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LOA building momentum entering final month

April 02, 2021 - 00:00
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    Alex Perry stands in at the plate for the Titans during the second inning against Greene County. LANCE McCURLEY/Staff
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    Lake Oconee Academy freshman Ian Watson winds up for a pitch in the first inning of a 16-1 win over Greene County. LANCE McCURLEY/Staff

After starting the baseball season 1-6, Lake Oconee Academy has put together six straight wins to finish off March.

LOA now sits one game above .500 as the season enters its last month. The Titans have nine scheduled games left, which includes series against Washington-Wilkes, Towns County and Commerce.

The Titans will hope to rely on strong pitching and hitting down the stretch as the season winds down. This past week, LOA scored 61 combined runs in three games against crosstown rival Greene County. In the series sweep, The Titans only gave up one run in Wednesday’s 16-1 over the Tigers.

Lake Oconee Academy head coach Jeremy Donaldson knows how important it was to win the last six matchups as a tougher schedule looms.

“Against Lincoln and Greene, I am definitely proud of our guys for taking care of business,” he said. “We definitely needed to sweep those series to put ourselves in a position for a playoff spot in that top four.”

In the series against Greene County, Donaldson said it was a great opportunity to rest the upperclassmen while their younger teammates gained some confidence.

“Alex Moore and Noah Strausbaugh got to throw a little bit,” Donaldson said. “Freshman Ian Watson got to throw, so stuff like that gave everybody a little bit of confidence. We were able to score some runs and having batting averages go up helped everybody.”

As of March 27, LOA and Towns County sit battling for the No. 4 spot in the GHSA Region 8-A Public standings. The team that secures that fourth spot is guaranteed a trip to the state playoffs.

“With Commerce at the end, we definitely don’t want to put ourselves in a position to where we have to win those games,” Donaldson said. “...We definitely have to find a way to win a series against Washington-Wilkes or Towns County if we’re going to make the playoffs.”

With only a few games remaining, Donaldson added that everyone is available to play, especially those that will take the mound.

“I’m sure it’s going to be like that for Washington-Wilkes, Towns and Commerce,” he said. “If your stud guys or horses don’t have it that day, you’re going to have to pull them and save those guys like Owen (Etris) or Harrison (Tolleson) for later games. If that happens, someone else is going to have to step and throw strikes.”

The Titans return to action by playing a doubleheader against Washington-Wilkes on April 1 at LOA before visiting the Tigers on Friday. Towns County visits LOA on April 6 and then the Titans travel to Hiawassee to play a doubleheader on April 9.