OZARK, Ala. — Here they come again.
One year after advancing to the conference championship game as a No. 6 seed, the Albany State baseball team is making another tournament run.
The No. 3 seed Rams knocked off top-seed Claflin on Friday, 9-2, to advance to today’s semifinal game at 4 p.m. against either Kentucky State or Paine.
“We are really and truly playing better on defense,” said ASU coach Kenyan Conner, who was ecstatic that his team didn’t make any errors in the contest. “We are hitting the ball about the same, but we are being more consistent in the field.”
Demonzio Stubbs threw a complete-game, six-hitter one day after ace Ken Nesbitt tossed 190 pitches and went the distance in a 10-9, 10-inning victory against Miles.
Conner said his Rams had plenty of momentum after their extra-inning victory to open the tournament.
Now that momentum is overflowing.
“Once you win a few games like this, everybody starts to buy in all of a sudden,” Conner said.
The Rams tallied 14 hits and were led by Allen Hardy (2-for-3, 3 RBI, 2B), Stephen Lightfoot (1-for-4, 2 RBI, 2B), Eddie Mathis (2-for-5, RBI), Rickey Harris (2-for-3, RBI) and Theodore Tramontana (1-for-1, RBI, 2B).
Stubbs struck out one and walked six in his nine innings and allowed just one earned run.
LADY CAVS WIN OPENER: Darton’s Jessica Vason hit a two-run single with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning to cap Darton’s come-from-behind win in Friday’s Region XVII tournament opener.
The top-seeded Lady Cavs were trailing No. 5 seed East Georgia, 6-3, going into the bottom of the sixth, but Darton (43-5) plated four runs in the inning to win, 7-6.
“It looked like we were snake-bit in the first few innings and couldn’t get anything going,” Darton coach David Dews said. “We just kept battling and came back and won it late.”
The win keeps defending region champion Darton in the winner’s bracket and sets up a semifinal at 2 p.m. today against either Gordon College or Georgia Perimeter.
The winner of the semifinal will advance to Sunday’s championship game.
Vason finished 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI, Amanda Jaskolski was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI, Chelsea Showers was 2-for-4 with three runs and a double and Chantelle Curinton hit a two-run homer in the first inning.
Darton’s Katy Jordan threw all seven innings, allowed four earned runs and struck out eight.
GSW earns first trip to nationals
AMERICUS — Andrew Danna took his Georgia Southwestern men’s golf team to a No. 1 national ranking in Division II earlier in the season.
Now the GSW coach is taking the Hurricanes to their first national tournament.
The Hurricanes, who are now ranked No. 19 in the nation, will be seeded fifth in the regional competition May 7-9 in Conover, N.C.
The top five teams and the top two golfers from non-advancing teams will advance to the finals May 15-19 in Simpsonville, Ky.
“This is what we have been working for all year,” Danna said. “I am really happy for the guys. Our entire body of work this season was good, and it worked out that it was good enough to get into nationals. We are excited to have a chance to play in a championship.”