Diamond Knights suffer first loss of the season

By Wes McCard

March 6, 2014

The Upson-Lee Knights took to Historic Silvertown Ballpark with a 4-0 record on Thursday, takin on Jones County in a non-region game. Luckily for the Knights, the game meant nothing in the Region 4 standings as far as the Knights’ run at a playoff appearance goes, because after allowing 13 runs on 12 hits, and committing four errors, Upson-Lee lost their first game of the season to the Hounds by a 13-3 score.

The Greyhounds struck for three runs in the first inning off of Upson-Lee’s Kyle Kelly. Jones County ended the inning with three runs on four hits, while earning a walk and stealing a base. However, the Knights answered with a few runs of their own in the bottom of the inning.

Kalen Puckett and Kyle Kelly each earned walks to start off the Knights’ bottom of the first inning. Puckett advanced to third base and Kelly to second base after a wild pitch. The Knights then looked as if they may leave both runners stranded after two quick outs, but Upson-Lee senior Matt Crews drew a walk to load the bases. Hot hitting Ben Spillers followed Crews, and continued his hot streak from the plate with a line drive single to right field, scoring both Puckett and Kelly and cutting the Jones County lead to 3-2 after one inning of play.

Unfortunately for the Knights, Jones County continued to blister the baseball in the second inning, adding three more runs and taking a 6-2 lead. Again, Upson-Lee answered back with a run of their own an inning later, but missed on an opportunity to cut the lead even further.

Trailing 6-2 in the bottom of the third inning, Chris Duncan reached base on an error, followed by a single from Matt Crews. After two outs Kaleb Allen was hit by a pitch which loaded the bases. Up next to the plate was freshman Zack Gooden, who had a nice at bat, fouling off a few full count pitches and eventually earning a walk and a RBI, cutting Jones County’s lead to 6-3. Kalen Puckett followed with a screaming ground ball which looked to be headed toward left field, but the Hounds shortstop made a great sliding play on the ball and recorded the force out at second base to end the Knights’ comeback threat.

From that point on, it seemed as if the Knights’ wind had been taken out of their sail, as Jones County continued to pound out hits and score runs. The Hounds scored seven runs in the top of the fourth and fifth innings combined to earn a 13-3 victory.

Ben Spillers led the Knights with a hit and 2 RBI, while Matt Crews, Kaleb Allen, and Dalton Strom also chipped in with hits in the game. Kalen Puckett, Chris Duncan, and Kyle Kelly each scored runs in the game, and Zack Gooden drove in a run with a bases loaded walk.

The Knights have three Region 4 games this week. They were scheduled to host Eagles Landing on Monday, travel to North Clayton on Wednesday, and host Stockbridge on Friday.

Wes McCard can be reached at 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @WesMc21.