MILTON, Ga. — Milton head coach Jeff Heusing told his players before Thursday’s decisive Game 3 that no matter the result, he was proud of the team and their accomplishments in the 2019 season.
Despite a frustrating, run-rule shortened game in which the Eagles had multiple fielding errors, seven walks and just one hit, Heusing stayed true to his word.
“I’m very proud of our guys, we accomplished a lot this year,” Heusing said. “I just have to commend these kids, they have worked and worked and pulled together since the first week in August. I couldn’t be happier for them. We have a lot of personalities on this team and talent with some seniors going on to play at some high academic institutions. I couldn’t be happier for these guys.”
Milton’s accomplishments included winning the program’s first region championship in five seasons, compiling the first 20-plus win season for the program since 2013 and hosting two playoff series.
Heusing said the team’s accolades extend beyond the on-field play, especially the leadership shown by his 10 seniors.
“The seniors are rebuilding the legacy this year, and we took a big step in the right direction,” he said. “But it’s not just wins or championships, there’s a lot of things that go on behind the scenes. We restructured some of our values, rebuilt our culture in the locker room and the seniors were the leaders and set the tone.”
Heusing is also optimistic for the program’s future.
“I think we have turned a corner and are building some great things,” Heusing said. “It didn’t go our way this year, but we’ll get back at it and be ready for next year.”
Milton’s season ended with Thursday’s loss after the Eagles and Hawks split their May 1 doubleheader.
Both teams traded runs throughout Game 1 and Milton tied the contest at 7-7 with an RBI double Stephen Michaels in the bottom of the sixth.
Curt McDonnel reached in the bottom of the seventh after being hit by a pitch on a full count to put the winning run on base. Logan Jones then seized on the moment with a walk-off double to give Milton the early edge in the series.
Brandon Concevitch earned the win for the Eagles in relief, throwing two innings with three hits and two earned runs allowed with five strikeouts.
After compiling eight hits in Game 1, the Eagles were held to just four hits and one run on a bases-load hit batter in Game 2.
Mill Creek built and early 5-0 lead in Game 3 behind a Milton error, a bases-load walk, two RBI singles and a sacrifice fly in three innings. The Eagles used five pitchers in the contest, but walks, two crucial Milton errors and Mill Creek hits allowed the Hawks to continue piling on the runs.
The Eagles only hit of Game 3 was single by Curt McDonell in the second inning.
“A lot of credit to Mill Creek and [head coach] Doug Jones, he’s a legend,” Heusing said. “They had us playing catch up from the first inning of the second game. We took the first one but really couldn’t get our legs under us in the second one. And today we had some tough breaks, and we walked a few guys.”
Milton compiled a 23-9 overall record this season.