||Logan Simmons and Tattnall Square won in A-Private. Credit: Tattnall Square
Three of Tuesday's four baseball finals series were affected by rain, with the Class AAAAAAA doubleheader between Parkview and Mill Creek rescheduled from UGA's Foley Field to Rome's State Mutual Stadium on Thursday at 1 p.m. Both the Class AAAAAA Allatoona-Pope series at Rome and the Class A-Private Tattnall Square-Prince Avenue series at Macon were delayed but completed their doubleheaders. Gordon Lee captured the Class A-Public title with a sweep over Telfair County, and Tattnall Square won the Class A-Private crown with two wins over Prince Avenue. Defending champion Pope won Game 2 in nine innings to force a Game 3 with Allatoona.
By Craig Sager
Allatoona 11, 4, Pope 9, 8
Allatoona and Pope split in the Class AAAAAA finals at State Mutual Stadium in Rome on Tuesday night. Allatoona jumped on top early in Game 1 and held on 11-9, and Pope won 8-4 in Game 2 after nine innings.
Allatoona used a barrage of RBI singles to build a 7-0 lead by the end of the first inning and hold off Pope's rally to take Game 1 of the Class AAAAAA championship 11-9. Blake Evans got the Buccaneers going with a leadoff double, and then Tyler Shultz's two-RBI double followed one of Pope's four errors in the game to give Allatoona a quick 3-0 lead. Brett Blomquist, Tyler Messick, Alex Tansey and Payton Eeles also drove in runs in the top of the first. Pope got on the board with two runs in the bottom of the first inning, but Eeles extended the Allatoona lead back to 8-3 in the top of the third with a sacrifice fly. Pope cut into the lead with another run in the bottom of the third inning, but after a scoreless fourth, Eeles notched his third RBI of the game with a single in the top of the fifth to put the Bucs up 9-4. Pope, which outhit Allatoona 14-13 in the game, tested the Bucs rotation and added another run to force two pitching changes before Allatoona got out of a bases-loaded jam to end the inning with a 9-5 lead. Allatoona added a pair of RBI singles from Messick and Tansey in the top of the sixth inning to put the Bucs up 11-5 before having to survive Pope's four-run seventh inning and a bases-loaded jam to finally clinch the 11-9 win.
In Game 2, both teams scored a pair of runs in the first inning, and the game remained locked 2-2 until Allatoona came up in the bottom of the sixth. Eeles, who notched 3 RBIs in Game 1, hit a solo home run for the go-ahead score, and Messick drove in David Smith on an RBI single to increase the lead to 4-2. With a two-run lead, the Bucs sat one out away from clinching their first state title, but Pope rallied to force extra innings. Allatoona then used a four-run ninth inning, including four hits and three walks against Allatoona's depleted pitching staff, to score the win and even up the series 1-1.
By Seth Ellerbee
Tattnall Square 11, 5, Prince Avenue Christian 0, 2
MACON-Despite a weather delay of a few hours in the second game of the series, Tattnall Square was steadfast as it swept Prince Avenue Tuesday night in the Class A-Private championship series at Mercer University in Macon.
In Game 1, Tattnall scored 10 runs in the top of the sixth inning on the way to an 11-0 win. The Trojans entered the inning up a run off a groundout by B.J Spears that plated Hunter Alexander in the top of the fifth. Tattnall caught fire in the top of the sixth and, with the help of a few wild pitches, took a commanding lead. The first blow came on a two-RBI single to center field by Miles Morris. The hit scored pitcher Luke Laskey and Alexander to push the lead to 3-0. Dawson Brown then brought Morris home with a sacrifice fly to center field to push the lead to 5-0. The Trojans, with two outs against them, would proceed to score eight more runs to put the game out of reach.
Logan Simmons then singled a hard ground ball to right field to score Spears. Brooks Gorman's line-drive double to left field scored Simmons to give Tattnall a 6-0 lead. When Gorman advanced to third on an error, Elmo Daniels came in to pinch run and Prince Avenue subbed in Jake Haynes on the mound. A wild pitch scored Daniels from third, giving Tattnall a 7-0 lead. When Austin Marchman doubled to center field, Logan Fink crossed the plate to add another run, making it 8-0. Marchman then scored on a wild pitch, Trey Ham doubled to left field to score Konner Toth and Alexander scored on a passed ball, pushing the Tattnall lead to 11-0.
In the second game, Tattnall scored first in the bottom of the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Marchman that drove in Simmons. The Trojans then took advantage of two fielder's choice RBIs by Fink and Marchman in the bottom of the second to push the lead to 3-0.
Prince scored its first run of the series in the top of the third inning on a Luke McDevitt line drive to right field, scoring Murphy Healen. The next batter, Thomas Ross, singled to left field to score Talmadge, pulling Prince Avenue to within a run, 3-2. And that's as close as it would get.
Tattnall increased the lead in the bottom of the third with a Spears double to left field that scored Morris. After a pitching change for Prince Avenue, Cain Tatum took the mound to replace Trey Felt, who lasted two innings and allowed three hits and five runs. Simmons came to the plate. His sacrifice fly scored Spears and pushed the lead to 5-2, still in the bottom of the third. Tattnall did not commit an error in Game 2, helping to preserve the lead.
By Graham David
Gordon Lee 10, 7, Telfair County 0, 1
Heading into the championship series, the Gordon Lee Trojans had only allowed four runs to opposing teams in the playoffs. Their matchup against Telfair County saw more of the same. In Game 1 of the title series, the Gordon Lee bats came alive in the second inning after a scoreless first. The Trojans batted around the order, bringing a total of 12 batters to the plate. Helping ignite the eight-run spree in the second was senior catcher Dylan Minghini, who cleared loaded bases with a three-run double. The Trojans tacked on two more runs later in the game and successfully shut out Telfair County to claim Game 1 10-0 in five innings.
Game 2 went scoreless through the first three innings with Telfair County's ace Ian Blankenship keeping runners off the bases. Telfair scored its first run of the series in the bottom of the fourth, but Gordon Lee sophomore reliever Jake Wright managed to get out of a no-out, bases-loaded jam to reduce the damage. Gordon Lee tied the game in the top of the fifth off an RBI double from sophomore Will Sizemore, starting what would be a parade of runs.
Junior Justin Wooden hit an RBI single to give Gordon Lee the lead, making it a 2-1 ballgame heading into the bottom of the fifth. The runs kept coming in the top of the sixth. Gordon Lee senior Austin Thompson hit a two-run triple, and the Trojans added three more runs in the inning to go up 7-1. The Trojans pitching and defense held in the last two innings, giving them their first baseball title since 1984.