It was a Senior Night to forget for the Salem Seminoles varsity baseball team, as Salem struggled to score runs against the visiting Loganville Red Devils a night after the Seminoles defeated Loganville on the road in region play.
The Seminoles strung together just three hits in five innings, succumbing to the Red Devils 13-2.
Salem honored seniors Tiwuan Head, Cole Gibson and Ryan Read before the start of the game, but the Seminoles’ veterans struggled, combining to go 0-for-5 at the plate with a walk while Read was saddled with the loss on the mound.
Loganville’s offense combined for seven runs over the opening two frames and every ball the Red Devils put into play seemed to find just the right crevice, sliding between infielders or tightly hugging the baselines.
“Having our last two games against Loganville was good for this team because they had the chance to see the level you have to play at to reach the playoffs,” Salem coach Chad Kitchens said. “Our win earlier this week against Loganville was the first time we’ve beaten them in a long time, but tonight we went up against a tougher pitcher and we didn’t hit the ball very well. It was much harder to score runs and Loganville hit the ball much better than they did Wednesday night.”
Loganville started the scoring early, touching up Read in the opening frame for four runs.
With one out, shortstop David Chabut reached base on the first of back-to-back walks and Chabut was joined by Chandler Downing and Royce Harrison, who was hit by a Read pitch, loading the bases for outfielder Brandon Moncrief.
Moncrief answered the bell, belting a single through the center of the Seminoles defense, plating Chabut and Downing. The base knock gave Loganville a 2-0 lead and a RBI-single from Brandon Williams on the Red Devils’ next at-bat extended Loganville’s lead after Harrison touched home.
Cody Tait ended the Red Devils’ scoring run following Williams’ single, this time scoring a run on a single to right field. With Tait safely on, Loganville held a 4-0 advantage before the Seminoles stepped to the plate.
Salem’s Jordan Scott was the only Seminole to reach base in the bottom of the first frame on a walk, but Salem left him stranded, allowing the Red Devils to add to their lead in the top of the second.
Loganville touched up Read for three more runs in the inning, scoring on a Downing sac-fly to left field and a Harrison 2-RBI double that raced down the third baseline into the corner of the stadium.
Akil Baddoo led off a Salem charge in the bottom of the third, leading off the inning after reaching on a Loganville fielding error. Baddoo was brought home three batters later on a Scott double to right, trimming Loganville’s lead to 7-1.
After a three-up, three-down inning in the fourth, Read was relieved by Head in the fifth, finishing his night allowing seven runs in four innings with five hits and four walks.
The pitching change didn’t do much to deter the Red Devils’ bats, as Loganville scoured five hits across the field, sealing the game with a six-run effort in the inning.
Loganville’s late surge began with a Moncrief bloop single to center. Williams followed with another single to right and a Tait squeeze bunt allowed Robbie Walden, who was in to pinch run for Moncrief, to score from third.
Drake Bryant roped a double down the right field line, allowing Williams and Tait to score, and a Cody Mixon single scored Bryant, pushing Loganville ahead 11-1.
Downing closed the Red Devils’ scoring with a single to right, knocking in his second and third RBIs. The base knock extended Loganville’s lead to 13-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth.
Baddoo scored the Seminoles’ lone run in their comeback attempt, reaching base on a double to right center before touching home on a Loganville fielding error on a Scott grounder to first base.
Head’s finished the contest giving up six runs in one inning on five hits and a walk.
Loganville’s Mitchell Miller grabbed the win, hurling four complete innings of one-run ball, while giving up just two hits. Miller also had three strikeouts in the win.
Jason Howell also had a hit for the Seminoles.
The loss wraps up a 10-16, 5-11 season for the Seminoles, but Kitchens said that the team could learn a lot from its experience this past season.
“Hopefully this season we’ve learned that we have a lot of talent and ability, but we have to get on the same page as one another and play as a group,” he said. “If that ever happens with this group, we’re going to have a really good team.”