MACON — Tattnall Square is making its final, dominating march through the GISA playoffs before moving to the GHSA next season.
Unfortunately for the Southland Raiders, they stood in the way.
Two-time defending state champion Tattnall Square muscled its way past Southland in Saturday’s Class AAA Final 4 with five-inning victories of 13-0 and 11-0.
Both games were quick and painful for the Raiders, but Southland coach John Brady, who watched his team advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2007, made it clear that the losses didn’t take away from the Raiders’ special season.
“I told them very simply after the losses that you can’t let one day define your season,” Brady said. “When you get in the playoffs, everybody but one team loses their last game of the season. We had a great season, and they have something to be proud of.
“If we would have played our best baseball of the year, I don’t even know if it would have been good enough against Tattnall.”
The Trojans will travel to Tiftarea next weekend as they try to win their fifth state title in the last seven years, and they looked fully capable of the feat on Saturday when they scored five runs in the first inning of the opener and never looked back.
The first inning set the tone for the Raiders, too. Brady said his team should have gotten out of the inning with a 2-0 deficit, but an error allowed three more runs to cross the plate. That was the kind of afternoon it was for the Raiders, who committed several fielding errors and mental lapses.
“They were really good, and we didn’t play particularly well,” Brady said. “Of course, they had a lot to do with that, but we made six or seven errors and had three more mental errors on top of that. When you do that against a really good team, it is going to get really bad.”
Southland’s pitching had been dominant in previous playoff games, but the Raiders’ pitchers didn’t have sufficient help behind them on Saturday, and Tattnall Square took advantage.
Southland’s Geoffrey McDonald started the opener, and Reed Dillard took the mound in Game 2, and both fell behind in the first inning. McDonald and Dillard, as well as Brandon Looney, will be back next season for the Raiders — something positive Brady could lean on in the wake of the sweep.
“We will have the heart of our pitching staff back next year,” he said. “We have some really good guys coming back next year.
“I am proud of these guys, and I just want them to realize that this does not define our season.”