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LOCAL COLLEGE/PREP BASEBALL ROUNDUP: Darton's season ends in region tourney; Terrell Academy swept in GISA AA Elite 8; Crisp Academy gets back to Final Four in Class A

Darton baseball achieved a program-best 37 wins under first-year coach Scot Hemmings.

Darton baseball achieved a program-best 37 wins under first-year coach Scot Hemmings.

COVINGTON — It was a season during which the Darton College baseball team broke down walls and raised expectations to an entirely new level under first-year coach Scot Hemmings.

But the program’s record-setting campaign was stopped in its tracks Saturday when the Cavs lost back-to-back games in the Region XVII Tournament, falling first to Georgia Perimete, 11-6, then later Saturday, 3-2, to South Georgia College — a team it swept during the regular season.

The Cavs’ meteoric rise included a program-best 37 wins and first-ever national ranking, but Darton slumped down the stretch, losing 12 of its final 15 games to finish 37-21.

Former Lee County star Matt Aldrich took the loss in Game 1, going 6 2/3 innings, while striking out two and allowing 14 hits. Kevin Manos, who once led the nation in RBI during Darton’s midseason hot streak, finished 3-for-3 with a run scored in the opener.

Then, with Darton’s backs against the wall in the losers’ bracket in Game 2, the Cavs looked primed to extend their season as they led, 2-1, going into the seventh. But after starter Ryan Good was pulled in the sixth inning, normally dependable reliever Andrew Crumbley came on and blew the save when he gave up three hits as South Georgia took the lead and never looked back.

Davis Knapp finished 3-for-5 in Game 2, while Bryant Alonso was 2-for-4 with an RBI.


GISA CLASS AA ELITE 8: Terrell Academy eliminated by Brentwood

SANDERSVILLE — One season after finishing a disappointing 9-16, the Terrell Academy baseball team was able to find solace in how its 2012 campaign went — even if it did end much earlier than the Eagles had hoped.

TAE was eliminated from the GISA Class AA state playoffs Saturday in the Elite 8 by the No. 1-ranked AA team in the state, Brentwood, by a final of 14-1 in five innings.

But coach Ashley Walker wasn’t as bummed as many might’ve expected.

“That’s the best Class AA team in the state, no doubt about it,” he said of Brentwoon, which improved to 25-1 with the clean sweep of the best-of-three series. “They hit the ball, play great defense, they can pitch — they’re the best team, period, I’ve seen in a long while. I just told my kids afterward that we ran into a buzzsaw but that I was proud of everything they accomplished this year.”

The Eagles, who finished 15-11, are fairly young and will only lose two seniors: Garrett Hutchinson and Kyle Stratton. It was Hutchinson who shouldered the loss on the mound Saturday after giving up eight runs in just 2 1/3 innings, while Stratton, who has struggled since the playoffs began a week ago, ended his TAE career with a bang by belting a solo home run. It was, however, the Eagles’ only hit of the game.

“Overall, this year was a step in the right direction,” Walker said.


GISA Class A State Tournament: Crisp Academy back in Final Four; Westwood finds out semifinal opponent

CORDELE — The defending GISA Class A state champion Crisp Academy baseball team is headed back to the Final Four after a Game 2 rout on Saturday, 14-0 in five innings of Westminster Christian.

Rush Brown (3 IP, 5Ks) and Jordan Howard (2 IP, 3Ks) combined to throw a no-hitter, while Game 1 winning pitcher James Bodrey blasted his third home run of the season and finished 3-for-4 with a double. Howard added a triple, double and four RBI, while Jeff McKinney had two hits.

The win puts Crisp up against Bethlehem on the road Friday.

WESTWOOD WILL TRAVEL FOR FINAL FOUR: The Wildcats, fresh off a sweep of Nathanael Greene on Friday, will be on the road for the GISA Class A Final Four next week after David Emmanuel beat Thomas Jefferson on the other side of the bracket Saturday.

The series will begin Friday and continue, if necessary, Saturday.