Colquitt Co. defeats Alpharetta to advance

Despite his lackluster performance as a starting pitcher, Colquitt County junior Austin Dykes had plenty to smile about Wednesday. Dykes slapped a double down the right-field line in the sixth inning to drive in the winning run and lead the Packers to a 9-6 win over Alpharetta in the deciding game of the Class AAAAA quarterfinals.

Dykes pitched three innings and allowed five runs, although four of them were unearned. But he had two hits and drove in two runs, each time when slugging first baseman Cole Pitts was walked in front of him.

“It feels good to help the team win,” Dykes said. “They walked Pitts four times ahead of me, and I tried to make them pay.”

Colquitt County will host Parkview in the best-of-three semifinals series that begins Monday in Moultrie.

Colquitt County, playing as the home team at Alpharetta by virtue of winning a coin flip, appeared ready to put the game away when they scored six times in the second inning to take a 6-1 lead. A two-run double by Matt Creech sparked the rally.

Alpharetta made it a game in the third, staying alive when Dimitri Kourtis hit an opposite-field homer to right for a grand slam. The Raiders seemed to have stolen the momentum back in the bottom of the inning when shortstop Harrison Hunter leaped high to grab a line drive, then threw to first for a double play and erasing a bases-loaded threat.

Alpharetta tied the game at 6-6 in the fifth inning on a sharp single up the middle by Derek Long that scored a sliding Kourtis, who Colquitt County coaches argued never touched home.

It didn’t matter. Colquitt County got on the board against Tyler Agard, who had pitched effectively in relief since the second inning. Creech singled and stole second, and Pitts was intentionally walked, leaving Dykes to produce the game-winner. The Packers added another run on a double by Hayden Kudela and a wild throw by first baseman Eric Nyquist that skipped past third base and scored Dykes.

Zach Goodno got his second win of the series, pitching the final two innings and striking out two. Agard was the losing pitcher.

“This was a very emotional game,” Colquitt County coach Tony Kirkland said. “Most Game 3’s are emotional, and a lot of times it comes down to the last inning.”

It was the second consecutive series that Colquitt County has won after losing the first game. They dropped the first game 6-4 on Tuesday, but battled back to win the second game of the doubleheader 8-3.