Carrollton lost Game 1 of the Class AAAA finals series 12-0 to Crisp County, but rallied Monday afternoon to win Game 3 2-0 to clinch the program’s first baseball state title since 1962.
"It feels wonderful," said Carrollton coach Ryan Zaideman. "We just have a special school, a special community, a special administration and an excellent group of young men and assistant coaches."
After the Game 1 rout, many had left the Trojans for dead. But Zaideman was not surprised that his team shrugged off the loss and won two straight.
"This is a resilient group," said Zaideman. "We've had a couple games like that this year. They always rebound well. We just refocused ourselves and really just played against ourselves, against Carrollton. We just needed to handle our own business."
The starter of Saturday's Game 1, senior Tucker Reynolds, bounced back to toss four innings of scoreless ball and earn the win after relieving starter Cooper Criswell in the fourth inning. The pair combined to allow just five hits to a Cougars offense that had scored 18 runs in the first two games of the series.
"He was lights out today," said Zaideman of Reynolds' effort. "Both he and Cooper Criswell did an excellent job on the mound keeping Crisp off balance and keeping them guessing."
The host Trojans scored both runs in the fifth inning when senior Will Hesterlee knocked in sophomore Mitch McLendon with a two-strike single. Hesterlee was later plated on a single by sophomore Roury Glanton.