SATURDAY'S GISA/GHSA STATE BASEBALL ROUNDUP: Deerfield, Miller, Randolph Southen all advance in state tourneys

ALBANY — Deerfield’s Weston King has been as hot as any baseball player in Georgia the last five days.

And the Knights may just be able to ride his arm and his bat all the way to a state championship.

It’s just been that kind of week for the Deerfield junior.

King was the hero in Tuesday’s Region 3-AAA Championship win against Westfield, 7-0, when he tossed six shutout innings, then he helped lead the Knights to a 4-1 victory Friday in Game 1 of their GISA Class AAA state playoff opener against Arlington Christian when he drove in three of DWS’ four runs.

But Saturday, King took his game to a whole other level.

Not only did he pick up the win on the mound in Game 2 of the series — a 9-5 DWS win that closed out the series and advanced the Knights to the Elite 8 — but he blasted his first home run of the year, a three-run shot in the sixth inning to all but seal the victory.

“He’s been great,” DWS coach Rod Murray said. “And he picked a fine time to hit that first home run, that’s for sure.”

King improved to 7-1 on the mound after going six innings and allowing just three hits Saturday, while striking out two.

The win now means that No. 1 seed Deerfield will host yet again when the Elite 8 round of the state tournament rolls around next week.

The opponent will be Pinewood Christian, a No. 2 seed which has just one common opponent with DWS — Westfield. The Hornets beat Pinewood earlier in the season and Deerfield split with Westfield during the regular season, then blanked the Hornets in the region championship game.

A game time and start of the series has not yet been determined, DWS coach Rod Murray said Saturday.

“We’ll probably start Friday, play two and if there is a third, we’ll play that Saturday,” he said. “Right now, it just feels good to get through the first round. We’ll give the kids the day off Monday because it’s a long week to get ready and prepare for another season.”

In Saturday’s Game 2 win, leading the way beside King was Kh’Ron McClain, who finished 2-for-4 with a triple, an RBI and a run scored, while Lindsey Short was 2-for-4 with two RBI. Davis Hines scored two runs for the Knights and also went 2-for-4, and Owen Butler was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI. Sam Shellhaas added a hit and scored a run, and Harris Webb notched an RBI.

What’s been most impressive, however, about Deerfield’s run at this year’s title is the streak the Knights have going. They’ve won 13 in a row, counting Saturday’s victory, and haven’t lost since early March.

“We’re 21-2 overall and haven’t lost since the last day before spring break,” Murray said. “We’ve been on a nice little run.”

GISA Class A State Tournament

AUGUSTA — Go ahead and scratch your head when it comes to assessing how Randolph Southern is making a run at the GISA Class A state title.

The Patriots love the fact folks keep underestimating them.

Randolph, which ended the regular season with just five wins, won its first-round state playoff series Saturday with Memorial Day by taking Game 3 on Saturday, 11-4, against the higher-seeded team from Augusta.

The Patriots still have a losing record — 8-12 overall — but they just keep pulling off big win after big win.

“I keep telling the kids that if we swing the bats like I know we can, we’ll make things happen,” said second-year Randolph coach Tommy Owen, whose team got a big confidence boost late in the season when it knocked off defending Class A state champ Crisp Academy in a win no one saw coming.

No one but the kids from Shellman, that is.

“We’ve been hot, that’s for sure,” Owen added. “We’ve played decent defense, and that’s what it takes to win.”

Grant Kimbrel earned the win Saturday, going five innings, striking out four and allowing just four hits. Blake Lamb got it going early when his single started a big first inning for the visiting Patriots as they went ahead, 4-0, and never looked back. Jared Sauls, however, had the biggest day, going 3-for-5 with three RBI, while Kimbrel finished 2-for-4 with two RBI. Trey Goree also went 2-for-4 with two RBI, but his most crucial contribution came late in the game when he relieved Kimbrel and struck out five of the six batters he faced in the final two innings.

Next up for Randolph — which reached the state semifinals last year before losing to eventual champ Crisp — is going on the road to face Bethleham Christian. That series is scheduled to start either Thursday or Friday.

GHSA Class A State Tournament

COLQUITT— Miller County won its do-or-die Game 3 on Saturday against Lanier County, 7-1, and will now travel to Savannah to face Calvary Day on Wednesday for Games 1 and 2 of the best-of-three series.

Cole Vann was the winning pitcher, going the distance and striking out eight, while allowing just two hits. Vann also finished with two hits and scored a run.

Ty Sheffield was 2-for-3 at the plate with two RBI, followed by Jackson Fleet (double, two RBI) and Kain Givens (double, two RBI).

With the victory, Miller’s record is now 17-9 — and the Pirates are one of the hottest teams in the state, winning nine of their last 11 games.