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PREP BASEBALL: Alcovy falls to revenge-minded Baldwin in late-start, early-finish non-region game
Ryan Spikes
Alcovy got a solid performance on the mound from sophomore Ryan Spikes, despite losing its fifth straight game at Baldwin Thursday night. -photo by Ben Ennis

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — Alcovy wanted desperately to halt a four game losing skid and close out the non-region portion of its schedule with a win, especially after coming out flat in a non-region loss to Stockbridge Monday. 

And the Tigers almost got it, but a walk-off score in the bottom of the fifth inning — yes, the game only lasted five innings —  that came when Alcovy pitcher Ryan Spikes induced Baldwin’s Keishawn Smith to hit into a fielder’s choice which plated Baldwin’s fifth run was the difference in a 5-4 loss Thursday night on the road. 

Things weren’t ideal for Alcovy (8-17, 1-11 in Region 3-AAAAAA) from the get-go. The game, originally slated for a 5:30 first pitch, didn’t begin until 6:15 p.m. because of late-arriving umpires. And because the umpires reportedly had to leave at 8 p.m., the contest was shortened from the normal seven innings to five. 

Alcovy coach Jimmy Hughes acknowledged the frustration of such an occurrence, but stopped short of using it as justification for the loss. 

“Our guys were thrown for a loop with the delay, but by no means can we use that as an excuse,” Hughes said. “But it wasn’t an ideal night. A few of our guys took advantage of the down time and went to the cages.” 

That, perhaps, showed a bit as Alcovy actually out-hit Baldwin 6-2. Spikes picked up the loss despite lasting four-and-a-third innings, and giving up just two hits with the five runs. He also fanned eight Baldwin batters and walked one. 

It was a pitching performance Hughes said was good enough to give Alcovy a victory. 

“Spikes pitched his tail off and gave us a shot,” Hughes said. “He had to fight off a lot of stuff that was out of his control.” 

Baldwin jumped out of the gates fast with four runs in the first frame before Alcovy stormed back to tie things up. Lamar Williams plated the first Alcovy run on a ground-out RBI, followed by a RBI double by Chris Burney, both in the second inning, to cut Baldwin’s lead in half. 

The Tigers scored on an error in the fifth inning and received a sac-fly RBI by Trace Payne in the top of the fifth to tie things up before the Braves’ late-game heroics handed Alcovy its fifth straight loss. 

Hughes said he could sense a little revenge factor at work on Baldwin’s behalf, as Alcovy spanked the Braves 17-7 during the second game of the season. 

“Baldwin came out wanting blood after we beat them up pretty good the first time,” Hughes said. “By the time we responded it was too late.” 

Six total errors in the game — including three in the first inning that aided Baldwin’s scoring efforts — certainly didn’t help Alcovy’s cause. The Tigers will try to end the season on a high note when they start a three-game Region 3-AAAAAA finale with No. 4 Heritage in Conyers Friday night at 5:30 p.m.

Game two of the series will take place at Alcovy on Tuesday April 16 and the final game, next Friday at Heritage with all games set for a 5:30 p.n. first pitch.