-Lumpkin County baseball begins 2019 season 2-2
The LCHS varsity baseball team got the 2019 season off to a solid start by going 2-2 on the diamond last week.
After the Indians’ season opener versus Lakeview Academy was rained out and rescheduled for April, Lumpkin was finally able to get the 2019 season underway when they traveled to Dragon Field at Pickens County for a non-conference matchup on Thursday, Feb. 14.
The Dragons struck first in the ballgame in the bottom of the first inning when a Lumpkin error allowed the inning to continue. Pickens made the best of the opportunity and plated a run after the error to take a 1-0 lead.
The Dragons added another run in the bottom of the third when pitcher Caswell Smith rocketed a ball over the wall in right center for a home run. Smith’s solo shot upped Pickens’ advantage to 2-0.
The Indians got a run back in the top of the fourth.
Logan Choflet got the inning started when he was hit by a pitch. After a Matthew Grizzle strike out and a stolen base by Choflet, Nic Turner belted a single to left center field that gave the Indians runners on first and third. Dalton Caldwell followed with a RBI sacrifice fly to left that gave the Indians their first run of the ballgame, cutting Pickens’ lead to 2-1.
The score remained the same until the bottom of the fifth when another Lumpkin error allowed the Dragons to score, extending their lead to 3-1.
The unearned run ended LCHS starting pitcher Tucker Kirk’s night on the mound. Kirk, who had trouble with his command in the early innings, battled throughout his 4 1/3 innings on the mound for Lumpkin. The lefty finished the game allowing an earned run in 4 1/3 innings while striking out three.
Turner took over in relief and didn’t allow another run in his 2 2/3 innings of work.
A RBI single off the bat of Choflet in the top of the sixth cut the Dragons’ lead to 3-2, but the Indians were unable to string together any more hits in the inning.
The Indians struggled throughout the contest to get their bats going versus Pickens County’s Smith. Smith pitched a complete game versus Lumpkin, giving up two earned runs while striking out seven.
In the end, the Indians fell to the Dragons by a final score of 3-2.
“Mental and physical mistakes on defense was the difference in the game,” said LCHS head baseball coach Jonathan Gastley. “But, I really liked how our players continued to battle throughout the game. We started slow at the plate, but kept finding ways to stay in the game. You never want to lose, but I am proud of their fight. The best thing about baseball is that we can forget about this one and play again tomorrow.”
The Indians followed their loss to Pickens by hosting the White County Warriors on Friday, Feb. 15.
The Indians were able to withstand a late inning rally by the Warriors to earn a 3-1 victory in the game.
LCHS starting pitcher Dalton Stephens kept the White County lineup quiet for most of the contest and allowed just one run to the Warriors.
The 3-1 win improved the Indians’ record to 1-1 and marked the first win for Gastley in his first season as Lumpkin’s head coach.
The Indians concluded their busy opening week of baseball by taking part in the Pickens Diamond Days at Pickens High School on Saturday, Feb. 16.
Lumpkin took on Northgate and McIntosh during the day-long event.
Northgate’s lineup proved to be too powerful for the Indians to contain and Lumpkin fell to the Vikings by a final score of 14-3, dropping their overall record to 1-2 on the season.
However, the Indians bounced back from the loss to Northgate and thwarted a late inning comeback attempt by the McIntosh Chiefs to earn a 10-8 win over McIntosh in their second game of the day.
The Chiefs took an early 1-0 advantage in the top of the first, but the Indians answered back with two runs in the bottom of the second to go ahead 2-1.
Lumpkin added another run in the bottom of the third to extend its lead to 3-1, but the Chiefs cut into the lead with a run in the top of the fourth to make the score 3-2.
The Indians got the run back in the bottom of the fourth and held a 4-2 advantage headed into the fifth inning.
In the fifth, the Chiefs struck for five runs and retook the lead 8-4. However, the Indians held a slugfest of their own in the bottom half the frame to score four runs and even the score at 8-8.
Lumpkin came up with two big runs in the bottom of the seventh to seal the deal against the Chiefs, winning the game by a final score of 10-8.
The victory improved the Indians’ overall record to 2-2.
At press time, the LCHS varsity baseball team was set to travel to Chatsworth to square off with Murray County in a non-conference game on Monday, Feb. 18. No official results were available.
The Indians will take to the diamond again this Thursday, Feb. 21, when they host Pickens County at the LCHS baseball field. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.