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Terrell, Southland advance to state semifinals

Terrell outs Gatewood in three, while Southland sweeps Loganville Christian

EATONTON – For the past few seasons, Terrell Academy’s baseball season has ended in the state quarterfinals.

On Saturday, the Eagles blanked Gatewood 6-0 in the third and deciding game of the Georgia Independent Schools Association Class AA state quarterfinals.

Terrell rallied to win Game 3 after Gatewood pitcher Alex Sanchez shut down the Eagles in Game 2, propelling them to a 13-0 six-inning win in which Terrell mustered only three hits.

But Terrell scored all six of its runs in the first inning of the third game and used a strong pitching performance from freshman Jared Donalson. He needed just 62 pitches to hurl a complete-game, two-hit shutout.

“I told our guys that (Game 2) was one of those games where everything went wrong,” Terrell coach Ashley Walker said. “They threw their best guy at us and we didn’t hit the way we’re capable of hitting. But our guys responded very well. I told them to forget about what happened in Game 2 and that we needed to bounce back and see what happens.”

The end result will send Terrell into the Class AA semifinals next week for the first time since 2009 against Trinity Christian of Dublin.

The Eagles did all of their offensive damage with two outs in the first inning. The inning was highlighted by RBI singles from Donalson, Alan Stewart and Gavin Sloan, whose single scored two runs. Sloan would finished 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs.

After Terrell scored all of their runs, Gatewood re-inserted Sanchez to pitch the final few innings. However, the Gators’ offense was shut down by Donalson.

“This is big win for us,” Walker said. “I challenged our guys this year to get back to the final four. We had gotten put out in the quarters for the past three years. I challenged them just to get out of the quarterfinals.”

SOUTHLAND SWEEPS: After Southland scored an 11-7 victory in Game 1 of its best-of-three Class AAA quarterfinal series at Loganville Christian on Friday, the Raiders finished off the sweep Saturday with an 8-5 victory in Game 2 to advance to next week’s state semifinals.

Behind Reed Dillard’s complete-game pitching performance, the Raiders advance to meet Tattnall Square in the semifinals.

Southland scored six runs in the first inning on RBI singles from Dillard, Geoffrey McDonald and Cason Fort to grab control early. Loganville Christian trimmed the deficit to 6-4 before Allen Gleeson gave the Raiders some cushion in the sixth with a big two-run homer.

Loganville added a run in the seventh, then had two runners on when Dillard recorded a strikeout to end the threat and the game.

“These guys keep finding a way to win,” Southland coach John Brady said. “This is a good team and a good group of guys. I like this group because we don’t have that guy, that eye-popper. This is a grind it out team and we’ve enjoyed the ride. This is a team effort and we got a lot of contributions.”