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GHSA/GISA STATE BASEBALL PLAYOFF ROUNDUP: Baconton's title hopes go up in a Blaze

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

BACONTON -- The young and inexperienced Baconton Charter baseball team will admit it's been over-achieving all season.

It finally caught up with the Blazers on Friday.

Baconton was swept out of the GHSA Class A state playoffs against Metter on Friday as the Tigers dominated both games to the tune of an 11-0 win in Game 1 in six innings, followed by a 12-2 thumping in Game 2.

"Any time we have our top three pitchers on the mound, I feel we stand a chance," said Tigers coach Corey Collin.

And in Game 1, Georgia signee Pete Nagal showed why Collins has confidence in his arm as Nagel pitched a six-inning, no-hit shutout and finished with 15 strikeouts.

In Game 2, Baconton ace James Davis tried to breathe life into the Blazers with a two-run homer in the top of the third inning to knot the game at 2-2 -- but that spark was quickly extinguished as Metter broke the game open in the bottom of the fourth by scoring seven runs to make the score 11-2 before ending the game with a single run in the bottom of the sixth.

"We are a young team, and I challenged my guys to get to where we can play good teams," Birdsong said. "I'm tickled to death that we got this far but next year when we get this far, I want to be better and maybe we can move on."

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SGA WINS GAME 1 EASILY:

The Warriors routed Harvester's Christian, 8-2, in Game 1 of their GISA Class AA state opener Friday, scoring at least one run in every inning they batted in and never looking back.

Carson Ray moved to 6-0 on the mound in the win, going the distance and striking out five, while walking two. Ray, who gave up an early run, allowed just four hits over the final four innings to close it out. Dillon Driver now takes the mound for Game 2 today as the top-seeded Warriors (15-6) try to close out and advance to the Elite 8 round.

"If Dillon pitches like he's capable of, it should be a heck of a ball game," SGA coach Tommy Manry said. "We've got to jump out ahead 'cause I know Harvester's saved their ace for (today)."

SGA hit three triples in the game -- one each from Kam Whitaker (2-for-4, 3B, 2 RBI), Driver (2-3, 3B, HR) and Ray (2-for-3, 3B, 2 RBI) -- as Driver's homer marked his third of the year.

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WORTH SWEPT:

The Rams (15-13) saw their season end against Thomson, which stretched its win streak to 18 games in the 10-0 Game 1, and 14-3 Game 2 rout of Worth County.

"Their No. 1 (pitcher) was throwing about 85 or 86 (mph), their No. 2 came in and threw about 84 or 85 and then their closer hit 89," Worth coach Will Smith said. "That's tough to combat, plus they hit three home runs."

Worth was held to just three hits in Game 1, and two of them came in the first inning. Ryan Hicox, Matt Weaver and Cory Odum had one each, while Odum shouldered the loss on the mound, giving up 11 hits in just four innings of work.

Thomson pounded out 15 hits in Game 2 -- seven of those coming off starter Will Peacock -- while Worth managed to get on the board when it scored all of its runs in the sixth inning thanks to Chance Mitchell, who finished 2-for-3, Peacock (1-for-4) Austin Newton (1-for-2, 2 RBI).

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RANDOLPH SOUTHERN ROLLS:

It didn't take Randolph Southern coach Tommy Owen long to figure out how his team was going to fare in Friday's GISA Class A State Tournament opening games against host Solid Rock.

The fourth-ranked Patriots (6-12) rattled off 10 runs with ease in the opening inning and rolled to a 26-0 win in three innings in the first game. Randolph Southern then finished off Solid Rock with a three-inning 15-0 win in Game 2.

Senior Daylon Blanton was one walk away from perfection in Game 1 and struck out seven in his three innings of work. In Game 2, Grant Kimbrel allowed just two hits and struck out six.

The Patriots combined for 20 hits in the two games and were led by senior Jon Floyd, who reached base seven times and had seven RBI and six runs.

"You could just tell (Solid Rock) was an overmatched team," Owen said. "I think this helps our confidence because we got to get some good swings. If we can get that confidence up on defense we will be OK."

Randolph Southern will now face the winner of Region 2, No. 2 David Emanuel and Region 1, No. 3 John Hancock on May 13-14.

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TERRELL ACADEMY WINS WILD GAME 1 IN EXTRAS:

Fourth-seeded Terrell Academy (9-14) scored nine runs in the eighth inning on Friday at top-ranked Christian Heritage (9-2) to win the GISA Class AA State Tournament opener between the two teams, 11-3.

"We waited till the eighth to finally put some runs on the board," Terrell Academy coach Ashley Walker said. "We just couldn't string any hits together before that."

Logan Duckworth opened up the eighth-inning floodgates with an RBI triple to right field. His hit was followed by several Eagles' base knocks, including a two-run double by Clint Smith. Six of Terrell Academy's 12 hits came in the eighth inning.

Trey Goree started and pitched seven innings for the Eagles, striking out four and allowing six hits. Adam O'Hearn, who will start Game 2 for Terrell Academy at 1 p.m. today, pitched the final inning.

"This is just a big win for us," Walker said. "It says something to beat the No. 1 team on the road and travel as far as we did. Hopefully we can continue this (today)."

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TREULTEN 10-12, MILLER COUNTY 0-0:

The second-ranked Treutlen Vikings (24-4) have now won 23 straight games after flexing their muscles against third-ranked Miller County (12-15) in the opening round of the GHSA Class A State Tournament on Friday.

Winning both games of the doubleheader in six innings (10-0 and 12-0), the red hot Vikings advance to the Sweet Sixteen and will play the winner of Bacon County vs. Taylor County on Wednesday.

Marcus Bullard led Miller County with three hits in the doubleheader, but the rest of the Pirates combined for just six hits throughout the two games.

"Every time that we hit it, they were standing right there," Miller County coach Chris Cuckhalter said. "Everything they hit fell right in. They are a good baseball team, but it's hard for us to put pressure on folks when we can't get anything going."

For Miller County, Michael Cowart pitched a complete game in Game 1, and Brian Lovering started and threw three innings in Game 2.

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HARLEM 10-18, WESTOVER 0-1:

Harlem made quick work of Westover in a doubleheader on Friday in the GHSA Class AAA Tournament

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The second-ranked Bulldogs (16-11) won the first game, 10-0, and then routed the third-ranked Patriots (14-8) in Game 2, 18-1.

Harlem plays the winner of Jackson and Mary Persons in the Sweet Sixteen.

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Herald sports editor Danny Aller and staff writers John Millikan and Jimmie Haywood contributed to this report