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Local teams get started in state baseball playoffs
by Greg Oshust
May 08, 2014 09:36 AM | 3492 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Erin Gray / Milton’s Matt Geiger throws a pitch during the first game of the Eagles’ first-round Class AAAAAA state baseball playoff series with North Gwinnett last Friday.
Staff / Erin Gray / Milton’s Matt Geiger throws a pitch during the first game of the Eagles’ first-round Class AAAAAA state baseball playoff series with North Gwinnett last Friday.
Milton, Johns Creek, Blessed Trinity and King’s Ridge Christian took a step forward with first-round wins in their best-of-three series as the state baseball playoffs got underway last Friday.

Each team will now advance to a second-round best-of-three series – with the first two games Wednesday and a third game Thursday, if needed.

Milton successfully began its defense of its Class AAAAAA state championship with a two-game sweep of North Gwinnett.

The Eagles won the first game 3-2 and then proceeded to shut out North Gwinnett 8-0 in game two to complete the two-game sweep.

“I am extremely proud of how our guys responded to some early adversity in our series and competed with great focus and effort,” Milton coach Joey Ray said.

Alex Schnell pitched a complete-game, four-hit shutout to take the win on the mound for the Eagles in game two, while Bryce Johnston and Will Matthews gave up one hit combined in 2.2 innings of relief in the opening contest.

Dylan Cease was 3-for-7 with five RBIs, while Alec Miller was 3-for-4 and Dalton Ewing was 2-for-6 to lead Milton at the plate.

Milton will now host Grayson in a second-round series. Grayson, which lost to eventual state runner-up Roswell in the first round last year, advanced with a two-game sweep of Chattahoochee.

Johns Creek moved on with a two-game sweep of Brookwood – winning the first game 6-5 and the second contest 3-2.

The Gladiators now advance to a second-round matchup with Lassiter.

Meanwhile, Roswell saw its season come to an end after being swept in two games by Mill Creek in its first-round series – losing the first game 8-7 and the second game 5-3.

Blessed Trinity began its quest for a state title as last year’s semifinalists swept Jackson County in two games in its Class AAA first-round series.

The Titans won the first game 2-1 and then clinched the series with a 7-5 victory.

“Jackson County came close to winning their region, so we knew that was going to be a tough series,” Blessed Trinity coach Andy Harlin said. “I was proud of our guys. They grinded it out and found a way.”

Blessed Trinity will face a tough challenge in their second-round series as it hosts last season’s AAA runner-up North Hall – the same team that beat the Titans in the semifinals a year ago.

King’s Ridge is still hopeful to improve on last year’s quarterfinal finish after sweeping Walker in two games in the first round of the Class A private school playoffs.

The Tigers defeated Walker 12-3 in the opening game and then closed out the series with a 16-0 shut out.

Adam Moore was the winning pitcher in the opening game and Austin Higginbotham took the win on the mound in the second and deciding contest.

Brandon Stallings was 3-for-3 with a home run, a double and three RBIs in game one, while Moore was 4-for-5 with a triple and six RBIs in the second game.

“We were really happy with how we played in the first round,” King’s Ridge coach Jason Couch said. “Walker jumped on us early in game one, but our guys did a great job responding. Adam Moore and Austin Higginbotham gave us two quality starts and Jackson Weldon, Kyle Brnovich and Connor Burns did a great job pitching in relief. The whole team swung the bats well. So, overall, it was a great day.”

King’s Ridge will now host Calvary Day in a second-round series, beginning Wednesday.

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