COLQUITT — Miller County ended the regular season hot, winning its first Region 1-A baseball title since 1986.
On Friday, the Pirates kept their momentum rolling in the postseason with a doubleheader sweep of Claxton in the opening round of the GHSA Class A public school state playoffs to advance to the Elite 8.
No. 4 seed Miller County cruised to wins of 12-1 and 14-1 over No. 13 seed Claxton and will play in the quarterfinals Wednesday at home against either Gordon Lee or Commerce.
Friday’s wins were convincing and dominant — and with them the 20-6 Pirates are looking like serious contenders.
“We hit the ball about as good as we have hit it all year,” Miller County coach Eddie Whitaker said. “Defensively, we had one error in two ball games, and we pitched well. It was as complete a day as we have had in a while, especially in two games. Everything was clicking at one time.”
Michael Cowart threw four shutout innings in the opener to get the win, and Cole Vann, Jackson Fleet and Jake Warren all hit home runs for Miller County.
In the second game, the Pirates racked up 17 hits, while Vann was the winning pitcher after giving up just two hits and one run in four innings of work.
The Pirates will head into the quarterfinals on a seven-game winning streak and have outscored their opponents 92-9 during that stretch. Their first victory during the streak came April 14 against No. 1 seed Schley County — a team the Pirates will meet up with if both squads advance to the Final 4.
WESTOVER SWEPT: The Patriots, who entered the Class AAAA playoffs as the No. 4 seed from Region 1-AAAA, were hit with a heavy dose of star pitching every time they played region champion Crisp County during the regular season.
On Friday, Westover coach Josh Caldwell compared Wayne County’s pitching staff to that of Crisp County’s.
“Just like Crisp County, they had dominating pitching,” Caldwell said.
Wayne County eliminated Westover from the playoffs with wins of 11-0 and 10-0 and held the Patriots to a combined five hits in the doubleheader.
Wayne County won the opener in five innings, but Westover kept things close in the second game before Wayne County pulled away in the fifth and sixth innings.
Andy Daniel and Terrence Mosley were the losing pitchers for the Patriots, who end their season at 9-12.
“We played them better in the second game, but they were just so deep in pitching and hit the ball well,” Caldwell said.
BACONTON ELIMINATED: Baconton Charter was ousted from the Class A public school state tournament on Friday with a pair of lopsided losses to Wheeler County.
No. 7 seed Wheeler rolled to a 6-1 victory in the opener and then crushed No. 10 seed Baconton, 18-3, in the second game to end the Blazers’ season.
Baconton (15-9) had a chance to cut into Wheeler’s lead in the fifth inning of the opening game but left the bases loaded and never threatened again. In the second game, Wheeler scored five runs in the top of the first inning and never looked back.