Terrell Academy senior Josh Brunswick was one of six seniors to see their TAE careers come to an end Saturday.
DAWSON — After pouring four years of his life into the Terrell Academy baseball program and spending nearly a decade on the field with his teammates, Josh Brunswick finally had to say goodbye Saturday.
It was a farewell filled with more tears than words.
“This team meant everything,” Brunswick said as the waterworks slid down his cheeks. “I have known these guys forever.”
Brunswick is one of six TAE seniors who played their last game in an Eagles uniform after losing to Edmund Burke, 12-4, in Game 2 of the GISA Class AA state quarterfinals. The Eagles were no-hit in Friday's Game 1 and lost, 15-0, but played Saturday with more fire and urgency.
TAE (16-8) took a 4-1 lead in the top of the second inning immediately after a two-hour weather delay but had no runs and just one hit in the final four innings, capping a season that was one of the best in Dawson in recent years and gave coach Ashley Walker his first outright Region 3-AA title in his five seasons with the program.
“We got after it a lot better than (Friday),” said Walker, who inherited this year's senior class as eighth-graders in his first year at Terrell Academy. “You always remember that first group that comes through. It's a special group. These guys mean a lot to me and were great leaders. They bought into the program, and everybody kind of fell in behind.”
Brunswick was joined by seniors Caleb Waters, Logan Duckworth, Logan Maxwell, Josh Wardrip and Clint Smith. It's a group that has played together since fifth grade.
“They aren't just guys playing on my team. They are my family. I will always remember this,” Waters said. “We were a family. We were all close. I couldn't help but think about all of them as the game was getting down to the end.”
The game started with an RBI single from Brunswick in the top of the first that scored Josh Wardrip, but Edmund Burke (17-4), the second-ranked team in the state, answered with a run in the bottom of the inning to knot things up.
With two outs in the bottom of the first the game was delayed for two hours because of lightning and rain, but when play resumed Smith, the Eagles' starting pitcher, got out of a jam with his first pitch and then Waters led off the second with his fifth homer of the year.
“When he hit the ball I knew it was gone,” Walker said about Waters' slam to left-center field. “At that point I was hoping it would be the spark.”
Later that inning, Wardrip hit a two-out, two-run double to score Alan Stewart and Maxwell, but those were the last runners to cross the plate for the Eagles, who went three-up, three-down in three of the last five innings.
“Everything seemed like it was going our way in the second,” Waters said. “Everyone was up in the dugout, but (Edmund Burke) came up and hit a couple of balls into no-man's land that fell, and there's nothing you can do about that.”
Edmund Burke, which is advancing to its fourth Final 4 in the last five years, scored four runs in both the third and fourth innings and another two in the fifth. Smith was the losing pitcher after tossing three innings and allowing nine runs and eight hits, while Maxwell allowed three runs and four hits in three innings of relief.
“Clint has done a great job for us,” Walker said. “Clint is a strike guy. He will go in there and throw strikes, and we had a lot of confidence in him. We still pitched behind in the count a little bit, but he still did a good job.”
It was a two-run homer from Edmund Burke's Matt Usry in the bottom of the fourth that knocked Smith out of the game. Usry was one of four Spartans to knock in multiple runs, including Bo Goodin, who was 2-for-3 with three RBI.
“In a three-game series, we feel like we can play with anybody,” said Edmund Burke coach Aaron Phillips, who led his team to a state title in 2011. “Hats off to Terrell and coach Walker. They do a great job, and that's a well-coached team. They played their hearts out.”
They played theirs hearts out and then cried them out as they said goodbye to each other in right field after the final out.
“We are a family,” Brunswick said. “And I'm just going to miss this.”
Raiders, Warriors see seasons end in sweeps
MACON — Mount de Sales took advantage of Maury Spivey’s pitching and timely hitting from the top half of the batting order to beat Southland, 4-2, on Saturday to sweep the best-of-three GISA Class AAA quarterfinal series.
Mount de Sales, a No. 3 seed, will continues its upset run and head to Tattnall Square, a 6-2, 14-inning winner over Tiftarea on Saturday in that series’ third game, in the semifinal round, while Southland, a No. 4 seed, saw its Cinderella ride end after upsetting No. 1 seed Loganvillle Christian in the first round last weekend.
Mount de Sales staked its way to an early 2-0 lead through the first two and a half innings, taking advantage of four Southland errors.
Southland had a shot to tie the game in the sixth inning. With Mount de Sales up 3-1, Southland mounted a rally. Raiders designated hitter Hunter Weldon drew a two-out walk, putting two runners on base and bringing the go-ahead run to the plate. Brandon Looney grounded to Mount de Sales shortstop Adam Barth, whose throw to first sailed wide, easily scoring Dillon Hughes.
Weldon was waved around third and was caught in a rundown between third base and home. Spivey covered home on the play, and as Weldon made a break for home plate, Weldon opted not to slide while also appearing to lead with his elbow. Spivey applied the tag, and Weldon was ejected from the game as a result of the play that also ended the Southland scoring threat.
BRENTWOOD 7, SGA 0: The Warriors saw their season end Saturday in Game 2 of their GISA Class AA Elite 8 series.
The Warriros managed just three hits one day after getting six hits in an 8-1 loss in Game 1, highlighted by a Jake Odom homer. SGA’s season ends at 11-11 overall.