MOULTRIE -- Aaron Eubanks made sure Colquitt County clinched a state playoff berth on Tuesday against Tift County.

With a little help from Isaac Jackson, that is.

Eubanks pitched a no-hitter, allowing just one batter to reach base, as the Packers beat the Blue Devils 5-0 at Ike Aultman Field to assure them of a spot in the playoffs, which start May 16.

The victory also puts the Packers just one win away from clinching no worse than second place in the region, which would enable them to host a first-round playoff series.

Lowndes helped the Packers, now 6-3 in the region, with a 6-4 victory over Coffee in Douglas on Tuesday. Coffee is now 5-4.

Lee County maintained its hold on first place by defeating Valdosta 5-2 to raise its region record to 7-2.

It was Lee County's seventh region victory in a row after losing their first two.

While Coffee was stumbling at home, Eubanks was mowing down the Blue Devils, who had won three of their four previous region games.

The senior left-hander struck out 12 and faced just one batter over the limit.

The only Tift County base runner was Matt Shurley, Eubanks' pitching opponent, who worked a one-out walk in the fifth.

Eubanks proceeded to fan five of the next eight batters and raise his season strikeout total to 80 in 48 2/3 innings.

And when the Blue Devils were able to put their bats on the ball, the Colquitt defense was flawless.

Lee Henry helped keep the no-hitter intact when he chased down a fly by Allen Manning in deep right center to end the second inning.

Then Jackson took over.

The senior third baseman robbed Luke Gordon of a double and threw the Tift County catcher out to end the fourth inning.

Then it was Matt Davis who tried to get a hard-hit grounder past third with two out in the sixth, but Jackson gloved it and threw him out.

But Jackson saved his best for seventh inning when he dived to his right to get at a one-out smash off the bat of Gordon.

The ball appeared to come up on Jackson as he dived, but he adjusted, came up with it, got to his feet and gunned a throw to Cody Green to beat Gordon by a step, robbing him of a hit for a second time.

"If that had been in the major leagues, with a no-hitter riding on it, it would have made SportsCenter," Packers coach Jerry Croft said. "Aaron had some great plays behind him."

Eubanks then got Justin DeBerry to ground out to shortstop Will Southwell to complete the first Packers no-hitter since Hayden Gliemmo baffled South Effingham in the 1997 state playoffs.

"I owe Isaac a steak," said Eubanks, who left quickly after the game to participate in concert. "It's the best feeling in my life. It's my first one ever."

Croft call Eubanks' performance "masterful," and it was all of that.

Eubanks went to a three-ball count on just three batters and started 15 Tift County hitters with strikes.

Eubanks said he kept himself from dwelling on the no-hitter by knocking on the bench every time he thought of it.

"That ranks up there with the best games we've ever had here," Croft said.

Tift County coach Rusty Smith didn't disagree.

"They just rammed it down our throats," Smith said. "Eubanks had us baffled."

The Packers got the only runs they needed in the first inning when Cody Turpen drew a walk to start the game and moved to third on the first of Will Southwell's three hits.

Eubanks forced Southwell at second, with Turpen moving to third.

Max DeMott doubled in Turpen with the first run and Mike Mobley, running for Eubanks, scored the second on an error by Tift County shortstop Blake Wright.

Eubanks figured in the Packers third run when he doubled to left to open the third inning and was replaced again by Mobley.

Two outs later, Cody Green singled Mobley home.

The final two runs came in the bottom of the sixth when Lee Henry singled and Johnathan Walker hit his second home run of the season.

Before the game, the Packers eight seniors -- Eubanks, Jackson, DeMott, Green, Henry, Brandon Connell, Brian Gay and Keon Caldwell -- were honored.

React to this story:


Recommended for you