LOCAL COLLEGE NOTEBOOK: Valdosta St. drops GSW baseball for first loss of season

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

VALDOSTA -- Georgia Southwestern's baseball team rallied from a 6-0 deficit to take the lead against Valdosta State, only to watch the Blazers pulled back away for a 13-9 victory Wednesday afternoon for the Hurricanes' first loss of the season.

"I was really pleased with the way our guys fought back after we got down, 6-0, early," GSW baseball coach Bryan McLain said. "We made a pitching change and Tyler Daniel came in and did a good job holding them where they were. We did a good job swinging the bats while we rallied."

After Valdosta State jumped out to its early lead, the Hurricanes' Bud Long sparked a rally with a two-run homer fourth inning. Then in the fifth, Paschel Poston hit a two-run single, followed by a Kevin Carroll RBI single. Long added another RBI via a double, and Carroll scored on an error to give GSW a 7-6 lead.

From there, the Blazers came back, tying the game in the bottom of the fifth and pulling back away.

"We just couldn't hold on," McLain said.

The Hurricanes' Jared Allen was the losing pitcher.

"We made some small mistakes and gave them extra chances for runs," McLain said. "They scored two runs on a wild pitch or passed ball, however you want to look at it. But we hit lineouts while having people in scoring position. We were snake-bit from that standpoint."

Georgia Southwestern (2-1) next plays Friday at West Alabama.



Former Terrell County star Shaylia Jester was named the Region XVII Player of the Week after finishing with 10 points, five rebounds and a block during a 51-45 loss recently against Atlanta Metro. Then, in a 75-67 loss against Georgia Perimeter on Monday, she had a career-high 30 points, 14 rebounds and two steals.

In all, she averaged 20 points, 10 rebounds and a steal during the week.

"She has really turned it on for us," said Darton coach Laura Blackwell, whose team is 14-11 overall and 4-5 in the region. "I'm very proud of how she's maturing on the court as a freshman."

Darton plays its final home game today against Andrew at 5:30 p.m., and the sophomores will be recognized.

"There is a lot of emotion," Blackwell said. "Their parents will be here and all eyes are on them. They are excited and it's something they can reflect on."



Albany Tech hosts Darton at 2 p.m. Saturday at Albany State in a rematch of the Jan. 16 game the Lady Cavaliers won, 69-43.

While the Lady Titans prepare for that game, they are rallying around the strong play of former Worth County star Ann Wilcher, who leads the region in two categories (13.6 rebounds and 3.7 blocks a game) and is second in another (51 percent shooting).

"Hopefully we can just put it all together and push forward and peak in the region tournament," said Albany Tech coach Kenneth Williams, whose team is 10-11 overall and 1-7 in the region.



The Albany State women's tennis team is scheduled to host Georgia Southwestern at 1 p.m. Friday -- weather permitting. The Lady Rams, who beat Savannah State in their season opener, 8-1, impressed their coach, Khadijah Ali.

"They were extremely confident; they

seemed comfortable and confident in their skills," Ali said. "They had been practicing extremely hard since last semester. They even played a lot better than I thought they would. I think they were really tired of practicing and ready for a match."

At the Lady Rams' No. 2 spot, Carolina Ribeiro is playing tennis for the first time since the age of 12, but still won against Savannah State. She and her doubles partner, Dominique Lambert, also emerged with a victory.

If Friday's match against Georgia Southwestern is rained out, the Lady Rams will travel to Montevallo (Ala.) on Feb. 19 at 3 p.m.



There is plenty of local talent on Georgia Southwestern's men's and women's teams.

Leigh Adams (Westover), Mollie McGowan (Southland) and Melinda Vansant (Lee County) are on the women's team, while Benny Eiler (Southland), Jordan Resnick (Southland) and Brandon Vann (Southland) all play the men.

McGowan is seeded second on the women's team.

"She has a great desire to win," GSW coach J. Brennon Sewell said. "She's very athletic and that carries her a long way."

The men and women's teams, who are 2-1, host Columbus State at 2 p.m. today. Sewell added he hopes Vansant can continue her strong doubles play.

"She's a very smart doubles player and understands the angles well," Sewell said. "She has more doubles smarts than any of the other girls."