Kerrigan's no-hitter sends Valiants to Final Four
May 9—HAHIRA — Thanks to a freshman arm, the Valwood Valiants (18-9) punched their ticket to the GIAA Final Four.
Freshman Matthew Kerrigan pitched a no-hitter as the Valiants eliminated the Dominion Christian Knights (16-15) Friday night.
The Valiants won Game 1, 6-4, then shutout the Knights 5-0 in Game 2 thanks to Kerrigan's handiwork on the mound.
With the win, the Valiants have won four straight and are one series win away from the GIAA Class AAA State Championship in Augusta.
GAME 2: Valiants 5, Knights 0
Freshman Matthew Kerrigan was brilliant on the pitcher's mound Friday night threw a no-hitter to lead Valiants past Dominion Christian 5-0.
Kerrigan went a full seven innings, striking out eight and walking two in the win.
An RBI single from Jack Drew brought Dalton Smith across for the final run of the game.
Kerrigan slammed the door on the Knights in bottom of the seventh by getting Sebastian Collender to fly out to left field for the first out, then striking out Max Caldwell and Lane Campbell to end the game.
Kerrigan helped his cause in the top of the sixth as he singled on a line drive to left field to score Dywan Powell to make it 4-0 in favor of the Valiants.
A walk issued to Triston White allowed Jack Drew to score to put Valwood ahead 3-0 and three at-bats prior, Drew's RBI double brought in Connor Hutto for a 2-0 lead.
In the first inning, Valiants got their offense started with Hutto driving in Smith on fly ball to right field for a 1-0 lead.
Drew led Valiants with two hits in four at-bats. Kerrigan, Smith, Hutto and Dallas Hatfield each had hits in the game.
GAME 1: Valiants 6, Knights 4
Tied at 4 in the bottom of the fifth, the Valiants took the lead on a Triston White RBI single on an 0-2 count to bring in Jack Drew.
Leading 5-4, the Valiants added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth as Dalton Smith doubled on a hard ground ball to left to score David Griffin for the final margin.
Despite allowing three runs by the Knights in the fourth inning, the Valiants still managed to pull out the victory.
The Valiants did well to get runs on the board early as they scored two runs in the first inning and added two more in the bottom of the second before the Knights clawed their way back into the ballgame.
A single by Maddox Sommers brought Jake Jackson in for the Knights' first run of the game in top of the third inning.
The game evened in the top of the fourth as an error by Smith — one of the four errors the Valiants committed in the game — allowed two runs to score to cut the deficit to 4-3. Jackson scored on an error by Emory Hogan to tie the game with two outs in the top of the fourth.
The Valiants got out of the jam on the next at-bat as Tim Fant popped up in foul territory for the third out.
Smith, who came on in relief, was awarded the win for the Valiants. Smith went two innings, recording three strikeouts with one walk and one hit.
Hogan started the game for Valiants and offered up a solid outing. The Valdosta State commit pitched five innings and struck out six along with three hits, four runs (one earned) and two walks.
Offensively, Smith went 3-for-4 at the plate to lead the Valiants. White, Maddox Coile and Chase Helfer each added a hit in the win.
Valwood travels to Milledgeville to face red-hot John Milledge Academy in the GIAA Class 3A semifinals Friday. The top-seeded Trojans (17-6) have won seven straight and have scored at least 10 runs in four straight games — including 22 total in a two-game sweep of Heritage last Friday.
First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.