Rabun splits with Social Circle, clears up playoff seeding (somewhat)
The Wildcats split a pair of games over region foes Social Circle Friday night to complete their 2018 region slate with an 8-4 mark. The split did little to break a three-way tie atop the standings as the opponents and Elbert County all entered Friday with a 7-3 region record.
Rabun County (9-13; 8-4 in 8-AA) took game one 3-2 over the Redskins (15-8; 8-4) behind a do-it-all effort by senior Chase Horton. The Augusta University signee hurled a dominant complete game, going seven strong while allowing just two earned runs on three hits, two walks and striking out nine.
It was also Horton who made the difference at the plate, notching the go-ahead two-run double in the first inning. The Cats left a pair of runners on base in the opening frame.
The lead held until the third, when Social Circle tied the game with a two-run triple. Horton worked out of the jam, stranding the would-be go-ahead run at third base.
In a rare event in the fourth frame, Rabun County had four hitters strike out, with one reaching on a wild pitch. It proved costly for Social Circle, as Grayson Lane knocked in what proved to be the game-winning run on a double.
The 3-2 lead held throughout, as Horton and Social Circle’s pitcher (who at one point retired 17 of 19 hitters) locked down the offense.
In game two, the Redskins drew first blood with a two-run first (one earned), and followed that up with another pair of runs in the second. The 4-0 lead was stretched to 5-0 on back-to-back doubles by the Redskins in the home half of the fourth.
The Cats had a great opportunity in their half of that inning, putting runners on second and third and just one out. Brady Wilson scorched one back to the pitcher on a rope, who made the catch and doubled off the runner at third to end the threat.
Gavyn Jones got the Cats on the board with an RBI groundout in the sixth, narrowing the deficit to 5-1. The Redskins immediately got the run back in the home half, but left the bases loaded. Social Circle took a 6-1 lead into the seventh.
A win in the second game would have locked up a home playoff game for Rabun County, but as it stands, it is tied with Social Circle at 8-4 in region, while Elbert secured the top seed with a 20-1 thumping of Putnam early Friday, followed by a likely win in their nightcap (were winning at time of the report).
So at 9-3 in the region, Elbert County is the 8-AA Champion and top seed, while Social Circle likely takes the second seed with the runs scored between it and Rabun giving it the edge (8-4). Therefore, the Cats will take the #3 seed, assuming runs scored is the tie-breaker after the head-to-head wins being even at 1-1.