Not one, but two home run knocks by the Liberty County Bulldogs knocked the South Walton Seahawks out of the District 4 1A tournament Wednesday afternoon in Santa Rosa Beach.
"I thought Liberty was hitting the ball really well," said South Walton Coach Nick Borthwick.
Liberty connected for 15 hits in the 15-5 win over the Seahawks, including two home run shots that drove in five of the seven runs in the fourth inning.
"We made some base running mistakes early — kind of cost some momentum, but we fought back and got back in the game and even actually got the lead," Borthwick said.
In the first inning, South Walton got off to a good start on a single to left by Austin Garafalo. Two batters later, Zach Lance ripped a double to right put Garafalo in scoring position. Noah Neville hit into a fielder's choice and Garafalo got nailed at the plate for a no-score inning.
Liberty put a run on the board in the bottom half on two hits.
In the second, South Walton again got a man on third, but couldn't get them across the plate.
In the bottom half, the Seahawks shut the Bulldogs down. After Noah Davis ripped a double to right, Jack Flynn in right field caught the next pop fly for an out. Liberty's Brody Holland put down a bunt, and South Walton's pitcher Sage Roberts nailed Davis trying to take third. Flynn got another catch in right to end the inning.
In the top of their third, South Walton took its only lead of the game. Garafalo walked and stole second base. Tyler Slotter put down a sacrifice bunt to move Garafalo around to third. However, Liberty's pitcher Hunter Jacobs picked Garafalo off at third. With two outs, Lance was hit by a pitch and Neville belted a single to left. Roberts reached on an error and Lance scored. Drew Pfeiffer singled to left to drive in Neville for the go-ahead run. Seconds later, Pfeiffer was picked off at first.
Liberty came in and got the lead back with three runs on four hits, a balk and a walk. South Walton got out of the inning wiith a double play from Garafalo and Slotter in the middle.
South Walton closed it back down to a one-run game in the top of the fourth. Reed Yandell walked and moved around on a bunt sacrifice by Casey Palmer. He later scored on a single by Garafalo for a 4-3 game.
In the bottom of the fourth, Liberty blew up on the Seahawks scoring seven runs on seven hits. Brody Holland, Hunter, Micah McCaskill hit back-to-back singles, then Monroe Hinson banged a single up the middle to drive in two runs. Up next, Garrett Swier smacked one over the center field fence for three RBIs.
At that point, the Seahawks made a pitching change. Tuck Stafford came in and walked a batter, then William Hayes slapped one over the fence for two runs. The Seahwks made another pitching change. Senior Reed Yandell got the Seahawks out of the inning with a couple of strikeouts and a pop up. South Walton trailed 11-3.
The Seahawks scored two last runs in the top of the sixth. Slotter doubled in a run and Lance took one deep to sacrifice in a run.
Liberty put the game away in the bottom of the sixth with three runs.
"We had a couple of plays just off the gloves, we came close," Borthwick said.
However, the fourth inning did the Seahawks in.
"It opened it up and they just started hitting. We played hard, it just didn't go our way today," Borthwick said.
For the game, South Walton had seven hits while Liberty connected for 15.
"This season has been kind of up and down, we just didn't have our best today," he said.
South Walton finished up the season 15-10.