Madison County squanders big lead in first region loss
Madison County’s Monday night game had a familiar start, but an uncharacteristic end.
The Raiders watched a 7-1 lead evaporate — as well as their perfect region record — in an 11-7 loss to Heritage Monday in Conyers.
The defending region champions struck for 10 unanswered runs over the course of the fifth and sixth innings to snap the Raiders’ 12-game winning streak.
It was Madison County’s first loss since March 7 at Brookwood.
Raider coach Charlie Griffeth, whose team has won its share of lopsided games in region play this spring, said the loss is a reminder that “you’ve still got to get 21 outs.”
“I think we’ll be better off for it in the long run … I think they will respond and it will be a good lesson,” Griffeth said. “At the same time, you have to give Heritage credit. They did what they had to do, too.”
Still, not all was lost.
At 10-1 in region play, Madison County still held a one-game advantage over the
Patriots (9-2) in the 8-AAAA title race at press time Wednesday morning.
So, the Raiders are still in good position for the second half of the region schedule.
“If someone said you’d be 10-1 at this point six months ago, I would have probably told them they were crazy,” Griffeth said.
The Raiders appeared to be on their way to region win no. 11 Monday.
Madison County led 7-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth behind a three-run homer from Matt Dean and a solo shot from Matt Kennison. Bracken Turner also delivered a big bit by doubling off the top of the wall.
Ethan Seagraves started and worked four strong innings, but ran into trouble in the fifth. Reliever Dustin Roberts got Madison County out of that inning, but Heritage narrowed the Raider lead to 7-5.
The Patriots then overtook Madison County in the sixth with six more runs.
Though the loss was disappointing, Griffeth took his team’s first region setback in stride.
“We won some that we probably shouldn’t have this year,” Griffeth said. “It kind of evens out a little bit.”
Madison County entered the Heritage game with a 10-0 region record after an 11-1 rout of Cedar Shoals Saturday.