage went up 2-0 when Tidwell scored on a wild pitch. A two-out error on a grounder by Tyson Cooper brought Jake Stokes in, and Ian Robbins had an RBI single up the middle to push the lead to 4-0.

In the fifth, Souther lost the strike zone as he issued three walks. However, only one run scored for the Patriots, and after a double and a pair of walks with two outs, Souther got a flyout to left to escape. In the sixth, a walk, a wild pitch and an RBI single from Jacob Greene cut the lead to 4-2 and chased Souther out of the game.

Reliever Chandler Coley looked like he was going to get out of the inning without any more damage with three straight grounders, but a two-out error cut the lead to 4-3 before a flyout to left ended the threat.

Spencer Robbins got his second hit of the game in the sixth, going down the left-field line for another double that brought Cooper around to score.

The Robbins brothers combined to go 5-for-8.

Coley had three pop outs around a walk in the seventh to finish off the save.

“We walked a few too many people and we had a chance to put the game away and it could have been a little less stressful, but it was a big win,” coach Stokes said. “We have pitched well enough all year, and now we just need to string some things together. We needed some confidence, and I hope this game will give us some.”

The Lions are fighting for one of 16 spots in the Georgia High School Association’s Class A private school playoffs. The spots are determined by power rankings, and Stokes said his team will need a strong finish to the season to be in the running for one of those spots. Mount Pisgah made the state playoffs last season, and so did Christian Heritage, which lost to First Presbyterian in the first round.

Mount Pisgah is No. 9 in the latest Class A private power rankings, while Christian Heritage is 23rd out of 33 schools.

Christian Heritage has 10 games left on the regular-season schedule, and eight of those are at home.

Coach Stokes hopes that is a big advantage.

“We had a good crowd here today, and hopefully we can keep playing well,” he said. “If we are going to make the playoffs, we have to keep getting the pitching we have had and hit the ball. It isn’t complicated, and we just have to get one win at a time.”

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