CORDELE — Another year, another Final 4 appearance.
That’s what happened Friday for Crisp Academy’s baseball team, which swept Citizens Christian in a quarterfinal doubleheader to advance to the GISA Class A semifinals for the fifth straight season.
Crisp pitcher Jeff McKinney dominated the opener with a complete-game, 6-0 victory, and then the Cougars went wild at the plate in the second game, winning 21-4.
McKinney struck out 10 in seven innings of work in Game 1, while Jake Smith put Crisp on the board in the first inning by stealing third base and then home after reaching on a single. James Wessel added a solo home run in the third inning.
In the second game, the Wildcats led 9-3 heading into the sixth inning and then added 12 in the frame to finish off Citizens Christian.
Crisp Academy (13-6) advances to host either David Emanuel Academy or Grace Academy in next week’s semifinal round.
DEERFIELD SWEPT BY TATTNALL: Deerfield baseball coach Rod Murray admitted that Friday’s season-ending losses to Tattnall Square were emotional.
But how could they have not been?
Murray’s seven-year tenure as head coach of the Knights came to a close in the Class AAA quarterfinals with 7-2 and 13-0 losses to Tattnall Square.
“Yeah it was emotional,” said Murray, who will be taking over as head coach of the Southland Academy football team next season. “You are leaving a great school with a good, young baseball team. We are losing two great seniors in Davis Long and Will Akins who have been with the program for a long time and did a good job for us. The program will miss them. The young kids, they have bright things ahead of them.”
The Knights (13-9) managed just eight hits in the doubleheader. They had six in the opener — including two each from Chandler Matthews and Justin Glover — while singles from John Samuel Shenker and Corey Toole were Deerfield’s only hits in the second game.
Akins was the losing pitcher in the first game, and Glover took the loss in the nightcap.
TERRELL ACADEMY 9, GATEWOOD CHRISTIAN 6 (8): Charlie Maxwell knocked in the go-ahead run and then Gavin Sloan belted a two-run homer in the top of the eighth inning to lift the Eagles to a thrilling victory in the Class AA quarterfinal series opener.
Region 3-AA No. 2 seed TAE is trying to advance to the Final 4 for the first time since 2009, and the Eagles can sweep their way to the semis with a Game 2 victory at noon today. If necessary, a deciding Game 3 will be played immediately after.
The Eagles (14-9) took a 6-2 lead into the sixth inning, but Gatewood tied it with a two-out grand slam. Both teams were quiet at the plate in the seventh inning, but Terrell Academy broke through in the eighth for three runs, and then Jared Donalson pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth to get the save. TAE starter Jordan McDaniel threw the first seven innings and struck out 11.
Maxwell and Alan Stewart also homered for the Eagles.
SOUTHLAND ACADEMY 11, LOGANVILLE CHRISTIAN 7: The Raiders are on the cusp of advancing to their first Final 4 in years with Friday’s Game 1 victory against Region 1-AAA No. 1 seed Loganville Christian.
Region 3-AAA No. 2 Southland used a six-run fifth inning to break open a 2-2 game and then cruised to victory. Game 2 is scheduled for 2 p.m. today, followed by a Game 3 if necessary.
After a three-hour drive to Loganville, Southland ace Geoffrey McDonald was a bit sluggish on the mound — but McDonald and the rest of the Raiders made up for it at the plate, where they smacked 19 total hits.
Southland’s top hitters were Brandon Looney (4-5, RBI), Hunter Weldon (3-5, HR, 2 RBI), Ford Roach (4-5, 2 RBI), John Adkins (3-5, RBI) and McDonald (2-4, RBI).
Looney recorded the save for the Raiders, who never trailed in the game.