The Madison County baseball team starts its final six-game tilt Friday against Habersham Central, looking to salvage the remainder of an up-and-down season.
The Red Raiders (9-11, 6-8), who rallied to beat Monroe Area 11-8 Monday, are in sixth place in Region 8-AAAA, fighting to get back to the .500 mark and back to basics, as well.
“We talked last night (Monday night) a little about the little things that make the difference in three wins or losses … just the little things that make up the part of baseball that’s within the game itself,” said coach Charlie Griffeth, whose team was off Wednesday.
In danger of losing a third-straight game and falling further down the region standings, Madison County rallied from a 5-0 first inning deficit against Monroe Area to win its sixth region contest.
“Yeah, we go down 5-0 in the first … It’s good to see some heart and fight and come from behind,” Griffeth said. “Because Monroe can swing it this year.”
Madison County plated all 11 runs in a three-inning stretch to overtake the Purple Hurricanes, scoring four in the third, four in the fourth and three in the fifth.
Madison County had hit just four homers heading into the game, but Dustin Roberts and Bracken Turner both went deep — Turner hit a three-run blast — as Madison County rebounded and posted its highest run total in eight games.
Roberts finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs, including a double. Turner was 2-for-4 with four RBIs, which included a run-scoring double.
Matthew Robinson also had a big offensive night, going 3-for-4 with three hits and an RBI. Kyle Dean was 2-for-3.
Roberts pitched six innings of relief for the victory, allowing one earned run and eight hits, while striking out four. Robinson came on in the seventh and recorded the final three outs, allowing two hits, one earned run and striking out two.
At 9-11, Madison County hopes to avoid its first losing season since 1990 — when it went 9-13 — as the Red Raiders close the season.
Records, however, haven’t really been a topic of conversation, Griffeth said.
“No, not really,” Griffeth said of the win-loss mark. “If we play better, everything will take care of itself.”
Twenty games into the schedule, Griffeth said the old clinchés like, “we’re starting back at 0-0” have little effect, if any. The Red Raiders will find out how much they have left in the tank these last two weeks.
“It’s about what kind of fight and what kind of heart you have and how much you want to improve,” Griffeth said.
NOTE: Madison County’s April 28 game with Winder-Barrow has been moved to 6 p.m. to accommodate the senior night pre-game activities.
•Loganville 11, Madison Co. 1 (April 9): Red Raider pitching surrendered two big homeruns — including a grand slam — in an 11-1 loss to region-leading Loganville Friday.
Roberts brought home the Red Raiders’ lone run with an RBI double in the bottom of the fourth.
Madison County managed just five hits in its second loss this year to the Red Devils.
Loganville got started early, building a 4-0 lead after two innings. Then Heath Holder connected on a two-run dinger in the third inning to increase Loganville’s lead to 6-0.
Two innings later, the Red Devils loaded the bases for Jacob Johnson, who cleared them with a shot to left center field to put Loganville ahead by 10 runs.
•Salem 8, Madison Co. 5 (April 7): Turner went 2-for-3 with two RBIs in Madison County’s 8-5 loss to Salem in Conyers April 7.
J. Ben Hardman and Daniel Townsend also drove in runs for the Red Raiders in what was a seesaw affair against the state playoff contending Seminoles.
Madison County scored a run in the first, third and fifth innings to take a 3-2 lead, but Salem rallied for four runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth and never trailed again.
The Red Raiders attempted to rally in the seventh, scoring twice, but were unable to avoid the season sweep by the Seminoles.