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Prep Sports Spotlight

Chase Kirkland, Portal

    After a rough start to their Region 3-A schedule, the Portal Panthers knew that they had to get things turned around.
    Leaning on the steady arm and hot bat of junior Chase Kirkland, the Panthers were able to snap a five-game losing streak Tuesday, defeating Montgomery County by a score of 14-6.
    Kirkland played a big part in the Panthers' eight-run fifth inning rally that helped swing things in Portal's favor. In the frame, Kirkland smacked a two-run single and scored a run.
    One inning later, Kirkland provided the finishing touches on the win. With one runner on base, Kirkland caught up to a high fastball and sent it over the fence in left center.
    "It felt good," Kirkland said. "I don't think anything can top that feeling. I was just happy to get (a home run) and happy that we got the win."
    In addition to his three runs scored and four runs batted in, Kirkland was also credited with the win, pitching two scoreless innings while the Panthers mounted their comeback.
    On a cold and very windy night, Kirkland stared down the opposition and allowed just one baserunner.
    "Pitching is tough, no matter what," Kirkland said. "Things definitely aren't any easier with wind and dirt in your face."
    Kirkland and his teammates will go for a second consecutive win as they host Savannah Christian today at 5:30 p.m.


Alexus Hunter, Statesboro

    There are few athletic traditions in the area as thoroughly entrenched as the annual Statesboro Relays.
    Saturday, schools from around the state will flock to Womack Field for the 46th running of the relays while the host Blue Devils will try to prove themselves against tough competition.
    For SHS junior Alexus Hunter, the yearly running of the relays is a family affair.
    "I've been watching the Statesboro Relays ever since I can remember," the Blue Devils junior said. "My mom ran in this event and so did my uncle. It's great to know that I'm going to be out there competing in the same races I used to watch."
    Hunter might try to take in the history, but she won't have too much free time.
    A do-it-all contributor for the Devils, Hunter will compete in the high jump and triple jump during the field portion of the day before taking to the track for the 300 meter hurdles and both the 4x100 and 4x400 relay races.
    Hunter grabbed a pair of first place finishes during her team's victory at the Bradwell Relays last week and is looking forward to another strong showing in her school's signature event of the season.
    "We have a lot of schools from our region coming," Hunter said. "That's my main focus. I know that's going to be the competition I have to beat in region and sectionals."