A tough first inning was too much to overcome for the Salem baseball team Friday in Winder. The host Bulldoggs used three walks and a hit batsmen to score all four of their runs in the opening inning in a 4-2 victory in Region 8-AAAA play.
With the loss, Salem fell to 3-5 in league play, while Winder won its 12th consecutive game and stayed unbeaten at 10-0 in the region.
“We had all week off so we had a real good week of practice, then had a good game tonight,” Salem coach Chad Kitchens said afterwards. “We played pretty well (and) we held them down pretty well after that first inning, they didn’t get anything."
After starter Garrett Needham struggled in the first, he added a scoreless second inning, then the Seminoles bullpen-Adam Hood, Ryan Read and Eric Bechet-shut down the hosts with four scoreless innings.
Salem got a run in the first on an RBI-single by Jake Rich and cut the deficit to 4-2 when Chase Duncan scored on a passed ball in the fifth. With the tying run at the plate in the seventh, Josh Webster was robbed of a hit to end the game.
Despite the Friday loss, Salem still has hopes for a state playoff spot. The Seminoles will travel to county rival Rockdale Monday, then host the Bulldogs Wednesday.
“(The playoffs are) what we’ve worked for all season, we worked really hard in the off-season, we have the opportunity,” Kitchens said. “Rockdale probably feels just as confident as we do. We have to go out there and earn it.”
Heritage snapped a three-game losing streak with an 8-1 win over Madison County. Ryan Gasque was dominant, tossing three-hit ball and striking out 10 in six innings for the Patriots (10-7, 5-3 Region 8-AAAA), who were coming off consecutive losses to defending league champion, Loganville in which they allowed 24 runs.
“Any time that we can bounce back after a three game skid, on the road, with a win…you got to respond, and we did,” said Heritage coach Jason Borcherding. “(Gasque) just did a great job, pounded the zone. He’s been reliable for us, hope it continues.”
The Patriots, who were held to just seven runs during the losing skid, got a three-run home run from catcher Matt Reeves and three hits from Ryan Sutton.