CORDELE -- Crisp Academy's Jordan Howard set the tone Friday in the opener of the GISA Class A Final Four with a first-inning grand slam and Patrick Fay pitched a gem -- then added a three-run bomb in Game 2 -- to sweep Randolph Southern right out of the playoffs.
Crisp won Game 1, 12-0, then romped in Game 2, 12-2, both in five innings, setting up a state title showdown next week with Westwood, which finished off Memorial on Friday on the other side of the bracket.
"We just didn't hit well or pitch well (Friday), and we kicked it around a little bit in both games," said first-year Randolph Southern coach Tommy Owen, whose team saw its four-game state playoff winning streak come to an end. "But I take my hat off to Crisp -- that's a good team. It should be a great series (against Westwood) next week."
Randolph was down, 5-0, after the first inning before it could even blink thanks to Howard's grand slam, which was followed by a homer by J.T. Carter later in the inning. Meanwhile, Fay pitched lights out, striking out 10 and allowing just three hits, one of which was a double to Randolph senior slugger and George C. Wallace signee Jon Floyd.
Senior Daylon Blanton took the loss in Game 1 for Randolph, giving up nine hits in the final start of his Patriots (6-14) career.
"We lose three senior starters (Floyd, Blake Martin and Blanton), and we'll miss those guys, but we've got a young bunch coming back and I think we got some good experience," Owen said. "We matured along the way, and I think the future looks good at Randolph Southern."
Crisp's Rush Brown pitched Game 2, giving up two just hits -- one of which was a double to Randolph's Grant Kimbrel -- and striking out three. Fay then helped end Game 2 early with a three-run, opposite-field HR in the fifth that was followed by a HR from Anthony Barrera, marking two of Crisp's 14 hits in the nightcap.
Kimbrel took the loss in Game 2.
Crisp (16-7) is now back in the state title game for the second year in a row, looking to finish the job this time after losing to Citizen's Christian in a best-of-three series in 2010.