DOUGLAS -- It's going to take a third game to determine whether Crisp Academy's baseball program can win its first-ever state crown.
Coach Brett Freeman's Wildcats, who were paired off against Citizen's Christian on Saturday in a continuation of Game 1 of the GISA Class A state title series -- which was halted Friday due to weather after just one inning -- split Games 1 and 2, winning the opener, 6-4, in eight innings, then losing the nightcap, 7-4.
Game 3 will be played Monday in Douglas at 1 p.m.
"I just told the kids that our goals are still right there in front of us and that everything we want to achieve as a team and a program can still be achieved," Freeman said Saturday night. "If we can come out, clean up our defense a little bit and get some better clutch hitting, I think we have a great shot."
Of course, no "shot" was better than Anthony Barrera's on Saturday -- a two-run blast in the top of the eighth inning that gave Crisp a 6-4 lead it wouldn't give back. Les Cromer led off the inning with a single, followed by Barrea's homer that came on a 2-1 pitch and sailed far over the left-field wall.
"That was huge," Freeman said.
Maybe even bigger than that, however, was Crisp's rally in the top of the seventh inning just to send the game into extra innings. The Wildcats were down, 4-2, when CCA led off by hitting a Crisp batter, then J.T. Carter followed that with a single to put runners at first and second. Then, Robbie Wright hit a sac bunt that advanced the runners and Patrick Fay capped the comeback by singling during Crisp's next at-bat to drive in both runs and tie the game at 4-4.
George Howard came on in the eighth -- relieving starter James Bodrey, who pitched a four-hitter Saturday with six strikeouts and two walks -- to shut the door on CCA in Game 1.
But in Game 2, "nerves got the best of us," Freeman said as Crisp gave up four runs in the top of the first to CCA, which never looked back from there.
Fay took the loss.
Freeman said his guys are excited about Monday, and he plans not to hold anything back in the Wildcats' state title quest.
"We're going to give (CCA) everything we've got," the coach said. "We'll be throwing 'Johnny Wholestaff' at them."
The Cordele Dispatch contributed to this report