Raiders take rubber match from Lanier, sets up dramatic finale of winner-take-all
Habersham Central needed a win Friday night in a big way and got it with a 10-7 win over Lanier, taking the three-game series after winning the first game and losing the second.
Lanier jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first, but the Raiders, playing at home, responded with a run to cut the deficit in half. Habersham (12-11; 4-8 in Region 8-AAAAAA) unloaded with an 8-run third frame to go up 9-2.
The Longhorns chipped away at the lead with a pair of runs in the fourth and fifth, and a single run in the sixth, to bridge the gap to 9-7. The Raiders finally responded with a run of their own in the home half of the sixth before closing out the seventh.
Habersham had six hits and six walks in the contest, led by Hunter Ingle and Colby Jones, who each had two hits and a stolen base. Jarred Jones and Payton Irvin both recorded one hit. Colby Jones and Irvin drove in two runs apiece.
Jarred Jones, Ryte Woodruff, Dalton Munroe and Christian King also tallied an RBI each. Munroe and Ingle both had two runs scored, while Jarred Jones and Irvin had the only two extra base hits, both doubles.
Habersham constantly put the pressure on Lanier, tallying 17 baserunners, including two hit by pitch and three reaching on errors. Jarred Jones picked up the win on the hill, going four innings, allowing four runs (one earned) on six hits and two walks, striking out three. Irvin earned the save with a perfect seventh inning, striking out one hitter.
Habersham now sits tied for fourth in the region standings with Dacula, who lost to Gainesville 17-11 Friday. Both teams are 4-8 in region play and are squaring off next week in a winner-take-all series. The Raiders and Dacula will play Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with the opener and closer at Dacula. Whichever team wins the series (winning two games) earns the final playoff spot open in Region 8-AAAAAA.