LOCAL COLLEGE/PREP ROUNDUP: Darton golf holding on to region tourney lead — but just barely

Darton sophomore Shad Tuten shot a 2-over 74 Saturday at Stonebridge Golf & Country Club and is tied for third individually in the Region XVII tournament, which the Cavs are leading by eight strokes. (John Millikan/john.millikan@albanyherald.com)

Darton sophomore Shad Tuten shot a 2-over 74 Saturday at Stonebridge Golf & Country Club and is tied for third individually in the Region XVII tournament, which the Cavs are leading by eight strokes. (John Millikan/john.millikan@albanyherald.com)

ALBANY — No. 11 may be a little tougher than the previous 10.

Darton, which is looking for its 11th straight Region XVII championship, shot a 1-under 287 in Saturday’s second round of the region tournament — but Gordon College is right on the Cavs’ heels.

Gordon shot a 289 and is just eight shots behind Darton heading into today’s final round.

“If the conditions are as bad as they sound like they could be (today), then it could get pretty dicey very early,” Darton coach Bill Jones III said, referring to today’s forecasted winds of 25-40 mph.

Darton’s Joe Sakulpolphaisan, the No. 1-ranked junior college player in the nation, continued to run away with the individual lead. He fired an opening-round 69 on Friday, but then came back and shot a five-under 67 on Saturday to take an 8-shot lead into the final day.

Sakulpolphaisan, who was runner-up in last year’s region tournament, didn’t make too much noise at the beginning of the round when the weather was calm.

He waited until his final four holes — when heavy rain moved into the area — to make his move. The native of Thailand birdied the final four holes to shoot the low round of the tournament.

“It started pouring on Joe at about No. 14,” Jones said. “He made one putt (on No. 15), and the rest of it was history.”

Darton freshman Nick Green shot a 72, while teammates Shad Tuten and Chase Jones shot a pair of 74s and Robert Robertson carded a 75.

Tuten is 1-over and tied with Gordon’s Andrew McLarnon for third overall, while Green (2-over) is fifth and Jones (3-over) is sixth.

The other three region teams are dozens of shots behind Darton and Gordon, including Andrew, which is in fourth place at 65-over. The Tigers shot a 326 on Saturday and were led by Linus Manntz’s 75.

Darton and Gordon tee off together in today’s final round, beginning at 9:50 a.m.

“We just have to take care of business (today),” Jones said. “(On Saturday), Shad didn’t play very well, and Robert was under par and had two double bogeys coming in. We just need to finish off our rounds. Joe really finished off his, and that’s why we are where we are.”

DARTON BASEBALL LOSES AGAIN: The Darton baseball team had won 12 of its last 13 games on April 11 when the NJCAA stunningly dropped the Cavs from No. 12 to No. 20 in the national poll.

Maybe the voting committee knew what was coming.

Since dropping in the polls, the Cavs are 2-4 and have lost four of their last five games — a slump that continued Saturday when they lost to Gordon, 8-7.

Darton (34-13, 19-5) dropped a full game behind Middle Georgia in the Region XVII standings with just two weeks left in the regular season.

Jordan Villhauer threw 4 1/3 innings and got the loss, giving up five hits and three runs. The Cavs used six relief pitchers — Nate Harris, Ethan Glass, Michael Aker, Steven Williams, Andrew Crumbley and Shawn Thomas — in the final five innings.

The Cavs had the tying run on third and the go-ahead run on second in the top of the ninth when Russell Melton hit a sharp ground ball up the middle that looked as if it would give Darton the lead. However, Gordon’s shortstop got a glove on the ball and fired it to first base in time to throw Melton out by a half of a step to end the game.

Davis Knapp was 5-for-5 — all singles — with two runs to lead the Cavs at the plate, while Cody Wofford was 3-for-5 with an RBI and Bryant Alonso was 2-for-5 with four RBI.

Darton plays again Tuesday at home against Middle Georgia, which kicks off a four-game series with the Warriors.

ASU BASEBALL SPLITS: Albany State won Saturday’s opener in dramatic fashion before losing by 11 in Game No. 2 against conference foe Paine.

In the first game, center fielder Eddie Mathis hit a single to right field in the bottom of the seventh inning to score three runs and give the Rams (18-20, 12-8) a come-from-behind, 10-9 victory.

Also with multiple RBI for the Rams was Rickey Harris, who was 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI.

In the second game, Paine pulled away late with six runs in the sixth inning and four more in the seventh inning.

The Rams managed just five hits, and Allen Hardy knocked in Albany’s only run in the third inning.

Albany plays again at 1 p.m. today at home against Paine, which wraps up the Rams’ regular season schedule.

DWS wins 7th in a row, moves to 16-3

Johnny Croley threw a complete game Saturday against Glenwood (Ala.) to lead the Deerfield-Windsor baseball team to a 2-0 victory.

It was the Knights’ seventh win in a row, improving their record to 16-3 overall.

Croley, who had eight strikeouts and allowed just four hits on the mound, was also 1-for-2 at the plate with an RBI. Kh’Ron McClain was also 1-for-2 and knocked in the other run for the Knights, who play again Tuesday at Sherwood.

Sherwood celebrates Senior Night with win

ALBANY — Paige Barker, Sherwood’s lone senior, was the center of attention during Saturday’s Senior Night win against Georgia Christian, which the Lady Eagles won, 3-0.

Barker, who is a five-year starter and a center mid fielder/forward on this year’s team, scored one goal.

Jordyn Paramore and Christina Charles each added a goal for the Lady Eagles (17-5), who play again Tuesday at home against Tattnall Square in the state tournament opener.