The Madison County offense has found its own stimulus package.
The Raider baseball team (9-2, 5-0) has assailed its opponents with 57 runs in the last four games as the Raiders remained tied for first in 8-AAAA with Winder-Barrow.
Raider coach Charlie Griffeth is taking the offensive explosion with guarded enthusiasm.
“You take ‘em when you can … You don’t want to get too comfortable,” he said.
The hit parade started with a 12-2 rout of defending state champion Loganville March 17.
Madison County then blasted seven homeruns in a 17-1 romp over Monroe Area March 18, followed by a 15-5 shelling of Franklin County Friday.
The carnage continued Monday as the Raiders routed Habersham Central 13-0, extending their winning streak to seven games.
“A lot of it has to do with the mental aspect,” Griffeth said. “If you get a few guys hitting, you know, guys think I can hit this guy, too … It’s contagious.”
But the coach wants to guard against complacency.
Griffeth remembers one year in particular when his Raiders run-ruled every opponent during the second half of the region schedule.
But the easy wins didn’t help Madison County in the postseason.
“Then we got to the playoffs and we lose two in a row because we didn’t know how to play a tight game,” Griffeth said.
So Madison County continues to simulate close games in practice, even if they’re not happening that way on the field.
“We had a good practice Sunday, trying to put some pressure in situations, so that you stay sharp so you are ready,” Griffeth said. “Because there’s going to be a game soon that we’re going to have to fight and claw and win 3-2.”
Madison County’s Monday victory over Habersham Central appeared to be heading in that direction.
The Raiders led only 2-0 heading into the fifth inning before unloading 11 runs to end the game early.
A succession of Habersham Central errors opened up the floodgates for Madison County.
“It should have been 2-0 game after that inning,” Griffeth noted.
Seth Fleming, went 1-for-2, hitting a grand slam in the fifth inning. Matt Kennison went 2-for-3, and Bo Dalton and Ian Drake each drove home two runs in Madison County’s fifth region win.
Winning pitcher Jack May threw four and two-thirds innings, allowing just one hit, hitting one batter and striking out three. Matthew Robinson threw one-third of an inning, striking out one.
Madison County steamrolled Franklin County 15-5 three days earlier.
The Raiders pushed six runs across the board in the first inning — all with two outs — and six more in the second en route to another run-rule shortened victory this year.
Dalton drove home five runs to lead the Raiders offensively. Bracken Turner and Ethan Seagraves collected two RBIs each.
Ben Morris started, working three shutout innings for the victory.
Dustin Roberts pitched a perfect fourth inning, but the Lion bats broke the shutout against Matt Kennison in the fifth inning.
“It was good to get those guys work,” Griffeth said of his pitching staff.
Prior to that win, Madison County enjoyed an afternoon of homerun derby in its 17-1 plastering of Monroe Area March 18.
Roberts went 3-for-4 and homered twice while Robison, Drake, Fleming, Dean, Seagraves all went deep as well.
Griffeth was hard-pressed to recall that many round-trippers in a single game by one of his teams.
“I don’t know. It would have to be ’92 or ’93 if we ever did at all,” Griffeth said.
Up 2-0, Madison county scored four times in the third inning and seven in the fourth to turn the game into a rout.
Seagraves started and worked four shutout innings for the win, surrendering one hit and striking out five. Robinson pitched the fifth inning, allowing a hit, a walk and an unearned run.