When a baseball team reviews its season, a handful of games stand out one way or the other. For the LaFayette Ramblers, Wednesday's come-from-behind 13-6 win at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe will be one of those games.
LaFayette (12-4, 4-2) rallied from a 5-0 deficit to win its third consecutive Region 6-AAA game, and in doing so leap-frogged the Warriors (13-5, 3-4) in the tight standings. It was a game in which all of coach Mike Dunfee's preachings came to fruition.
"I thought we came out flat a little bit," Dunfee said. "We let our at-bats transfer to defense the first few innings. We can't do that. No matter what happens we have to get over it and keep fighting hard. Then, all of a sudden, something clicked. We started being disciplined at the plate and started squaring things up."
The rally actually began with the Ramblers in the field. Already up five runs, the Warriors had runners on second and third with no one out in the third inning and the dangerous top of the order coming up. LaFayette starter Tripp White, who gave up six hits and four walks in the first three innings, struck out Matt Holden on a 3-2 fastball. After catching a break when Justin Walker's line drive was caught and Gabe Herman was walked intentionally to load the bases, White wiggled out by getting cleanup hitter Cody Commons to fly out.
"Tripp did a great job of getting out of that inning," Dunfee said. "He was struggling. His off-speed stuff wasn't close to the plate. To get out of that inning without any runs is a credit to him. Little things in the game like that are the things that can turn a game around. It's not always the home run. Making a play in the field might get you a little excited."
That it did. The Ramblers began to chip away in the fourth on senior Logan Elliott's two-run homer. The rally continued in the fifth when, after two quick outs, Josh Morgan hit a solo homer to center, Sid Southern walked and Brett Butler singled to end LFO starter Holden's day on the mound.
Jesse Rape walked and Elliott tied the game on a two-run single to left. After LFO took a 6-5 lead in the bottom half, the Ramblers sent 12 batters to the plate, scoring six runs on four hits, three walks and one error. Morgan tied the game with an RBI single, then Brett Butler worked an RBI walk before Rape and Elliott followed with two-run doubles.
"The comeback today was pretty big," said Elliott, who had three hits and six RBIs. "We need these games so we can get in the playoffs. We started out really flat. After a couple of his inspirational speeches, we decided it was time to hit the ball. I just feel blessed. God gave me a great day. I've played with these guys my whole life, so I want to go out big."
Dunfee also had high praise for sophomore reliever John Stansell, who came on for White in the fifth and worked out of a bases-loaded jam before allowing only one base runner in the final two innings.
Rape had three hits, including his first varsity homer, and four RBIs, while Morgan, Butler and Bowe Coffman had two hits each. Herman had two hits and three RBIs for the Warriors.