Barons get blowout win before getting eliminated in GACC tourney


The Brewton-Parker College baseball team followed a game Thursday, in which the Barons’ were three outs away from elimination from the Georgia-Alabama-Carolina Conference postseason tournament, with a 20-9 blowout victory Saturday over Emmanuel College.


The Barons, whose win against Emmanuel was postponed by Friday’s statewide series of rain showers and thunderstorms, then rallied in their next game Saturday night to force extra innings against the team that relegated Brewton-Parker to the elimination bracket with a first-round loss.


However, Auburn University-Montgomery (Ala.), a 10-0 victor over the sixth-seeded Barons in the first round, won Saturday’s game 4-3 on a 10th-inning sacrifice fly.


Thus, Brewton-Parker’s season ended with a 26-18 overall record after the Barons had gone 17-34-1 in 2002. Brewton-Parker went 2-2 in the GACC tournament, played at the Paul Eames Sports Complex in Albany, to finish in fourth place.


“I am extremely pleased with the season overall,” Brewton-Parker coach Chad Parker said Monday, a day on which fifth-seeded Shorter College finished its unexpected run to the championship with a second title-game victory over second-seeded Faulkner University (Ala.).


“We did some amazing things and look to build on it for next year,” Parker said of his sophomore-dominant roster. “We are losing only four guys, although they are four key guys we have to replace. We are extremely excited about the future with the majority of the players coming back. We think we have a chance to win the conference next year.”


After beating Southern Polytechnic State University 10-9 on a two-run rally in the ninth inning Thursday night, Brewton-Parker and the other five remaining teams waited through the rain Friday.


The Barons returned to action with a fury, scoring five runs in the bottom of the second and seven in the sixth inning to take a 14-1 lead on Emmanuel, which toppled the tournament bracket when the eighth-seeded Lions defeated top seed and regular-season champion North Georgia College and State University 14-10 in the first round.


Emmanuel posted a seven-run rally of its own in the seventh to pull within six at 14-8, but the Barons responded with four in the bottom of the inning and two more in the eighth to finish the 11-run victory with 21 base hits that included seven doubles.


Eight Barons had two or more hits, with sophomore Chris Brown going 4-for-4 with two doubles, two runs batted in and three runs scored. Freshman Madison Herrin was 3-for-3 with a double and senior Denson Gleaton was 3-for-6 with two runs scored.


Sophomore Johnny King went 2-for-4 with a two-run double, sophomore Jeremiah Barrow with 2-for-3 with a walk, three runs scored and two RBI, senior Ricky Nelson had two doubles with a run and one RBI in six at-bats, junior Jason Halstead was 2-for-6 with an RBI. Freshman Justin Dover had no hits but scored three runs after reaching base on two errors, a walk and a hit-by-pitch.


Sophomore right-hander Ashley Hooks (5-3) picked up his second win of the tournament after throwing the first six innings and allowing just one run on five hits with seven strikeouts and one walk.


In what proved to be the Barons’ final game, Brewton-Parker scored all three of its runs in the top of the sixth inning to erase Auburn-Montgomery’s 3-0 lead. King and Halstead reached on errors, Nelson singled home King, and Barrow doubled in Halstead and Nelson to tie the score at 3-all.


Sophomore right-hander Andrew Gernatt (6-4), the loser in the first meeting against AUM as a starter, pitched 4-2/3 innings of relief and had three strikeouts and one walk before allowing the game-winning sacrifice fly with two outs in the bottom of the 10th.


Dover was 2-for-4 and Halstead went 2-for-5 with one run scored.