Flowery Branch baseball coach Jimmy Lawler didn’t try to make any excuses for his team’s performance after getting ousted from the playoffs with a 16-0 loss in three innings to Stephens County on Friday night at the Hog Mountain Sports Complex.
The loss ended the season for the Region 7-AAA champion Falcons (27-5) as a result of the Indians winning 2-of-3 games in the Class AAA second-round playoff series.
The Falcons coach didn’t try to attribute the loss to the fact that the series was stretched to three days after Thursday’s originally scheduled Game 3 was postponed due to rain. He also didn’t question the fact that Flowery Branch had to play the role of visitor twice in the series, even with home field advantage.
Lawler just matter-of-factly said that Stephens County played better in the make-or-break rubber match.
"If you don’t show up and play your best game when you get to the state tournament, you’re going to get beat," Lawler said. "I thought Stephens County hit the ball very hard (Friday) and got a lot of runners on base."
Flowery Branch’s loss ends the high school careers of nine seniors that finished with two region titles in their time playing for the Falcons. This season also marked the first time that Flowery Branch advanced past the first round of the state playoffs in school history.
"We would’ve loved to have been able to play another round in the playoffs," Lawler said.
"But I’m very proud of our nine seniors who are all friends and just all stuck together this season."
The Indians took control of Game 3 with four runs in the first inning and plated another five runs in the second.
Stephens County sent seven batters to the plate in the first inning and winning pitcher Cody Martin hit a two-run home run to score Ethan Martin.
In the second, the Indians (27-4) sent 10 batters to the plate with a double by Matt Hill and an RBI single from Dalton Loudermilk. Stephens County’s Blake Pruitt and Cody Martin were hit by pitches and two more hitters reached base on walks.
Chan Cash’s three-run home run for the Indians in the third along with Bryan Whitfield’s two-run home run brought the end to the game in the top of the third.
Greg Palmer and Travis Coxworth had the only two hits for the Falcons.
Stephens County plays host to Troup County in the state quarterfinals next week in Toccoa.