Entering the Gulf South Conference baseball tournament as the seventh seed, few would have pegged West Georgia as a future semifinalist of the double-elimination tournament.
Then again, those same people might not have expected former Adairsville star Lane Griffith would have such a great tournament. The junior hit safely in all four of the Wolves' tourney games, including helping West Georgia upset two of the top three seeds in Mississippi College at Delta State in the first two rounds.
The Wolves wound up dropping their final two games to fall short of a spot in the GSC championship round. Griffith, though, did everything in his power to keep the run alive. His go-ahead hit in the eighth inning of Monday's game against Valdosta State made him 5-for-14 in the tournament, but West Georgia couldn't hold the advantage, leading to an extra-inning loss.
Elsewhere, former Cartersville High pitchers Sam Howard and Elliott Anderson continued to shine out of the bullpen for their respective teams; Hannah Knapp, another former Tiger, went 3-for-4 in her final softball game of 2019; and ex-Woodland athlete Trevor Knowles had three top-five finishes in his conference championship meet.
Sam Howard (Albuquerque Isotopes, Colorado Rockies organization; Cartersville) — Howard made appearances in a pair of ‘Topes wins last week. He entered in the fourth inning Wednesday and tossed 2 1/3 innings of relief in a home 6-5 win over Sacramento. Howard allowed an earned run on two hits and a walk while fanning five. He also entered in the sixth inning Saturday during a 7-1 win at Tacoma. He gave up one hit and two walks but fanned one in a scoreless outing, as he earned his second hold of the season. Howard has a 1-0 record with a 5.00 ERA in 11 appearances and 18 total innings. He has 22 strikeouts and 13 walks. Albuquerque (17-14) is in third place in the PCL Pacific Southern Division. The Isotopes are 4-1/2 games behind El Paso.
Connor Justus (Mobile BayBears, L.A. Angels organization; Cartersville) — Justus was 3-for-18 with three walks last week in six games. The BayBears finished a series with the Mississippi Braves and played five games at Montgomery. Justus has a .221 batting average through Mobile’s first 25 games with one home run and four RBIs. Mobile (12-17) is fourth in the Southern League’s South Division trailing first-place Pensacola by 7 1/2 games.
Elliott Anderson (Auburn Jr., Cartersville) — Anderson appeared in two wins over Alabama during the weekend. Thursday, he entered in the sixth inning with Auburn leading 4-1 and went three innings in a 5-1 victory. He did not allow a run on a walk and two hits with three strikeouts, facing 11 Crimson Tide batters. In Sunday’s 17-7 blowout win, Anderson closed out the final two frames allowing three earned runs on a walk and five hits. Auburn (29-18, 12-12) hosts UAB tonight and will entertain Georgia in a three-game SEC series Friday through Sunday.
Levi Ayers (Georgia Highlands Fr., Cartersville) — Ayers made a one-inning appearance last Tuesday in a 4-3 loss at South Georgia. Ayers pitched a scoreless ninth inning, facing the minimum. Georgia Highlands (29-23, 15-14 GCAA) plays East Georgia Wednesday in the opening round of the conference tournament at Albany State University-West Campus.
Lane Griffith (West Georgia Jr., Adairsville) — Griffith hit safely in each of the Wolves’ four Gulf South Conference Tournament games. Griffith was 1-for-4 in a 6-5 win over 2-seed Mississippi College, 1-for-3 with a sacrifice bunt in a 10-3 win over third-seeded Delta State, and was 2-for-4, including a double and one RBI in Sunday’s 11-8 loss to West Florida. The loss to the Argonauts dropped West Georgia to a Monday elimination game against Valdosta State in the double-elimination tournament. Griffith finished 1-for-3 with a walk in that contest. He hit a two-run single in the bottom of the eighth to give the Wolves a 7-6 lead, but the Blazers rallied for a 12-7 win in 11 innings to end West Georgia's season.
Hunter Hice (USC-Upstate Fr., Adairsville) — Huce made an unsuccessful pinch-hitting appearance Friday in a 9-2 win over Alabama State. The Spartans (22-22, 8-12) host nonconference Wofford Wednesday and travel to Charleston Southern for a Big South Conference series Friday through Sunday.
Harrison Osborn (Point So., Cartersville) — Osborn did not appear in the Skyhawks’ three conference tournament games. He finished the season with a 6-2 record in 15 appearances and 11 starts in 2019. He struck out 35 and had a 3.45 ERA. Point finished the year with a 30-23 record.
Mason Robinson (Louisiana Tech R-Sr., Woodland) — Robinson went 1-for-10 in three road games last week — a loss at Northwestern State and the split of a doubleheader at Old Dominion. Robinson’s batting average slipped to .296 with three home runs and 21 RBIs. The Bulldogs (29-19, 13-11 Conference USA) plays at LSU Tuesday night and hosts Western Kentucky Friday through Sunday.
Tyler Washington (Young Harris Sr., Adairsville) — In three starts at USC-Aiken last weekend, Washington was 2-for-10 and had a stolen base. He has a .308 batting average as an everyday starting outfielder for the Mountain Lions. YHC (32-18, 16-12) enters the Peach Belt Conference Tournament Friday through Sunday as the No. 4 seed and is in the same four-team pool with top-seed North Georgia, Georgia College and Georgia Southwestern. The PBC tournament is hosted by Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida. The two pool winners in the eight-team tournament square off for the conference’s NCAA automatic bid this Sunday.
Cauy Williams (Wallace State-Dothan Fr., Adairsville) — Williams made a sixth-inning appearance last Thursday in the Governors’ 8-4 win at Enterprise State CC. Williams allowed one earned run on two hits and a walk. He struck out one of five batters faced. Wallace State-Dothan (42-8, 27-5 Alabama Community College Conference) begins the double-elimination conference tournament Friday in Ozark, Alabama, against the Marion Military/LB Wallace winner.
Hannah Knapp (Talladega Jr., Adairsville) — Knapp was 3-for-4 at the plate with one run scored and one RBI in the Tornadoes’ final game of the year — an 8-7 loss to Crowley’s Ridge College (Arkansas) — in the double-elimination Association of Independent Institutions Conference Tournament in Lawrenceville. She was also 0-for-2 in an 11-0 loss to host and eventual tournament champ Georgia Gwinnett College in the first round. Talladega College finished the season with a 4-28 record.
Paris Poston (Columbus State Fr., Cartersville) — Poston was 0-for-3 in the Cougars' 7-4 loss to Georgia Southwestern in the opening round of the single-elimination Peach Belt Conference Tournament played in Dahlonega. Columbus State finished the season 35-16 and did not receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Southeast Regional. CSU was ranked eighth in the final regional rankings from the NCAA prior to conference tournaments. Poston concluded her freshman season with a .241 batting average in 141 at-bats across 47 starts. She had a pair of home runs, a triple, 11 doubles and 22 runs batted in, along with three sacrifice flies and three stolen bases.
Annalyn Yantis (Samford Sr., Cartersville) — Yantis was tagged with the pitching loss in a four-inning start last Tuesday against UAB. The Bulldogs fell 6-2 with Yantis allowing three earned runs (four total) on six hits and two walks. She also appeared for one out in the sixth inning of a 4-3 win at Chattanooga Saturday. She faced two batters. One reached on an error and the other grounded out. Samford (22-29, 11-6) begins play in the Southern Conference Championship Tournament Wednesday in Chattanooga.
TRACK AND FIELD
Trevor Knowles (Albion So., Woodland) — Knowles racked up a trio of top-five finishes, as Albion placed fourth on the men's side in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association championships last Thursday and Friday in Holland, Michigan. The former Wildcat leapt to a runner-up spot in the long jump with a distance of 6.94 meters. He also wound up fifth in both the triple jump (13.58m) and the high jump (1.90m).
— Charles Wilson of Bartow Sports Zone contributed to this report.