Lincoln County High School took advantage of its opportunities Wednesday while Grovetown didn’t, and it cost the Warriors.
The Warriors stranded four men in the first three innings and the Red Devils (6-4) used an eight-run sixth inning en route to the 10-2 win.
There was plenty for Warriors head coach Mike Jones to be unhappy about in the pivotal sixth inning, which began with the teams tied at 1.
After allowing a one-out walk, Warriors starting pitcher Phillip Dukes appeared to have thrown out the Red Devils’ Tom Reeb on a bunt attempt, but Reeb was called safe.
The next batter, Price Rogers, bunted to the left of the mound and beat Duke’s throw to first. That loaded the bases without the ball leaving the infield.
Max Ashmore followed with a two-run single to open the floodgates. Dukes would leave four batters later after an out, a single and two more walks.
Cody McAllister came on in relief and an error behind him scored two more runs, which were charged to Dukes (0-2). Dylan Norman then hit a two-run single before the Warriors (7-8) got out of the inning.
“They hit the ball when they needed to and we didn’t,” said a visibly upset Warriors head coach Mike Jones, who kept the team in the dugout for a 15-minute talk after the game.
Dukes (0-2) took the loss after allowing eight runs on eight hits with four strikeouts and three walks.
Garrett Haskins and Cameron Busby singled to start the inning and were moved up on a sacrifice by Jose Taitague. After a walk to Cody McAllister, Mitch Davis plated Haskins with a sacrifice fly to centerfield. That would be all they would get, however, as they left two more on base.
“We’ve got to drive people in when we get a chance,” said Busby, who went 2 for 3. “You can’t win if you can’t score.”
The Red Devils stranded three runners in the first three innings as well. In the fourth, they broke through on a leadoff double by Norman, who came around to tie the score on a wild pitch and sacrifice fly.
Cole Mattison (2-0) picked up the win for the Red Devils, going five innings and allowing four hits.
The game didn’t count in the region standings, but that was of little comfort.
“All of the games are important leading to the state playoffs,” Busby said. “It’s probably a real big eye-opener for us.”