ALBANY — The interchangeable parts are still moving at Deerfield-Windsor, but the gears are now greased and running like a well-oiled baseball machine.
The Knights won their fifth straight game Saturday after an 11-1 rout of Stratford Academy in five innings and have now scored more than 50 runs during the hot streak after an opening Region 3-AAA loss to Southland.
“We feel like our baseball team — we’re getting better,” Deerfield head coach Rod Murray said. “This roster brings a lot to the game. We’re figuring out how to use them.”
The Knights had another key piece emerge Saturday in freshman lefty Johnny Croley, who picked up his second win with four innings of one-run baseball. Croley struck out six, gave up two hits and walked just one.
“He’s a battler,” Murray said of his freshman pitcher, who has already thrown in one big region game this season. “Everybody in this dugout and on this team felt good about him, and he’s going to throw some big games down the road for us, too.”
Senior catcher Gil Gillespie, who played in the outfield Saturday, has already been impressed by Croley’s repertoire on the mound.
“He’s got good stuff,” Gillespie said. “He mixes it up well. He has a lot of movement, even on his fastball. It tails away from right-handed hitters.”
There wasn’t a Knight in the lineup that had more than one hit Saturday, but nearly the entire roster got on base. Deerfield jumped on Stratford (4-6) for four runs in the first and three in the second.
“It was definitely a team effort,” junior first baseman Weston King said after going 1-for-2 with a RBI. “When you replace seven starters you need everybody to step in. We’ll get better. It’s still coming.”
Senior Lindsey Short, who had two RBI in the win against Stratford, will get his first chance to pitch Monday against defending GISA Class A state champ Crisp Academy, which split with the Knights last season. Short will add another piece to the Deerfield roster that has at least seven pitchers.
“Day by day, the depth on the mound that we thought we were going to have is starting to come on,” Murray said.
After going scoreless in the third and fourth innings, the Knights (7-2) put the game away in the fifth with four more runs. Matthew Fox drove in Davis Hines with a RBI bloop single and then scored on Sam Shellhaas’ liner to right field that was dropped by the Stratford outfielder.
Ke’Marvin Pitts walked with the bases loaded to score Coleman Butler and Harris Webb ended the game with the 10-run rule by driving in Tyler Cook with a single.
“We took advantage of some walks, but we also took advantage of some situations when we hit the ball,” said Murray, whose Knights had already beaten Stratford once this season, 7-0.
Hines pitched a scoreless fifth inning for Deerfield. Kh’Ron McClain walked twice and scored two runs in the win. Croley added a RBI hit.
Sherwood girls rebound from loss to DWS, rout Calvary
ALBANY — Jordyn Paramore scored twice Saturday to help the Sherwood girls soccer team improve to 11-4 overall and 3-2 in Region 3-AAA play.
The rebound win was extra important after the Lady Eagles dropped a tough contest earlier this week to Deerfield. Paige Barker and Kylee Harrod also scored for SCA.
The Lady Eagles return to action Tuesday vs. Westfield.
ASU softball, Darton baseball win again
ALBANY — The Albany State softball team stayed atop the conference’s East Division with a pair of wins at home Saturday against Claflin.
The Lady Rams (16-17, 14-2) won the opener of the doubleheader, 4-0, before edging the Lady Panthers (12-14, 6-8) in the nightcap, 4-3.
In the opener, Chelsea Hicks threw all seven innings and allowed just seven hits and three walks while striking out four. Former Bainbridge star Vanessa Jones, who finished 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI, was the only Lady Ram with more than one hit. Second baseman Adrienne Morris hit a two-run single and Anria Peterson had a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning to give the Lady Rams a 4-0 lead.
In the second game, Shelby Gale tied the game in the bottom of the seventh with an RBI single, and Kandis Banks singled in Bria Wallace for the winning run.
Wallace finished 2-for-4 at the plate with two runs, Gale was 2-for-4 with two RBI, and Virginia Morris was a perfect 3-for-3 with a double.
ASU will be in action again Monday at Clark Atlanta, which is ahead of only Paine in the East Division standings. The Lady Rams opened up conference play on Feb. 25 with a two-game sweep of Clark Atlanta.
g DARTON BASEBALL SWEEPS W. GA. TECH: Darton avenged its only Region XVII loss of the season Saturday, sweeping West Georgia Tech in both games of a doubleheader, 6-0 and 5-3.
The Cavs (23-8, 10-1) were four days removed from a 7-6 loss in 12 innings to West Georgia Tech, which snapped a nine game winning streak.
Tyler Oglesby threw a complete game shutout in the opener, allowing just three hits, while the Darton offense scored three runs in both the first and sixth innings. Cody Wofford was 3-for-4 at the plate with a run and an RBI, and Evan Carr, Bryant Alonso, Casey James and Davis Knapp each added an RBI.
A.J. Sunstrom, who improved to 4-0 on the mound with a win in the second game, lasted five innings and allowed just two hits and two earned runs, while Ethan Glass threw the final two innings to pick up the save.
Kevin Manos put the Cavs on top early with a two-run homer in the first inning. It was Manos’ third homer of the season and increased his nation-leading RBI total to 43.
The Cavs close the series today at West Georgia Tech.