Prep Zone

Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Baseball final wrapup: From Pope’s comeback to Benedictine’s freshman phenom to victory celebrations


The 2018 baseball season is in the books. It was a great week for the state finals. Well, except for the rain.

But consider these highlights …

-A freshman, Carter Holton of Benedictine, pitched a one-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts in the clinching victory over Berrien. Holton finished the year 11-2 with an 0.76 ERA as a hitcher and hit .433 with seven homers.

-Pope was down to its final out – trailing 4-2 in Game 2, having lost Game 1 – and rallied to win the game and series against Allatoona.

-Lovett trailed 3-0 in the top of the sixth of Game 2, having lost Game 1, but rallied to win against arch-rival Westminster.

-Parkview’s Logan Cerny hit a walk-off homer in the bottom of the eighth inning – his second homer of the game - to win Game 1 against Mill Creek. Parkview went on to win Game 2.

-Jefferson won its first state title in baseball, upsetting six-time champion Cartersville.

Here’s a finals look at each classification. And don’t stop until you’ve looked at some victory congratulations and celebrations on Twitter below.

AAAAAAA – Parkview was the preseason favorite, nationally ranked with eight seniors already signed before the first pitch this season. After some erratic play in early season, the cream rose to the top as Parkview won its seventh state title in baseball. That ties Richmond Academy (1951-57) for the most state titles in history for the highest classification. In the finals against Mill Creek, Logan Cerny hit two home runs in the opening game, the second one a walk-off, two-run shot in the bottom of the eighth inning for the 3-1 victory. Robert Bennett, a Chippolla signee, went seven strong innings, allowing just one run. Cerny, who has signed with Troy, then went 2-for-2 with two walks in Game 2, a 5-2 Parkview victory. He got the final two outs as a pitcher for the save. Braden Hays, a Georgia Southern signee, pitched 6.1 innings, allowing no earned runs.

AAAAAA – Pope won an all-Cobb County final against Allatoona and became the Cobb school with the most state titles in baseball – four. The Greyhounds, now back-to-back champions in AAAAAA, passed Walton for that honor. Pope lost the opener 11-9 but stormed back with 8-4 and 10-2 wins. Game 2 was epic. Allatoona led 4-2 entering the top of the seventh, but closing out games and state titles are tougher in this sport than any other. Pope got two run in the top of the seventh, then four in the ninth to win. In the critical seventh, Buddy Floyd opened the inning with a walk, and Caden Smith singled. But Allatoona had gotten two outs when Antonio Jareno stepped to the plate. Jareno singled up the middle, scoring Floyd. Then James Tibbs singled in a run to tie it. Pope hit .327 in the series. Will Lantis and Floyd were 5-for-12. Andrew Feld was 6-for-12. Jareno was 4-for-10.

AAAAA – Loganville defended its title and won its four state championship overall. This is a program that had never won a playoff series until 2001. Now, the Red Devils are 47-13 in playoff series, averaging nearly three rounds advanced per year. The Game 2 clincher against Buford was a well-pitched classic. Loganville took a 3-2 lead after two innings, and the score stood up. Seth Clark pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing just one earned run. Bay Witcher came in to get the final out, a strikeout. Bryant Pietri was 2-for-3 and hit a two-run homer in the second. Loganville had cruised to a 13-3 run-rule game in the opener. 

AAAA – Jefferson won its first state title in baseball. This also was Jefferson’s first spring sports state championship outside of track and field. Known more for that sport, Jefferson didn’t field a baseball team from 1969 through 1985. The state title is a well-earned reward to coach Tommy Knight, who has won eight region titles in his 18 seasons at Jefferson. The Dragons beat baseball royalty, purple-clad Cartersville, to do it. Credit strong first innings. Jefferson scored four runs in the first in the opening 5-4 win, then five in the first of a 6-3 win in Game 3. Patrick Hickox pitched a complete game in the opener, allowing seven hits and only two earned runs. He came back in Game 3 and pitched the final 3.2 innings, allowing just one run, so was credited with both wins in the series. Cleanup hitter Ryan Godfrey was 5-for-10 in the series.

AAA – Lovett won its ninth state title. Only Marist (13) and Columbus (12) have more. The Lions beat Buckhead rival Westminster 2-0 in the deciding Game 3. Dhruv Patel (5.2 innings), David Underwood (0.1) and Wyatt Nelson (1.0) combined on the seven-hitter. Robert Poindexter was 3-for-4 and scored the winning run. The pivotal game and moments came in Game 2, when Lovett trailed 3-0 in the top of the sixth inning, having lost Game 1. Lovett put up a six spot as three hits, three walks and a Westminster error opened the flood gates. No. 3 hitter Will Seiler, a two-sport athlete who is recruited more as a football player, was 4-for-11 with two doubles and three RBI in the series.

AA – Benedictine of Savannah got its second baseball title, first since 2014. Freshman sensation Carter Holton pitched a one-hit shutout in clinching Game 2 against Berrien. He struck out 10 and walked only one. He retired the final 14 batters. He also was 2-for-3 at the plate. Holton also got the save in Game 1, coming in to get two strikeouts in a 6-3 victory. Garrison Gunby had allowed only one run through 6.1 innings. John Thorpe hit was 2-for-3 and hit a two-run triple that tied the game in the fifth inning. Johnny Richardson hit at two-run single in the sixth for the go-ahead runs. Benedictine finished 31-7.

A public – Gordon Lee allowed only five runs while going 8-0 in the state playoffs. The Trojans swept Telfair County 10-0 and 7-1. Caleb Hopkins pitched a five-inning two-hitter and went 2-for-4 in the opener. Gordon Lee used three pitchers in Game 2 as Mason Pettigrew (3 innings), Jake Wright (3) and Austin Thompson (1) allowed five hits and no earned runs. Dylan Minghini, J.D. Day and Will Sizemore had three hits apiece in the series.

A private – Tattnall Square of Macon beat Prince Avenue Christian with pitching mostly – 11-0 and 5-2. Luke Laskey pitched a four-hit shutout, and Brooks Gorman pitched a six-hitter in Game 2, allowing just two runs. Logan Simmons was 3-for-6 in the series. Austin Marchman was 3-for-6 with two doubles. Tattnall was 8-0 in the state playoffs and finished 33-4. 

State title count:

13 - Marist

12 - Columbus

9 - Americus, Lovett

8 - Mount de Sales, Pepperell

7 - Gainesville, Harlem, Parkview, Richmond Academy

6 - Cartersville, Clinch County, Greenbrier

5 - Evans, West Point

4 - Calhoun, Griffin, Loganville, Pope, Wesleyan, Westminster

3 - Benedictine, Blessed Trinity, Buford, Coffee, Gordon Lee, Headland, Hughes, Macon, Irwin County, Milton, Model, Pace Academy, Perry, Roswell, Terrell County, Tucker, Walton

2 - Avondale, Brookwood, Calvary Day, Carrollton, Charlton County, Colquitt County, Cook, Dade, Dykes, Eagle's Landing Christian, Greater Atlanta Christian, Harrison, Houston County, King's Ridge Christian, Lakeview, Lanier, Macon, Lassiter, Lowndes, Mount Zion, Murphy, Newnan, Schley County, Tattnall Square Academy, Thomasville, Trion, Twiggs County, Vidalia, Walker, West Rome, Westside, Augusta, Winder-Barrow

1 - Appling County, Bacon County, Bass, Berrien, Bradwell Institute, Bremen, Brookstone, Calhoun County, Campbell, Canton, Chattahoochee, Clay County, Colbert, Coosa, Crisp County, Darlington, Decatur, Duluth, Dunwoody, East Rome, Effingham County, Etowah, Fayette County, Forest Park, Georgia Military College, Glenwood, Glynn Academy, Hancock Central, Hebron Christian, Henderson, Henry County, Hephzibah, Holy Innocents', Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Jones County, Jordan, Kendrick, LaGrange, Lakeview Academy, Lambert, Locust Grove, McEachern, Meigs, Miller County, Newton, None, Norcross, North Forsyth, North Hall, Northgate, Northwest Whitfield, Pacelli, Plains, Providence Christian, Putnam County, R.E. Lee, Redan, Rossville, Savannah, Savannah Christian, Seminole County, Sequoyah, DeKalb, Shaw, Shellman, Shiloh, Sprayberry, Stephens County, Swainsboro, Therrell, Toombs County, Towns County, Treutlen, Union, Union Point, Valdosta, Walker, DeKalb, Washington-Wilkes, Wayne County, West Fulton, Wheeler, Wheeler County, Willingham

From Twitter: Quite a few victory celebrations.










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