Colquitt County baseball coach Tony Kirkland is obviously pleased with where his team is after Tuesday’s 14-0, five-inning victory over Lowndes at Ike Aultman Field raised the Packers’ Region 1-AAAAA record to 4-0.
But his pleasure is tempered.
“I’m proud of them,” he said of his team, which has a two-game lead in the region standings. “But it’s still early in the season.
“It’s just the first turn. The next round is the big round.”
Each region team plays the other four teams three times and the Packers have gone through their first four region games unscathed.
None of the other three was as quick or decisive as the win over the Vikings.
After a scoreless first inning, the Packers scored two in the second, 10 in the third, two more in the fourth and did not have to bat in fifth because of the run rule.
The victory was the third in a row for the Packers, who have now won six of their last seven after their 2-4 start.
They will try to go 5-0 in the region when they travel to Valdosta for a 7 p.m. game on Friday.
The Packers beat the Wildcats 7-6 on March 8 to start their region run.
Cole Pitts and threw five shutout innings to raise his record to 3-1 and lower an earned run average that was 2.33 going into the game.
The Vikings had just three hits against the Georgia Tech signee, who struck out four and walked two.
But the right-hander did not need to be perfect with the Packers pounding out 12 hits and playing flawless defense behind him. Kirkland was especially pleased with the effort in field.
“I like the way we are playing defense,” he said. “That’s the third game in a row with a goose egg in that column.”
And the 12 hits?
“I’ll take that many hits against somebody throwing underhanded,” he said.
An error on Lowndes shortstop Avery Smith on a ground ball by Zac Godno to open the second inning started a two-run Colquitt County rally against Lowndes starter Dylan Roberts.
Austin Dykes followed with a double to right and Hayden Kudela’s sacrifice fly made it 1-0.
Payne Newsome’s double made it 2-0.
Colquitt chased Roberts in the second.
Cole Pitts opened the inning with a single and Vann Pitts reached on another infield error.
After Goodno singled in a run, Roberts was lifted in favor of Mason Brooks, who got Dykes to ground out on his first pitch.
But Kudela walked and Newsome lined a single off Brooks’ glove to score Vann Pitts.
Blake Stamps then singled in Blake Bennett, who was running for Goodno, and Kudela.
Ryan Davis walked to load the bases and Lowndes coach Danny Redshaw sent Logan Hutchinson to the mound.
Matt Creech the unloaded the bases with a triple to left to make it 9-0.
Cole Pitts singled in Creech and after Vann Pitts walked, Goodno ripped a double to center to drive in the final two runs of the inning, giving the Packer a 12-0 lead.
In the fourth, Kudela reached on an error and Newsome followed with his second double.
Stamps got an infield single to to score Kudela and Ryan Davis reached on a fielder’s choice to drive in the final run of the game.
Newsome led the Packers, now 8-5 overall, with three hits.
Creech, Cole Pitts, Good and Stamps each had two. Dykes had the other.
Kolby Register had two hits for Lowndes. Luke Miller had the other.
Lowndes is now 7-5 overall.
Also in Region 1-AAAAA on Tuesday, Tift County defeated Coffee 3-1.
Colquitt is the only unbeaten team is the region at 4-0. Lowndes and Tift County are 2-2. Valdosta, which was off on Tuesday, is 1-3.
In Friday’s other region game, Lowndes will go to Tift County.