GRAY -- Somewhere between Warner Robins and Jones County, Northside lost its defense Friday night, and the Greyhounds took advantage for a 6-2 victory in the GHSA Region 2-AAAAA game.
The Greyhounds (11-2, 3-1) combined six Northside errors with some timely hitting and spotless defense to make a winner of Chandler Ramage, who pitched a complete game to up his record to 3-0.
The Eagles’ errors put starter and loser Jake Adams in a bind in all but one of his four innings before giving way to reliever Kolby Kinsler. None of the three runs the right-hander allowed in the first two innings to get the Greyhounds started toward the victory were earned.
“I thought we got very productive pitching,” Northside head coach Mark Estes said. “They pounded the zone, but in order for us to win, we have to play solid defense. You talk about the three facets of the game in pitching, defense and hitting. On days one of those aspects lets you down, it’s hard to overcome against a good team like Jones County.”
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Teldrick Ross had two hits including a solo home run to lead Jones County’s offense. Six players collected a hit for the Greyhounds with Walker Juhan, Jacob Walden and Brooks Veal joining Ross with run-producing hits.
Ramage gave up seven hits but walked only two and struck out eight. The junior had half of his strikeouts with runners in scoring position in the first, sixth and seventh to halt Northside threats.
“We did the little things like bunting and getting timely hits,” Jones County head coach Jason Page said. “And we got a great performance on the mound from Chandler.
“Northside battled through their mistakes, and (Ramage) got some big outs when we needed them.”
Tyler Flood had a double and a solo home run to top Northside’s hitting. Tanner Smith knocked in the Eagles’ other run with a ground out.
Jones County scored all the runs it needed in the first two innings with only two hits. Juhan had the first with two outs to make it 1-0 after the frame started with an error.
Ross had the lone hit in the second, leading with a bad-hop single past third baseman Mark Walker. Two errors followed, the first on a sacrifice bunt by Keever Walker.
Ross scored on the second miscue with Keever moving to third, which allowed him to score on a wild pitch.
“We’ve been playing solid defense,” Estes said. “But we let our pitching down (Friday), and that’s a heartbreaker.”
The Greyhounds broke the game open with two runs in the fourth on four hits, one caused by a wind that switched from swirling to blowing out to dead center field. Walden brought home the first on a triple when Flood just missed making a diving catcher in right-center. Veal followed with a double off the wall in left.
Northside finally broke through against Ramage in the fifth when Walker led off with a double, move to third on a sacrifice and came home on Smith’s grounder to second. Ross, however, negated that run with a wind-blown solo homer in the bottom of the inning before Flood was the beneficiary of the same wind in the same place in the top of the sixth.
“We started breaking through there to give ourselves a chance to come back and that’s a good sign,” Estes said. “But we have to clean up the errors.”