THOMASVILLE -- Twenty-four hours after their game against Worth County was postponed because of rain, the Cairo Syrupmakers were enveloped by fog -- an offensive fog.
The Syrupmakers touched Worth County senior left-hander Allen Fender for just one hit in Wednesday's 12-1 Region 1-AAA loss at Jackie Robinson Field. Cairo trailed just 1-0 entering the sixth frame.
"Fender has been a good pitcher ever since I've been at Cairo," third-year Syrupmakers coach Ron Best said. "He's done this to us before. He doesn't throw hard, but he's crafty and knows how to make you miss.
Fender's dominant effort, which included five strikeouts, was delayed by a downpour that arrived just before the opening pitch was to be thrown on Tuesday. Best and Worth County coach Will Smith didn't dally before opting to try again on Wednesday, waiting only a few minutes before deciding not to wait out the rain.
"Coach Best and I agreed with the weather like it was -- lightning was popping in the distance -- that we didn't want to waste a pitcher for three innings and then have the bottom fall out again and we'd have to come back (Wednesday) anyway," Smith said. "We would both have lost pitchers while trying to win a region title. It worked out well because this was a beautiful day."
It was especially nice for the first-place Rams in the last two innings. They posted five runs in the fifth frame and six in the sixth. Until the late barrage, which featured seven hits and four errors, their lone score came on a first-inning homer by Fender.
Fender's towering blast was the only stain on Cairo starter Brandon McCrary's pitching line until shortly after he surrendered a double to Bryant Reddell to start the fifth inning. McCrary lasted three more batters before leaving with a 2-0 deficit. He allowed five hits and struck out three.
Smith's patience with his hitters was rewarded, however. Will Peacock, Lawton Cooper, Tyler Hembree and Jared Edwards broke the game open with fifth-inning hits that sandwiched an infield error.
"We hit some balls on the nose that didn't fall because Cairo was playing excellent defense," Smith said. "I just felt if we could maintain the lead until late in the game that Fender would be able to last. He's thrown several complete games and is great physical condition.
"We were hoping their pitcher would tire a little and we would be able to take advantage of that. The bottom of our order made him work and we were able to take advantage."
Reddell and Brandon Weaver chipped in sixth-inning hits that, coupled with three defensive lapses, helped the Rams extend the lead to 12-1. The Rams finished with nine hits.
---- Story by Mark Lastinger, Thomas Times-Enterprise
LEE'S POSEY, MCCALVIN BOTH HOMER IN LOSS:
VALDOSTA -- Lee County baseball stars Jess Posey and Justin McCalvin both launched home runs Wednesday against Lowndes, but thanks to the rest of the Trojans' dismal offense only accounting for two more hits in the game, it came in a losing effort, 9-5, in a rematch of a game Lee won earlier this year.
"We didn't play with a lot of emotion or enthusiasm," Lee County coach Rob Williams said. "We can't have games like that."
Junior Chase Burnfin (0-1) was making his first start, but it didn't quite go as planned. Burnfin gave up five runs -- but only one earned -- while allowing six hits in three innings.
McCalvin's dinger was his first of the season, while Posey's homer marked his second of the year.
Williams, meanwhile, only wishes he could've seen it.
"I was in the dugout getting onto the guys for some mistakes they'd been making when Jess came up to bat," Williams recalled. "And then all of the sudden -- CRACK! -- and then I just saw Jess running the bases."
Lee (14-6, 7-4 Region 1-AAAA) returns to action Friday in a doubleheader against Bainbridge, needing a split to lock up the No. 1 seed for the upcoming region playoffs.