Monday, March 27, 2023

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Williams breaks Southern’s winning streak in baseball; Bulldogs prevail for first time in 10 years

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By Bob Sutton

Special to The Alamance News

All signs point to a potentially strong season for the Williams baseball team.

“It’s a very exciting team,” senior outfielder Coleman Mahan said. “The young people have gotten older and gotten better. Last year, we had just a couple of returners.”

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A step in the right direction certainly came with Monday night’s 8-3 non-conference victory against visiting Southern Alamance.

Both teams are 2-1, but the Bulldogs are feeling particularly bullish after winning a game against Southern for the first time in more than 10 years. Southern got off to a winning start last week with wins over Southwestern Randolph, 12-2, and Eastern Alamance, 5-4, both games played at Southern.

“They’ve always had a good team,” Williams senior shortstop Ethan George said. “Of the four years I’ve been here, I think this year is the best chance we have to be really good.”

Ethan George

Williams benefited from a four-run first inning – highlighted by Dan Mahan’s two-run double – to take a 4-2 lead. Pitcher Nate Billings took over for the next few innings until Southern senior Nate Teague’s first varsity home run made it 4-3 in the fifth.

Williams responded in the bottom of the inning with Vince Coker’s run-scoring double and Coleman Mahan’s RBI single. George and Trace Hicks both drove in runs in the sixth.

Yet the Patriots made it interesting by loading the bases with one out in the seventh off Will Cooper. Hicks then moved from first base to the mound, needing only three pitches to end it. A line drive by Southern’s Eli Holland was snagged by George, who turned it into a double play.

“It has been a while (since defeating Southern),” Williams coach Jamie Athas said. “They’ve been a powerhouse in the area. (Our players) saw that they can play with them.”

That might be the kind of boost of confidence the Bulldogs needed. They hadn’t defeated Southern since February 28, 2013.

“Even though we only have two seniors playing a lot, we have big goals,” Athas said.

Dan Mahan rapped three hits, Coleman Mahan had two hits, and Dan Mahan and George each scored twice. The Bulldogs collected 10 hits and three walks.

Coleman Mahan
Dan Mahan

“They swing it,” Southern coach Jason Smith said. “There weren’t any easy outs.”

Williams has Central Carolina 3-A Conference games this week against Cedar Ridge, including a matchup at home that has been moved from Friday night to Thursday night because of potential weather issues. The Bulldogs figure to be ready whenever they take the field.

“It’s all about playing with your teammates,” George said. “When outcomes like this happen, it’s the best feeling in the world.”

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