MARIETTA -- For 6 innings, the South Gwinnett defense made all the plays behind starting pitcher Adrian Martinez.
However, an error on a two-out grounder in the bottom of the sixth helped lead to three Walton runs as the Raiders prevailed 5-2 to end South's season.
"It's a tough loss and you hate for things to go like that," said South head coach Steve Teschner. "But that's baseball and that's how things go sometimes."
Martinez went 6 innings with only one earned run allowed and four hits. However, two of those hits came after the error. Bradley Schwartz singled to score Mitchell Szwec. Then, a Logan Barnette double plated two to give the Raiders their second and third runs of the inning.
"You can't fault Adrian on any of those," Teschner said. "He battled all night long."
Like Walton, South struggled to put hits together as UGA signee Stephen Wrenn kept the Comets at bay.
The Comets nearly scored in the second with Mason Hart on third base, after he doubled to begin the inning. However, Colton Nash lined out to first to end the inning.
Walton came close to scoring as well in the bottom half of the inning as Martinez issued three walks in the inning to load the bases with one out. But Barnette hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
The fourth saw South get to Wrenn beginning with a 10-pitch walk to Montrell Marshall. Ryan Patterson singled to right field to put runners on first and third. Mason Hart then came up and laid down a perfect RBI squeeze bunt, scoring Marshall and giving the Comets a 1-0 lead.
South added its second run when Patterson scored on a wild pitch.
But Walton answered in the bottom half of the inning. Henry Rowling singled and Aaron Rzucidlo doubled to begin the inning. An errant throw to second went into right field and allowed Rowling to score Walton's first run.
Avery Roberts' RBI groundout tied things, bringing the game back to square one.
South was again knocking at the door in the fifth, loading the bases with one out. However, Patterson had a liner snagged by first baseman Chase Burks, who then doubled off Marshall to end the inning.
"Walton made plays," Teschner said. "You have to hand it to them."
After Walton's three-run sixth, South was unable to put anything together, sending the Raiders into the second round where they will host Norcross beginning Thursday.
"Our seniors have grown up the hard way in this program," Teschner said. "Most have been on varsity all four years and given everything they had. And 21 wins is nothing to be ashamed of. They should be proud of what they accomplished."