The Madison County High School baseball team (11-11 overall) is still mathematically alive for the postseason, but it’s not like they’re crunching those numbers.
Basically, for any playoff hopes to materialize, the Red Raiders, at 8-8 in the region as of press time, need to win out and get a lot of help along the way.
That makes Madison County’s objective rather simple actually.
“We’re just playing to get better,” Griffeth said. “The first thing we’ve got to do is win out, so there’s no need in looking at anything else.”
The Red Raiders played Apalachee Wednesday but results weren’t available. The team closes out the regular season with games against Clarke Central (Friday), Cedar Shoals (Monday) and Winder-Barrow (Wednesday).
Madison County survived an 11-inning marathon game Monday, beating Rockdale County 5-4, to remain in sixth place in Region 8-AAAA.
The Red Raiders are trying to leap-frog fifth-place Heritage (10-7) and fourth-place Clarke Central (10-6).
Should Madison County finish the season tied for the fourth and final spot out of Region 8-AAAA for the state playoffs, the first tie-breaker is head-to-head competition, then a team’s record against teams ahead of them in the standings.
Madison County pulled a game closer to both those teams Monday as Heritage and Clarke Central both lost and the Red Raiders won their extra-inning affair.
Madison County pulled ahead in the top of the 11th when Daniel Brooks singled to left field in his first varsity at-bat to score Jarrett Seawright.
Matthew “Raybo” Robinson then held the lead in the bottom of the 11th to give the Red Raiders their third victory in a row.
Robinson delivered a huge relief performance, working six and one-third innings for his second victory, surrendering one hit and no runs while striking out 12.
“A lot of it had to do with Robinson’s pitching,” Griffeth said of the victory.
The senior, who mostly plays shortstop, has proved to be quite an effective reliever this year with his submarine delivery, which can be tough for a batter to adjust to.
“He’s just so much better this year,” Griffeth said. “He’s got a better breaking ball and more run on his fastball.”
The Red Raiders grabbed an early 2-0 lead, but Rockdale County tied the game at two in the bottom of the fourth and went ahead 4-2 in the fifth.
Madison County rallied with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, starting with a pinch hit from Zach Escoe, a Seawright walk and a two-run double from Kyle Dean – who battled through 10 pitches -- to right center field to tie the game at four.
Madison County finished with eight hits, led by Haden Martin, who doubled twice.
Daniel Townsend and Bracken Turner had RBI singles. Robinson had a triple.
Defensively, Madison County turned three double plays and committed just one error in the 11 innings.
More importantly, the Red Raiders played like a lot was on the line, Griffeth said, even though they’re currently in the middle of the Region 8-AAAA pack.
“Last night (Monday), you wouldn’t have known in that game that we weren’t playing for a first or second place spot in the region,” Griffeth said. “That’s what it’s all about — trying to play your heart out.”
•MCHS 10, Habersham Central 4 (April 16): Madison County avenged a 13-0 loss to Habersham Central earlier this year with a 10-4 victory Friday behind four quality innings of relief from Matt Savage and 12 hits from the Red Raider lineup.
Bracken Turner had three hits, including a double and a two-run homer, to lead Madison County. J. Ben Hardman enjoyed a three-hit game as well, driving home one run. Also joining the hit parade were Eddie Gilbert (double, two RBIs), Jarrett Seawright (two hits, RBI), Haden Martin (hit, RBI) and Zach Escoe (RBI).
The victory marked a 19-run swing from the first meeting with Habersham Central.
Madison County trailed 2-1 heading into the third inning but scored five runs in the third and three in the fourth to take control of the game.
Savage entered in the third inning and allowed just two hits and one earned run before giving way to Robinson in the seventh inning. Savage had six strikeouts and only one walk.