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Early pitching woes seals HoCo’s fate in loss to Lowndes

The HoCo Bears baseball team made the trip down to Valdosta to take on the Lowndes Vikings in their 2024 season opener in a battle between the defending AAAAAA and AAAAAAA state champions and the result was a 7-4 Lowndes victory.

The Vikings pounced on the Bears in the last of the first by plating four runs (all with two outs on the board) and the runs came in via a rbi double, a run scored on a wild pitch and a single that would turn into two more runs scored via a HoCo error. The host hit a two-run jack in the last of the second with two outs on the board to push the lead to 6-0 which would keep Lowndes out front the remainder of the contest.

HoCo got on the board in the top half of the third when Kai Decker hit an rbi single that ran in Vick Gann to cut the gap down to 6-1 Lowndes and the next two innings would go scoreless until the Vikings plated a run in the last of the fifth to extend the lead to 7-1.

The gap would stay that way until the first of the seventh and with two outs on the board, the visitors made things interesting when Eli Stephens hit a three rbi triple to cut the lead in half down to 7-4 but HoCo was unable to make any more headway as they would ultimately lose to the Vikings to start 0-1 for the first time since 2019.

The Bears were led in rbis by Eli Stephens with three followed by Kai Decker with one while the Vikings were led by Noah Thigpen and Jordan Hudson with two rbis each.

HoCo SP Carson Small surrendered six runs (five earned) on four hits, walking six, and striking out two in 3 2/3rds innings of work. Landon Tankersley and Will Allen relieved Small on the mound as Tankersley surrendered one run (earned) on two hits in two innings of work while Allen surrendered no runs in 1/3rd inning of work.

Lowndes SP Noah Thigpen surrendered one run (earned) on five hits, walking one, and striking out four in four innings of work while Matthew Kerrigan came in to relieve Thigpen for the remaining three innings and he surrendered three runs (all earned) on five hits, walking none, and striking out three.

The Vikings will host Jeff Davis tomorrow while the Bears will host Lowndes on Friday in their home opener. The Vikings open the season at 1-0 while HoCo is 0-1 to start 2024 and Lowndes committed no errors while the Bears committed one error and HoCo had 10 hits while the Vikings had six hits.

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