It all comes down to Friday night for the Habersham Central Raiders, who won 8-6 on Wednesday at home over Dacula to even the series and force a winner-take-all for the final playoff spot out of Region 8-AAAAAA.
It was a wild roller-coaster game, as the Raiders surrendered four runs in the top of the first. What could have crippled the boys instead gave them more motivation. Habersham (13-12; 5-9) responded immediately with four of its own in the bottom half.
Both the visiting Falcons and the Raiders again exchanged blows in the second frame, both scoring one run. Habersham’s came off senior Jarred Jones’ fifth homerun of the season, a moonshot over the right center wall.
The 5-5 tie held until the bottom of the fourth, when the Raiders brought a couple home on another Jones homerun (number six), this time a two-run shot that displayed his power even more, as he went opposite field over the left field wall.
Jones, a left-handed hitter, hit both homers off left-handed pitching, which makes his multi-homer game more impressive in the sense that typically a lefty-lefty matchup favors the pitcher.
Jones’ second round-tripper was the eventual game-winner, as the Raiders held on for the 8-6 win. They scored once more in the fifth before Dacula responded with its last run in the sixth.
Jones finished 3-for-3 with the two homers, three RBI and three runs scored, adding a double and walk. Hunter Ingle was 2-for-4. Four other Raiders tallied one hit each, while Colby Jones recorded a double, three RBI, one run scored and two stolen bases.
Dalton Munroe earned the win in relief, going five strong innings while allowing one run on four hits and three walks.
Friday’s game at the Falcons’ home field will prove to be the end of the road for one team and the official propeller into the postseason for the other.