Moultrie Observer

Local Sports

April 6, 2012

Packers shut out Lowndes 4-0

MOULTRIE —  After getting hammered 15-0 by Milton High the night before, the Colquitt County High baseball team returned to Ike Aultman Field on Friday and won the game that counted.

Aubrey McCarty and Zach Saunders combined on an eight-hit shutout as the Packers defeated Lowndes 4-0 to pull to within a half-game of first place in Region 1-AAAAA.

The loss drops the Vikings to to 6-2 in the region. The Packers go to 5-2.

Colquitt can tie for the region lead with a victory over Valdosta, which will visit Packer Park on Tuesday to make up a game rained out on March 23.

McCarty went the first 5 2/3 innings and gave up seven hits. Saunders came on with the bases loaded in the sixth and got Nick Higgenbotham to line out to center fielder Blake Bennett to end that threat.

Saunders then hit an improbable home run on the first pitch he saw from Lowndes starter Dylan Roberts to lead off the bottom of the sixth.

And in the seventh, Saunders gave up a two-out single to Mason Brooks, but got Ty Harwell to hit a bouncer back to the mound and with an easy toss to first baseman Corey Moore, the Packers had avenged one of their two region losses.

The Packers, now 10-6 overall, had only six hits off Roberts, but one of those was a two-run single by Colin Kirkland in the fourth that extended the Packers lead to 3-0.

Roberts retired the first six Packers in a row, but Vann Pitts led off the bottom of the third with a single to center.

Daren Kent followed with a base hit to right, but Roberts appeared poised to pitch out of trouble when he struck out Jared May and Matt Creech.

Mack Hatchcock followed with a dribbler in front of the plate that Lowndes catcher Tyler Rehberg picked up and promptly threw past Brooks, the Vikings first baseman, and into right field.

Pitts scored to put the Packers up 1-0, but Kent was thrown out at the plate trying to score another run.

The Packers added to the lead in the fourth.

McCarty opened the inning by whistling a single to center. Austin Dykes then punched a single to left and Bennett walked to load the bases.

Kirkland’s single to right scored Andy Bush, who was running for McCarty, and Dykes.

The Packers were unable to score any more in the inning, but two key defensive plays and clutch pitching by McCarty and Saunders guarded the lead.

McCarty had base runners in each inning, but was able to pitch out of trouble.

 The Vikings got a single from Higgenbotham and a double by Seth Evans in the first inning, but McCarty got Luke Miller and Brooks to ground out to end the inning.

Lowndes got a two-out double by Parker Armstrong in the second to no avail and a two-out single by Evans in the third was wasted.

The Vikings had a golden opportunity in the fourth when Brooks opened with a double and Rehberg drew a one-out walk.

Armstrong then hit a ground ball that was headed to right field when it hit Garrett Fuller, who was running for Rehberg. Fuller was called out and Brooks was forced to stay at second.

The inning ended when Dykes made a sliding catch of Avery Smith’s fly ball in foul ground in right.

Lowndes had two on and two out in the fifth, when Creech made a nifty catch of Brooks’ bouncer and his throw on the run retired the side.

McCarty got the win to raise his 5-1 and lower an ERA that was 3.19 headed into the game.

Saunders has yet to give up an earned run this season.

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