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Florala boys split with Kinston, playoffs-bound

The Florala Wildcats have earned a spot in the Class 1A state playoffs after splitting with area opponent Kinston Thursday night.

The Wildcats (11-19, 2-2 in Class 1A, Area 3) earned the runner-up spot after beating the Bulldogs 11-8 in the first game.

Florala lost the second game, 11-1. The win helped the team accomplish one of its season goals — to make it to the playoffs.

“It’s a major improvement from last season, where we only won one game,” Florala coach Stan Gooden said. “Our goal was to get better and make the playoffs — we have accomplished those two things.”

Florala 11, Kinston 8

Winning pitcher John Bess allowed no hits on three innings and struck out five batters to help give his team the edge over the Bulldogs in the first game of the doubleheader.

At the plate, Brock Goodwin was 1-for-3 with one run; Gavin McCurley was 3-for-4 with three runs; Jordan Rowell was 1-for-3 with three runs; and Bess was 1-for-2 with one run.

“We fought and scraped runs any way we could get them,” Gooden said. “We did not have real good control of our pitches and made a few errors.”

Kinston 11, Florala 1

Rowell, Austin McNeil and Bess had one hit each and Goodwin hit a solo home run in their team’s second game of the day.

Goodwin allowed three hits in three innings and had four strikeouts in the loss.

“We were real flat in the second game,” Gooden said. “We had too many errors in the field and too many free passes on the base.”

The Wildcats move to 11-18 overall, and 2-2 in Class 1A, Area 3 and will play Brantley in the first round of the playoffs.

“We are in the playoffs, and we are excited about the opportunity,” Gooden said. “I thought our guys held it together, considering all that had happened that afternoon back home.”