MOULTRIE -- This was the game the Colquitt County Packers had been waiting for.

Thomas Tripp threw a four-hitter and struck out 12 as the Packers defeated Walker Valley (Tenn.) High 3-1 on Thursday at Ike Aultman Field.

The victory ended the Packers four-game losing streak and was easily Tripp's most impressive outing of the season.

The senior right-hander was one out away from a shutout, but gave up a bloop single Joe Kugler in the top of the seventh to drive in the Mustangs only run.

Tripp then struck out Dustin Fromm on three pitches to end the game and put a halt to the Mustangs' 15-game winning streak to open their 2004 season.

Tripp faced runners in every inning, but shortstop Will Southwell started a pair of double plays and catcher Chad Smith threw out another runner to end the fifth inning.

The Packers made just one error, a poor throw by third baseman Mike Mobley with one out in the third inning.

Tripp promptly fanned the next two batters to end the innings.

Walker Valley, from Cleveland, Tenn., made the trip down I-75 for several games in south Georgia carrying a 15-0 record.

But the Mustangs never managed to get a runner to third base until the top of the seventh.

By then the Mustangs trailed 3-0 on some clutch hitting by Southwell, Smith, Cody Turpen and Sam Heath, who combined for all eight of the Packers hits off Walker Valley starter Paul Sorah.

Colquitt got some expected hits from Turpen and Southwell.

But the first two doubles of the season by Smith and a pair of key singles by Heath, the sophomore right fielder, were just as big.

The Packers scored in the bottom of the first when Turpen singled and Southwell tripled to the base of the fence in center field.

Southwell drove in his team-leading 11th run of the season in the third when Heath pulled an outside pitch into left for a single and was sacrificed to second by Sherard Reynolds. One out later, Southwell ripped a double to left to make it 2-0.

Colquitt got an insurance run in the sixth when Smith got his second double of the game, a liner that kicked up chalk down the right field line.

Heath drove in Tim Green, Smith's courtesy runner, with a two-out single to right.

That gave Tripp a 3-0 lead, but Walker Valley's Taylor Stafford opened the top of the seventh with an infield single.

Pinch-hitter Ben Bennett walked to put runners on first and second, but Tripp then fanned Pat Dye for the third time.

Tripp hit Craig Powell to load the bases, but got Matt Douglas to pop up.

Kugler than spoiled the shut out with a single to center.

But Tripp wasted no time sitting down Fromm to give the Packers a win that raised their record to 5-7.

Tripp had absorbed a well-pitched 2-0 loss to Daphne, Ala., last Friday to drop to 1-3 on the season.

But his 12 strikeouts now give him 33 on the season in just 28.2 innings. He also lowered his earned run average to 2.69.

Southwell raised his team-leading batting average to .444 with his two hits. He leads the team with six extra-base hits, including three doubles, two triples and a home run.

The Packers will be back at Ike Aultman Field at 11 a.m. Saturday when they meet Region 8-AAAAA's Shiloh High of Snellville.

Following that game, Shiloh will meet 4-AAAAA's McIntosh. Colquitt and McIntosh will meet at 5 p.m. for the first time since the Packers eliminated the Chiefs in the state playoffs last year.

The Packers will open the Region 1-AAAAA part of their schedule on Tuesday at Coffee.

In Thursday's first game, the Colquitt County junior varsity baseball team scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to defeat its Walker Valley counterparts 12-11.

Chance Pitts pitched the first three innings for the junior varsity Packers. Tim Gray pitched the final three innings and got the victory.

Scotty DeMott led the Packers with two hits.

Gray, Marshall Faircloth, Shaun Shiver and Austin Odum each had one hit.

The victory raised the junior varsity team's record to 3-4-3.

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