MOULTRIE -- Colquitt County High baseball coach Jerry Croft suspects that the Lincoln High team out of Tallahassee that the Packers will face at 4:30 p.m. today at Valdosta High as part of the Wildcat Invitational will offer his 3-2 team another early-season challenge.

But he said Tuesday that he can't imagine Lincoln being any better than the Madison County (Fla.) team that mercy-ruled his Packers 16-0 in four innings on Monday.

"That's one of the best teams that I can remember us playing," said Croft, now in his 28th year as the Packers head coach. "They had some great athletes

"I don't think we'll play any team this year that's better than Madison. Top to bottom, they were impressive."

Colquitt managed just one infield hit by Sherard Reynolds against Cowboys starter Jeremy Haynes, who has signed with Florida State.

But Madison just added to some early-season Colquitt County woes.

After winning its first two games, the Packers have won just one of the last three, beating Berrien 9-6 in Monday's first game.

"We haven't played well the last three games," Croft said. "We figured it up and we've made 16 errors in the last three games.

"We were fortunate to beat Berrien. We had five or six errors in that game."

Against Madison County, starter Will Southwell took the loss, but all six of the runs he gave up were unearned.

"They were good enough without the extra outs," Packers hitting coach Marlon Daniels said of the Cowboys.

Croft said the team has been getting some punch from the top of the batting order, but little else in the last three games, which also includes a 9-6 loss to Cook High last Friday in a game the Packers led 6-2 after five innings.

"The last three games have not been good, especially defensively and mentally," Croft said. "But we are going to get that corrected.

"We've got some tough games ahead of us. We've got to see if our guys will respond and get us on a roll."

Thomas Tripp will get his second start of the season today against Lincoln.

The senior right-hander is 1-0 after getting the win in the 5-4 victory over Fitzgerald last Wednesday. He gave up three earned runs and four hits in four innings against the Hurricanes.

The Packers, whose staff ERA is 5.03, could use a strong outing.

Reynolds has been the most consistent pitcher so far, with a 2.00 ERA and two saves in seven innings over three games.

The Packers did get an encouraging inning of relief work from Johnathan Walker against Madison.

The senior right-hander worked an inning and gave up a hit, but struck out three.

"We're still searching for guys who can step in and be effective on the mound for us," Croft said.

Offensively, the Packers are hitting .317, with Reynolds, Tripp, Southwell and Turpen leading the way.

Reynolds is hitting .600 and has a hit in each of the five games.

Tripp is hitting .538 and is tied for the team lead in runs batted in with Brandon Smith with seven.

Southwell is batting .500 and Turpen is hitting .400. Surprisingly, the team has five triples already.

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