Originally created 05/17/98

Lions fall short of championship

Try as he might, Augusta Christian baseball coach Pete Meadows just couldn't solve the problem.

Meadows' dilemma was his pitching staff's ineffectiveness Saturday against Deerfield-Windsor in Game 2 of the Georgia Independent Schools Association championship series.

Five pitchers saw time on the mound for the Lions but none was able to slow down the speeding Knights offense as Deerfield-Windsor won 9-2 to complete the sweep of Augusta Christian and retain their GISA Class AAA title.

Although playing at Lions field, Augusta Christian was the visiting team. The Lions pushed across a run in the top of the first inning but that would be their lone highlight. Deerfield-Windsor starting pitcher Chris Fordham produced all the offense he would need when he crushed Buster Germany's 1-2 offering in the bottom of the first inning.

The ball cleared the center field fence and landed on the roof of the building adjacent to the diamond, some 400 feet away. Fordham's 12th homer of the season plated Braxton Fields and Josh Cleveland.

The Knights (18-6) added another run in the first giving Fordham renewed confidence when he went back on the mound.

"It (home run) boosted my confidence a thousand percent," Fordham said. "I calmed down. It settled me down a lot."

While the Lions (23-7) were searching for anyone who could consistently retire Deerfield-Windsor's batters, Fordham dominated. The 6-foot-5 junior recorded seven of his nine strikeouts in the last five innings and allowed only two runners to advance to third during that period.

Meanwhile, Meadows visited the mound more often than Kramer plunders Seinfeld's refrigerator. In the second inning, Chris Dodgen, Brett Newton and BJ Hawes all put work in. The Knights only added one run to their lead but in the fourth they put the game out of reach by capitalizing on two walks and two doubles to increase their lead to 9-2.

"I was hoping somebody could take hold of the reigns," Meadows said. "It just snowballed. We don't have arms like they have. If they get pitching like that they can compete with anyone."

Stuart Price relieved Hawes in the fourth inning. He limited the Knights to one hit over the last two innings but the damage had already been done. Fordham said the Knights didn't want the Lions to force a game three so they came out aggressive.

"They're a real good hitting team," Fordham said. "We just knocked their confidence out early."

Hawes said the Lions never surrendered but they just couldn't figure out Fordham. Ultimately, it was the four runs scored on baserunners who reached base via walk and the one that reached on an error that brought Augusta Christians' hopes for another state championship down.

"Their pitching wasn't that different from what we've seen before, we just didn't execute," Hawes said.

"Our defense let us down early," Meadows said. "We had people that didn't make the plays we needed. That just added fuel to the fire."

Augusta Christian -- 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 -- 2 8 1

Deerfield-Windsor -- 4 1 0 4 0 0 x -- 9 9 1

Buster Germany (LP, 8-3), Chris Dodgen (2), Brett Newton (2), BJ Hawes (2), Stuart Price and Sean Tiernan. Chris Fordham (WP, 6-1) and Jamie Cline.


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