NORTH FULTON/FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — The GHSA state baseball playoffs began April 24 with 11 local teams competing in the postseason.
Milton sweeps Rockdale Co. (11-1, 13-1)
Milton advanced to the second round of the playoffs with a dominant sweep of Rockdale County April 24. The Eagles racked up 24 runs in the doubleheader while holding Rockdale to just five hits.
Milton’s bats were hot early with the Eagles driving in six runs in the bottom of the first inning in Game 1. The Eagles plated five more in the fourth inning and won the run-rule shortened game in five innings.
The Eagles offensive success continued in Game 2 with 15 hits and 13 runs.
Kristian Campbell and Curt McDonnell homered in Game 1, and Jack Rhodes hit a two-run shot in Game 2. Josh Carrico had four total RBIs, Mitch Landon batted 3-5 with two RBIs and two walks, and Stephen Michaels was 3-6 with three RBIs in the series.
Dylan Matela threw a five-inning complete Game 1, allowing two hits and one earned run with 10 strikeouts. Tyler McLoughlin earned the win in Game 2, allowing two hits and one earned run with five strikeouts and two walks.
Milton will host the winner of Norcross/Mill Creek in the second round slated to begin May 2.
Forsyth Central sweeps South Gwinnett (15-0, 8-1)
Forsyth Central had no troubles dispatching South Gwinnett to advance to the second round of the state playoffs.
The Bulldogs scored four runs in the first inning of Game 1 and piled on the offense with 11 combined runs in the third and fourth. The game was called on the run rule after the bottom of the fourth.
Central’s Game 1 offense was highlighted by a Jacob Ryan grand slam in the third inning. Ryan batted in seven runs in the opening game. He also got the start on the mound and pitched a four-inning complete game allowing three hits with four strikeouts.
Though Game 2 was more competitive, the Bulldogs still racked up eight runs while surrendering just three hits to take the series with an 8-1 win.
Mitchell Gross earned the Game 2 win, allowing two hits and no runs in six innings with 12 strikeouts. Will Robbins relieved Gross in the seventh, allowing one earned run with three strikeouts.
The Bulldogs opened the scoring in Game 2 with a five-run fourth inning behind five hits, including a three-run double from AJ Fiechter. With Gross dominating on the mound, Central added three insurance runs in the top of the sixth. South Gwinnett’s only run came on a home run in the seventh.
Central will go on the road in the second round to face Region 6 champions North Gwinnett.
North Forsyth sweeps Archer (4-1, 2-1)
North Forsyth earned two extra-inning wins to sweep Archer April 24.
North’s Anthony DiMola won a pitcher’s battle in Game 1 with an impressive 10-inning performance allowing seven hits and one earned run.
The contest remained scoreless until the 10th inning when Miles Hartsfield hit a two-run double. Garrett Staton and Holton Payne sacrificed to put the Raiders up 4-0.
Archer compiled three hits in the bottom of the 10th, including an RBI single, but DiMola ended the threat with his sixth strikeout to give North the Game 1 win.
Game 2 was another low-scoring affair, but the Raiders used a walk-off hit and another strong pitching performance to take the series.
Brody Westbrooks threw an eight-inning complete game, allowing eight hits and one earned run with seven strikeouts. Archer’s only run came in the top of the first on an RBI single.
North tied the contest in the second inning with help from the Tigers. An Archer error put Carter Mullikin on base and another error allowed him to score.
The contest remained tied at 1-1 in the eighth when Holton Payne hit a walk-off double to secure the Raiders’ series win.
North faces Region 7 champions Parkview on the road in the second round.
Grayson downs Lambert in three games (6-2, 4-8, 8-0)
After a late season fight to earn a playoff berth, Lambert took Region 8 champions Grayson to three games but were shut out by the Rams in the decisive game April 25.
Grayson opened Game 3 with five runs in the first inning and held the Longhorns to just two hits throughout the contest. Lambert starting pitcher Asher McAllister was pulled after just 0.2 innings after surrendering five hits, including a home run and five earned runs.
Grayson scored four runs in the first two innings of Game 1 and went on to take the 6-2 win. The Rams jumped out to an early lead in the Game 2, but Lambert knocked in five runs in the fifth inning to power its 8-4 win.
Denmark sweeps Northwest Whitfield (8-5, 11-2)
Denmark earned a sweep of Northwest Whitfield April 24 to advance to the second round in their inaugural season.
A late-game surge of runs made for an exciting Game 1 with Denmark plating four runs in the top of the seventh to take the lead and the game, 8-5.
Denmark took a 4-3 lead in the top of the sixth, but Northwest Whitfield tied in the bottom half with three hits, including an RBI single. Denmark responded with a five-hit rally in the seventh with Carson Russel hitting a two-out, two-run double. Trevor Bryk and Nic Ferrer then stretched the lead to 8-4 with RBI singles.
Jack Kream relieved starter Dalton Hansard in the bottom the frame and got off to an inauspicious start with Northwest Whitfield’s leadoff batter hitting a home run. However, Kream had a strikeout and forced two groundouts to end the potential comeback.
Hansard earned the Game 1 win, allowing nine hits and four earned runs.
While the first game of the doubleheader was a back-and-forth affair, Denmark took an early lead in Game 2 and racked up 12 hits to take the 11-2 win.
Matthew Cassandra batted 3-4 in Game 2 with two RBIs, a home run and a double, and Logan DeLong went 3-4 with an RBI and three runs scored to lead the Danes’ offense.
Starting pitcher Jack Whitlock earned the win, allowing three hits and two earned runs with five strikeouts in 6.1 innings.
Denmark will go on the road against St. Pius X in the second round.
Blessed Trinity sweeps Ridgeland (11-1, 16-0)
Blessed Trinity blasted Ridgeland for 27 runs to sweep its opening round series April 24.
The Titans scored at least two runs in all five innings of the run-rule shortened Game 1. Trey Baker, CJ Abrams and Steele Chambers all had two RBIs. Baker knocked in his RBIs with a home run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Hayden Grier batted 3-3 with an RBI.
While BT lit up the scoreboard in Game 1, starter Eric Moore earned the win allowing four hits and one earned run with seven strikeouts for the five-inning complete game.
BT upped its run total in Game 2 with 16 runs on 14 hits.
Abrams led the Titans, batting 3-3, including two doubles and a triple, with three RBIs and a walk. Chambers went 2-2 with an RBI, Ryan Davis batted 2-3 with two RBIs, and Jake Smith had two RBIs on two hits in the lopsided win.
Starter DJ Radtke earned the win, allowing no hits with two strikeouts in three innings. Will Macolino allowed one hit in one inning in the run-rule shortened game.
The Titans will take on the winner of Stephens County/LaGrange in the second round.