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May 10, 2014

Tiftarea rolls to 2nd round over Cavs

CHULA —  Perhaps the most accurate summation of the series between the Tiftarea Academy Panthers and the Augusta Prep Cavaliers boils down to a single stat: Sam Varnadoe only came to the plate once, but scored two runs.

It was that type of evening Friday for Tiftarea, who ran their record to 18-10 and advanced to the second round of the state playoffs after shellacking their opponents 6-0 and 23-2.

Considering the outcome, it may be a bit surprising that the second game went the full seven innings; at 10-2, after six they were not up enough for the mercy rule to go into effect.

Joseph Shaver came in during the inning as the Cavs' fourth pitcher. He was also their starter in the game. He was summoned back to the hill after Noah McMinn and Pete Perrin reached on a walk and single. Both would not only come around to score, they came around to score twice that frame.

Ross Sutton was one of the few men who did not score. His single drove in McMinn and he was immediately lifted Varnadoe. The Panthers kept on getting hits, so Varnadoe himself had a chance to step into the box. He singled in a run with the bases loaded to make the score 18-2.

Drew Cook, who entered in the 6th, wound up at the plate three times. He scored three times.

Tiftarea started the game with a bang when leadoff hitter Rob Flick served the first pitch he saw from Shaver into left for a base hit. Cade Marlowe followed with another single and the bases filled up when Shaver had problems fielding a Devin Paulk bunt.

Spurlin singled in two, but wound up on second after the centerfielder had problems picking up the ball. He scored on a fielder’s choice by Greer Howard. Howard became the fifth run when he attempted a stolen base. The ball went into center, but an attempt to throw him out at third resulted in another overthrow and Howard crossing the plate.

One more run scored in the 3rd and two more in both the 4th and 6th.

Fifteen Panthers would have a chance to hit in the contest and five had a multi-hit game. Flick topped them with four. Marlowe, Paulk and Spurlin each knocked in three runs.

On the mound, Taylor Folsom went five innings, surrendering a single run and striking out six. Ethan Bryant worked the last two frames.

Compared to game two, the opener was a tightly played affair. The Panthers jumped out to a 2-0 lead after an inning, but could only scratch out an occasional run the rest of the way.

Tiftarea started their offensive work with a base on balls issued to Flick, but he was erased on a pickoff. New life began when Paulk was struck by a pitch by starter Miles Downing.  Spurlin singled him to third. He stole second and both would score on a single by McMinn.

In the third, Paulk walked, stole second and came in on Spurlin's single. They struck for two more in the 4th. Beier singled and Bryant walked. They would combine for three steals before Flick doubled both in. The final run was in the 6th, John Thomas Tanner scoring on a single by Marlowe.

Bo Vickers pitched a complete game shutout. Augusta Prep only had three hits against him.

They are set to play either Dominion Christian or Westfield at Chula in the quarterfinals next Friday. Athletic director Mike Patrick said Friday that their first round doubleheader was rained out and would be played Saturday.

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20140801 Tift volleyball.JPG

The 2014 Tift County Lady Devils volleyball team. Summer Bennett, Chat Butts, Carolina Carter, Kaleigh Hobby, Molly Jones, Savannah Kendrick, Mariena McCullough, Dail Adaway, Vanity Golson, Alex Miller, Taylor Nimmo, Amanda Riddle, Logan Seeman, Taylor Cross, Karina Delgado, Audrey McElhaney, Madison Spivey, Julianna Cross and Olivia Thomas Assistants are Dana Fletcher and Chance Benson. Head coach is Courtney Mitchell.

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