JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – The Johns Creek Gladiators advanced to the quarterfinals of the Class AAAAAA state baseball playoffs, defeating Lassiter 7-4 and 13-7 in a doubleheader last week, May 7.
Johns Creek (20-11) was scheduled to host Valdosta in the quarterfinals, with a doubleheader scheduled for Tuesday and a third game if necessary on Wednesday. The winner of that series will play at the winner of the Milton-Kennesaw Mountain series, beginning with a doubleheader Monday.
Lassiter, which went 11-15 during the regular season, had knocked off Region 7 champion Mountain View in the first round on a pair of shutouts, but the Gladiators put up 20 runs in their two wins.
In the opener, Johns Creek scored in five of six innings, taking a 5-0 lead after five innings. Charlie Hecht pitched a complete game to get the win, scattering nine hits and allowing just two earned runs.
Cody Hardage led the Gladiators’ 10-hit attack with an RBI single in the first inning, a sacrifice fly in the fourth and a solo homer in the sixth. Chase Solomon had two hits, scored a run and drove in one, Tyler Dupree went 2-for-2 with an RBI, and Noah Wilmot had two hits to start scoring rallies.
Lassiter scored twice in the bottom of the sixth in the second game to take a 6-4 lead, but the Gladiators scored nine runs in the seventh to more than erase their deficit.
Freshman Jared Mihalik started the winning rally with a hit, followed by singles by Bradley Flink and Tyler Prescott. Hardage singled to cut Lassiter’s lead to one, and after the Gladiators tied the game on a groundout, Solomon delivered a three-run triple to break it open.
Ross Funke, Mihalik, Cameron Moore and Zach Gorowitz added hits later in the inning as the Gladiators expanded their lead.
Solomon went 3-for-3 with a solo homer and drove in four runs and Prescott had two hits and an RBI. Prescott also went the first four innings on the mound, allowing three hits and three earned runs.
Nicholas Radivoi got the win in relief, yielding two earned runs over the final three innings.
Valdosta (22-8) finished third in Region 1 and defeated Newnan and McEachern in the first two rounds, needing a 6-5 victory in game three against Newnan to get past the opening round.