Flowery Branch came up a bit short against Madison County at home Monday night, failing to convert on a number of offensive opportunities and falling 5-3 to the visiting Red Raiders in the first game of the Region 8-4A series.
“We did not catch the baseball very well tonight,” Falcons coach Joey Ray said after the game. “We didn’t throw the baseball very well. And we definitely didn’t have very good at-bats. We just didn’t compete very well.”
Madison County (10-15, 8-5 Region 8-4A) did most of its damage in a 4-run fifth inning when the Red Raiders piled on the scoring with a pair of back-to-back doubles that put them on top 5-1. Flowery Branch (17-7, 8-5 Region 8-4A) got RBIs from Kade Smallwood, Connor Larson and Nick Linkowski, but could not overcome the late deficit.
The teams battled to a stalemate through four innings, with each putting up a single run in the second frame. Madison County’s big fifth inning broke the tie, and the Falcons never managed to recover.
Larson tripled to deep right field in the bottom of the fifth to put one more run on the scoreboard for Flowery Branch, and Linkowski doubled in the bottom of the seventh to cut the deficit to just 2 runs, but it wasn’t enough to ever get the Falcons back into the lead.
Despite the loss, Flowery Branch still has a shot in the region series, with Game 2 against the Red Raiders coming up on Wednesday in Danielsville at 5:55 p.m. and Game 3 back in Flowery Branch on Friday at 5:55 p.m.
With two more matchups against Madison County on the docket for later in the week, Ray said the Falcons simply need to buckle down and compete harder to turn the series around and win the final two games.
“Realistically, one loss isn’t that big of a deal,” he said. “Whether it comes Monday, Wednesday or Friday, what matters is we win series, and that’s still in our control. But we have to do a better job.”