SGSC Hawks Take Second Place At GCAA Region Tournament
By: Amy Hancock
External Affairs Coordinator
The South Georgia State College Hawks baseball team finished regular season play on a strong note with three wins and one loss against ABAC, which positioned the team to enter postseason play ranked second in Region 17. Heading into the tournament at Darton State College in Albany May 12, the Hawks faced the East Georgia Bobcats and outlasted them in a high-scoring affair by a final score of 10-9. The two teams combined for 19 runs off of 24 hits, including five extra base hits. The teams traded runs for most of the contest, leading to seven lead changes in the game.
Jacob Schmidt racked up six RBIs on two hits by getting a double in the sixth and a homer in the seventh inning. Chase Hinson led with six hits in the game, while Cameron Coffey and Landon Boyette trailed close behind with three hits each. Jared Crews got the win for the Hawks after 1 1/3 innings of shutout ball. He struck out none, walked none, and surrendered no hits. Cayden Hatcher, Shawn Blue, and Luke Sims all took their turn on the mound to secure the win.
On day two of the tournament, SGSC fell to the Darton Cavaliers after a hard fought battle by a score of 11-8. The Hawks went on to beat East Georgia 5-2, eliminating the Bobcats from tournament play.
In the Darton game, the Cavaliers took an early lead in the second inning, but the Hawks answered back with a run in the fourth. Darton had a total of six runs in the next two times at bat, but SGSC responded by scoring seven runs over the next three innings. The Cavaliers added one to tie up the game in the top of the ninth and then added three in the top of the tenth. The Hawks failed to tack on any more runs as the game came to a close.
SGSC landed seven hits in the game with a big offensive play in the sixth on a three-run homer by Zack Rafuse. Stephan Cruver had two RBIs, and Rafuse’s home run added to his five RBI total. Mikal Flores led the team with two hits. Will Lane, Caleb Hill and Rafuse all threw pitches during the game with Troy Hollinger ending the game on the mound.
An impressive two-way performance from Rafuse led the Hawks to a 5-2 win over East Georgia in game two. Rafuse came up huge at the plate and on the mound. He did his best to jumpstart the SGSC offense by reaching base two times. He scored one run and had one RBI and doubled in the third inning. Rafuse picked up the win by pitching nine innings and allowing only two earned runs, three hits and three walks while striking out three. In addition, one hit apiece was credited to Coffey, Flores, Boyette, Crews, Hinson and Schmidt. The win against East Georgia helped the Hawks earn a place in the championship game, and they also clinched a berth in the East Central District Tournament.
The May 14 championship game saw a matchup of the number one ranked Cavaliers and the number two ranked Hawks. After a strong start by the Cavaliers, the Hawks failed to score a run until the eighth inning on a sacrifice fly by Jalen Jackson. With 18 runs already on the board by Darton, it was too little too late. Cruver led the offense with three hits, followed by Chandler Rogers, Flores, and Schmidt all adding two each. Hinson got one hit.
SGSC will play in the NJCAA DI Baseball East Central District Tournament, which will be hosted by Darton in Albany. The Hawks will play on Wed., May 18th at 3:30 p.m. against Dyersburg State Community College.
Congratulations to the following SGSC Hawks on their 2016 postseason selections – first team All-GCAA: Coffey (Williston, Fla.) and Hatcher (Ponte Vedra, Fla.); second team All-GCAA: Flores (Baker Co., Fla.); All-Tournament Team: Hinson (Jesup, Ga.), Rafuse (Baker Co., Fla.), and Schmidt (Jacksonville, Fla.); Gold Glove Team: Hinson.