By Staff Reports
A historic victory for Cross Keys highlighted the local baseball results from last week.
Coach Mark Adams and the Indians bounced back from a 22-0 loss in the first game of a doubleheader to Riverdale to outlast the visiting Raiders and pull out a 13-11 triumph in the nightcap. The victory ended a losing streak of 87 games.
The two teams battled in a see-saw affair and were tied 10-10 after six innings when the Indians struck for three runs in the top of the seventh to take a 13-10 lead.
Cross Keys benefitted from a couple of walks and errors with a key RBI hit by Alomgir Hussain to take the three-run lead into the bottom of the inning as Riverdale was awarded the advantage of being the home team for the second game at Cross Keys.
Cross Keys starting pitcher Jose Parra went six innings and had to exit the game due to the pitch count after battling the Raiders offense in a 10-10 tie.
Hussain inherited the three-run lead and after an inside-the-park home run by Riverdale to trim the lead to 13-11, the Raiders put runners on base with a walk and an error with still no outs in the inning. The runners moved up to second and third and Hussain stepped up with a pair of strikeouts to get the Indians within one out of securing that elusive baseball victory.
“Alomgir came up big with those strikeouts in a very tight spot,” said Head Coach Mark Adams, who goes out on a winning note as he retires at the end of the school year.
Riverdale’s best hitter came to the plate next after already hitting two balls over the Indian’s outfielders in left and right to score runs. He promptly hit a hard liner into center field where the Indians’ outfielder Issidor Santillano turned his back to the infield and sprinted towards the fence.
In a move that brought Willie Mays iconic over-the-shoulder-catch to the mind of his coach, Santillano reached up over his shoulder for the ball. Seconds later he raised his hands with the ball in his glove.
“We could not see whether he caught it or it was rolling to the fence since his body blocked our view,” Adams said. “Then he raised his hands with the ball in his glove and the kids erupted to celebrate something that had not happened in over 4 years.”
Cross Keys last prevailed March 10, 2015 in a 12-5 decision over Atlanta Jewish Academy. The Indians closed out the 2019 season with a final record of 1-12.
“So many times they have been beaten hard or just could not hold on in the last inning,” said Adams. “But to see these kids play so well in a pinch in such a pressure cooker for them and come out on top was a joy.”
Eight DeKalb County squads posted perfect records during Week 9 action as teams jockeyed for playoff seeding.
Coach Lavato Byrd’s Cedar Grove Saints swept a pair from Stone Mountain by the scores of 14-4 April 8 and 18-8 April 10 in a 2-0 week that pushed their overall record to 8-12.
Junior D’Corrie Kimble (2-3; 3 RS; 2 RBI; 1 2B) led the way offensively for Cedar Grove in an 18-8 triumph over Stone Mountain April 10. Freshmen Patrick Singleton (2-4; 2 RS; 2 RBI; 2 SB) and Quinton Hall (2-4; 4 RBI; 2 RS; 1 2B; 5 SB came up big at the plate for the Saints in a 14-4 decision over Stone Mountain April 11. Junior Koby Taylor earned the pitching victory in that contest, striking out five and allowing only three hits and one run over four innings.
Southwest DeKalb closed in on the regular season Region 5-AAAAA crown with a 3-0 showing. Coach Tyrus Taylor’s Panthers knocked off Lithonia (11-1) April 8, Lithonia (15-3) April 10 and Arabia Mountain (9-4) April 12 to move to 14-3 overall and 9-0 in the league.
Chamblee held tight in second place in 5-AAAAA, as coach Brian Ely’s Bulldogs bested Arabia Mountain (9-1) April 8 and Arabia Mountain again (14-3) April 10 while also defeating Flowery Branch (11-8) April 12 to move to 15-12 overall and 8-2 in the league.
Coach Greg Barnett’s Columbia Eagles also soared to a 3-0 showing, edging Clarkston (7-5) April 10, Clarkston (8-6) April 11 and Miller Grove (15-5) April 13 to improve to 5-13 overall and 3-6 in Region 5-AAAAA.
Druid Hills also likely punched a state playoff berth from Region 4-AAAA with a 3-0 week. Coach Pete Bartlewski’s Red Devils took care of Salem (13-3) April 8, Henry County (15-7) April 10 and Luella (4-2) April 12 to move to 12-9 overall and 7-4 in the league.
Coach Greg Boatwright’s Martin Luther King Lions put together a strong 3-0 week, besting Forest Park (12-10) April 8, Forest Park (13-2) April 10 and Morrow (17-10) April 12 to move to 11-3-1 overall and 7-2-1 in the region.
Coach Marcus Salter and the McNair Mustangs inched closer to a region crown in 6-AA, defeating Best Academy (5-2) April 11 in league action and also blanking Cross Keys (17-0) April 8 in going 2-0 and improving to 10-9 overall and 7-3 in the league.
Coach Timothy Jones and the Stephenson Jaguars scored a key 4-3 victory over Tucker April 12 in going 1-0 on the week and moving to 13-5 overall and 8-2 in Region 4-AAAAAA. Senior Raymond Henderson (2-2; 2 RBI) led Stephenson’s 4-1 decision over Tucker April 12.
Tucker received multiple hits from freshmen Michael Robinson (2-4; 1 RS; 1 RBI) and Noah Grayson (2-4; 1 RS) and seniors Jordan West (2-2; 1 RS; 1 2B; 1 SB) and Keino Robinson (2-3; 1 RS; 1 RBI; 1 2B) in a 6-1 triumph over Mundy’s Mill April 10. Grayson also secured the pitching decision, striking out four and allowing two hits over five scoreless innings.
Senior Nate Yeager tossed a no-hitter for Lakeside in a 15-0 pounding of Meadowcreek April 11, striking out five over four innings.