A two-strike, two-run home run in the sixth inning propelled Tiftarea to a come-from-behind, 2-1 win over Brookwood on Thursday.
The Panthers had mustered just one hit all evening until the sixth, as Warriors pitcher Jordan Bradshaw continued his strong campaign from the mound. Tiftarea reached base with a two-strike single, then followed with the bomb over the right field wall to secure the victory.
Brookwood was on the heels of countering in the seventh, but couldn’t bring home the runner from second base.
“We had our chance with some opportunities late in the game,” Brookwood coach Ken Johnson said. “It was a great effort. The kids played hard and that’s all we can ask for.”
Brookwood took the initial lead when Chandler Stencel pelted an RBI double to the right field wall during the first inning that brought home Hampton Worthy.
Peyton Latmore and Bardley Clark each added doubles, but Brookwood was held scorless the rest of the way, and accounted for four hits total.
Bradshaw, the Warriors No. 1 ace, had allowed just one hit heading into the sixth, and tossed eight strikeouts throughout the game.
Johnson said despite the manner of the loss that Bradshaw handled it with class, and exemplified leadership.
“He’s fine. He understands that he pitched well,” Johnson said of his pitcher. “They took advantage of a few over the plate; probably the only two he left there the entire game.”
Brookwood (10-7, 0-3) remains winless in GISA 3-AAA after Thursday’s defeat, and has just three region games remaining.
Johnson, however, said anxiety hasn’t mounted in the Warriors dugout yet.
“Like I’ve said before, this is a pretty otugh region to begin with,” Johnson said. “[Tiftarea] is is undefeated in the region – they’re sort of the leaders right now – and we played them down to the wire.
“Tonight was just a good, hard-fought baseball game. When we play well and lose, I can handle that.”
NOTE: Thursday’s game was initially scheduled to be played at Brookwood, but Johnson opted to shift venues by breakfast due to soggy conditions left over from Wednesday’s downpour.