The Briarwood Academy Diamond Buccaneers dropped to third place in the GISA Region 1AA race after a heartbreaking one-run loss to Brentwood School on Friday and a 9-1 loss to Piedmont Academy on Saturday.
The Bucs got back on track Monday with a 7-3 win over Augusta Prep at Briarwood.
The losses dropped the Bucs to 4-2 overall. Brentwood and Piedmont, the only undefeated teams in the region, have yet to play to determine the first and second place standings in the region.
"Friday (against Brentwood), we played so well, so hard," said Coach Kenny Haney. "It was a real disappointment for us play so poorly on Saturday. We just had a let down from Friday, totally went all to pieces.
"We didn't even show up. We didn't play hard; we didn't play well. We made mistakes that we hadn't made all year. The only bright spot in the game was that no one got hurt, and (freshman) Cane Gilmer pitched four strong innings."
Senior Dustin Pilgrim "pitched as well as anyone has pitched all year" in the Bucs 6-5 loss to Brentwood on Friday. Pilgrim collected 10 strikeouts, while pitching for the entire seven innings.
Brentwood scored two runs in the top of the first to take an early lead.
Leadoff batter Seth Williford doubled, and then moved to third on Ethan DeMore's single. Joseph Batrous singled in Williford. Jacob Gay walked to load the bases with Buc runners. DeMore scored on a bad throw by the pitcher trying to pick him off third base. Batrous stole third and scored moments later on a missed ball by the catcher, giving the Bucs a 3-2 lead.
Brentwood tied the game at 3-3 in the top of third, only to have the Bucs go up again by one, 4-3, in the bottom of the third. Batrous walked, stole second, and then scored on another bad throw by Brentwood.
The Bucs held Brentwood in the top of the fourth, and then it appeared they were going to put the game away. Catcher John Spivey walked and then advanced to second base on a bunt single by left fielder Chris Gerlach. Williford sliced a hard hit down the right field base line, which landed with a burst of chalk. Spivey and Gerlach scored while Williford was approaching second before the plate umpire ruled the ball foul. Upon an immediate request from the coach, plate umpire refused to consult the field umpire for a second opinion.
Rather than going up 7-3 with one out, the Bucs found themselves up by only one, 4-3, with runners on first and second and two outs. DeMore drove Spivey home to up the Bucs' lead by two, 5-3.
The call switched the momentum from the Bucs to Brentwood, and Brentwood took advantage. In the top of the fifth, two Eagle players reached base on errors and then scored on a Brentwood three-run homer on Pilgrim's only bad pitch of the game.
Neither team was able to score in the final two innings of the game, and Brentwood handed the Bucs their first region loss as well as their first regular season loss.
Junior Charlie Hall played an excellent defensive game, snagging four long, high flies in right field.
The Bucs' lack of momentum carried over to Saturday's important region game with undefeated Piedmont.
The Bucs gave up three runs in the first inning on two hits and a three-run homer. They gave up five runs in the second, and Piedmont went up 8-0. Both teams scored one run in the fifth for the final score of 9-1 Piedmont.
Monday, Augusta Prep jumped to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first, but that was the only time they would lead as the Bucs came back to score five runs in the bottom of the inning.
Leadoff Williford doubled on a long fly to center over the fielder's head. Up next, DeMore also doubled to score Williford. Pilgrim walked, and again Russell got a free trip to first after being hit by a pitch. Russell was thrown out at second on Gay's grounder, but DeMore scored. Gay stole second, leaving the Bucs with Pilgrim on third and Gay on second. Stitcher's bunt scored Pilgrim and moved Gay to third. Up next, Spivey walked, and then moved to third on passed balls while Gay scored the Bucs' fourth run. Spivey scored the Bucs' fifth and final run of the first inning on a wild pitch.
Up 5-1, the Bucs scored one run in the fifth. Pilgrim walked to first and then stole his way to third before scoring on a sacrifice by Russell.
The scoring ended in the sixth inning with each team scoring one run. An Augusta Prep player tripled and then scored on a groundout by a teammate to give Prep two runs. Hall accounted for the Bucs' final run in the sixth. He singled to first, stole second, moved to third on a passed ball, and scored on a single by Williford to end the scoring with the Bucs' up 7-3.
Gilmer, who pitched seven strong innings, was credited with his second win of the season.
The Bucs will begin the second half of the region calendar when they play host Gatewood at 4 p.m. on Thursday. They will travel to Forsyth on Monday, March 27, to face Monroe in yet another region game. The Bucs defeated Gatewood 10-6 in Eatonton and Monroe 6-5 at Briarwood in the teams' first meeting of the season.
They will have return matches with Brentwood on Monday, April 10, in Sandersville and with Piedmont on Monday, April 17, at Briarwood.