Sports

March 11, 2014

Prep roundup: SE offense keeps foot on throttle

As long as Southeast Whitfield High School’s baseball team continues to hit the ball and score runs the way it has so far this season, it really won’t matter what the defense does.

Coach Brad Lofton still likes how the Raiders’ fielding is improving.

Two days after scoring 42 runs in two games against Gordon Central and Murray County, the Raiders won their fifth straight — and sixth in the first seven games — with a 15-5 victory against Gilmer on Monday in Elijay.

“I told the guys that I expected us to start off pretty hot, and they have responded,” Lofton said. “They understand the opportunity we have. You want to have offensive production, and the pitchers have done a solid job. Defensively, we have some things that we will have to work on. We still have a long way to go, but we have a good chance to have a really, really solid season.”

Offensively, there’s little to complain about — the Raiders have scored 69 runs in the past four games.

Against Gilmer, Abram Stanley was 4-for-4 with a pair of hits after the Bobcats issued intentional walks to pitch around shortstop Blake Foster — who still had a pair of RBIs even though he only had two official at-bats.

Colter Faith was 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs. His two-run hit in the top of the fifth put the Raiders up 6-5, and the offense kept scoring.

Chase Jenkins was 2-for-4, and Rhett Harper finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Harper also got the win, pitching 3 2/3 innings of relief as he gave up one hit and struck out eight.

At one point, Southeast was down 5-2 despite the fact that starting pitcher Daniel Chavarria gave up just two hits in 3 1/3 innings. Only one of the five runs he gave up was earned as the Raiders were hurt by a pair of errors.

“We had adversity in our face there and just battled through it,” Lofton said. “We settled in and got back to playing good defense. We just have to cut back on the mistakes.”

• Gordon Lee 3, Christian Heritage 2: A two-out hit brought home the winning run for the Trojans in the bottom of the seventh and dropped Christian Heritage to 4-4 overall and 1-2 in Region 6-A.

The teams combined for just eight hits — Gordon Lee had five and Christian Heritage had three — but the Lions weren’t able to collect on solid efforts in the field and on the mound.

Spencer Robbins started for the Lions and allowed a pair of runs on five hits and two walks while striking out two in 5 1/3 innings. Trevor Brown took the loss after working the final 1 1/3 innings, allowing a run on a hit and a walk.

Gordon Lee took a 1-0 lead in the second, but Christian Heritage tied as Ian Robbins scored on a passed ball in the sixth. The Trojans went back up 2-1 in the bottom half of the inning, but Jake Stokes’ RBI double put Christian Heritage up 2-1 in the top of the seventh.

“We put the ball in play ... We had some ‘at ‘em’ balls.,” Lions coach Noah Stokes said. “We played good defense and pitched well, we were just a couple of plays short. Gordon Lee’s a tough team, but we’ve got to get on the right side of those going forward.”

• Pickens 15, North Murray 10: Lake Burris was 2-for-3 with three RBIs, including a two-run homer in the sixth, and pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief as the Mountaineers (3-6) lost at home.

Brody Frazier was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer in the fourth as North Murray cut Pickens’ lead to 11-8, but the Dragons pushed across four in the fifth to put the game out of reach.

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