Weekly news and notes for week ending March 13, 2016

Posted 3/14/16

The prestigious Perfect Game High School showdown finished Saturday with Sparkman (Ala.) defeating Gulliver Prep (Fla.) 6-2 for the title. Sparkman went through the tournament unbeaten, beating Hillgrove (10-5), Buford (9-1) and Parkview (7-0) to reach the championship game.

Georgia high schools Hillgrove, Buford, Parkview, Mountain View, Cartersville, Houston County and McEachern played in the tournament.

Class AAAA powers Buford and Cartersville went 3-1. Carterville notched a 7-4 victory over IMG Academy, while Buford defeated Oxford (Miss.) 1-0 in an impressive win. Oxford was the nation's top-ranked team by MaxPreps last week.

Zach Fordham, Clay Dickie and Austin Wilhite combined to allow just five hits, while Justin Glover's RBI single in the sixth accounted for the game's only run.

McEachern went 2-2 in the tournament. One of its big wins came against IMG when pitcher Alex Speas allowed just two runs on five hits in a complete-game victory.

Parkview went 2-2. Its opening victory over Magnolia Heights from Senatobia (Miss.), a 1-0 victory, was highlighted by Will Ethridge's complete-game shutout. The senior allowed just three hits and fanned 13.

Houston County went 1-3, defeating Ballard of Louisville, Ky. 6-3, on Friday. Pitcher DL Hall earned the victory.


The National High School Invitational will take place March 23-26 in Cary, N.C. Cobb County powers Walton and Allatoona will represent Georgia in the tournament. Walton, the top-ranked team in Class AAAAAA, will meet Bingham (Utah) in its first game, while Allatoona will play Houston High of Germantown, Tenn.


It was a tough week for teams ranked No. 1 in the Georgia Dugout Preview Magazine baseball polls. Four of the seven No. 1s -- Walton, Buford, Wesleyan and Schley County -- suffered a loss. Walton dropped its first last Tuesday, a 3-2 region setback to Woodstock. The Wolverines' Trevor Hillhouse and Jared Staples combined to allow Walton just two hits. Nolan Tressler's 2 for 3 performance at the plate led Woodstock's offense.

Lee County will play Tift County Tuesday night (March 15) in a key Region 1-AAAAAA game. Tift County is the defending region champion, while Lee County is the only unbeaten team left this year in the region as well as in Class AAAAAA.

Shiloh's Myles Smith struck out a school-record 18 batters in a 7-0 one-hit shutout victory over Meadowcreek last Monday. The Generals finished last week with a 5-5 record, tying the win total Shiloh achieved in 2015. The Generals are coached by first-year coach Jimmy Hughes.

Mountain View's Chase Chaney, a sophomore who has been recently called up from the team's junior varsity squad, hit his first high school homer in a 2-1 victory over Parkview last Monday.

Wheeler continues to make positive strides to rebuild its program. The Wildcats were 5-5 as of March 13, but the team threw two no-hitters in the past nine days. Wheeler's Noah Welkis and Brandt Plomaritis combined to no-hit McNair in a 13-1 victory. Then last Monday, the Wildcats' Noah Cole allowed just an unearned run and struck out eight in a 6-1 victory over Cherokee.


Region 1-AAAAA play began last week and after one week of play, every team has at least one loss. Columbus High, ranked seventh, was 9-0 before falling 5-4 to LaGrange High on Friday. Hardaway was unbeaten before falling 9-3 to Northside-Columbus on Friday.

Keep an eye on Starr's Mill, who has won seven straight since dropping its only game -- a 3-2 setback to Jones County -- on Feb. 27.

Loganville's Mitchell Miller and Ryan English combined on a no-hitter in a 5-0 victory over Salem last Monday. Miller fanned 11 and walked two in six innings. Timothy Elliott went 3 for 3 with a pair of RBIs to lead the offense.

Austin Weiermiller helped Cambridge break a three-game losing streak with 15 strikeouts in a 12-2 win over Riverwood last Monday.

Ware County's Zach Strickland struck out 12 in a complete-game victory over Wayne County last Monday. The Gators, who went 3-0 last week, were 5-3 at the end of the week. ... After starting the season 1-2 with a pair of losses to Class AAAAAA powers Walton and Pope, Kell has won seven straight. ...

Class AAAA

One of the best games of the week came in northwest Georgia between North Hall and Madison County as North Hall took a 1-0 decision in nine innings Friday night. Jackson Latty's RBI double in the ninth accounted for the game's only run. Drew Atha earned the victory after Corban Wheeler allowed just five hits and struck out 10 in seven innings. He outdueled Madison ace Dylan Gentry, who got a no-decision after allowing just two hits and struck out 12 in eight innings. The two teams meet again March 14.

A team to keep an eye on is West Laurens, who took down two of its Region 2-AAAA opponents in Veterans and Perry last week. Both teams were ranked in the preseason Top 10. Guy Anderburg drove home two runs in a three-run first-inning inning to help West Laurens to a 3-1 victory on Tuesday, then the Raiders' Nick Chamness broke a 3-all tie with an RBI double to send West Laurens to a 4-3 victory over Perry on Friday.

Cairo is 11-0 after beating Crisp County 11-2 on Friday. The Syrupmakers cracked the state rankings and have been led on the mound by Emerson Hancock and at the plate by catcher Cage Cox and Harley Ponder.

 Thomas County is 10-2 and has won seven straight after a 2-0 victory Friday over Bainbridge. Johnathan Robinson hurled a complete-game, two-hit shutout and fanned nine. If the Jackets can defeat Westover on March 14, they would meet Cairo Thursday night with first-place in the Region 1-AAAA standings on the line.

Class AAA

The biggest statement of the week came from Jackson County, who defeated previously fifth-ranked Oconee County in a trio of one-run games. It was a huge task for the Panthers, who believe this could one their best seasons.

According to Atlanta Journal Constitution high school baseball blogger Todd Holcomb, Blessed Trinity has won 38 straight games and has the nation's second-longest winning streak behind St. Cloud of Minnesota who has won 50. The Titans are 23 games from tying the state's longest winning streak of 61 straight games set by Evans High School from 1988-90.

Before Pierce County's 5-0 loss to Ware County on Saturday, the Bears had won 10 straight. ... Second-ranked Westminster went 3-0 in a tournament in the Jacksonville (Fla.) area against Fernandina Beach, Bolles and University Christian. The Wildcats were set to face top-ranked Blessed Trinity March 14 in a key region game. ... New Rockmart coach Kenny Yanzetich has the Yellow Jackets off to an 8-1 start. Yanzetich, who came from Lanier County, suffered his first loss of the season Saturday against Coosa.

Class AA

The biggest mover this week was Bowdon, who improved to 9-0 after defeating Central-Carrollton and Landmark Christian. The Red Devils are the last unbeaten team in Class AA. In the victory over Central-Carrollton, Jake Gilley's RBI single helped the Red Devils score three runs in the first inning and they never looked back. Justin Ingle threw a complete-game, allowing just six hits to outduel Central ace Nic Dye.

Benedictine may still be the team to beat in the rugged Region 2-AA after they defeated Jeff Davis 4-0 on Saturday behind ace pitcher Chipper Wiley's complete-game three-hit shutout. He struck out 13 to outduel Jeff Davis' Cody Ogilvie, who pitched well enough to win. Wiley went 3 for 3 at the plate, but it was Ryan Woiwode's three-run homer that helped the Cadets break a scoreless tie in the fifth.

Josh Gordon's RBI single in the eighth inning helped Long County to a 1-0 victory over Bacon County last Tuesday. The loss stung Bacon County's Dalton Spires with a hard-luck loss after he allowed just a run on four hits while striking out 10. Gordon ended up with the victory in relief of starter Ryan Desbiens, who allowed just four hits in six innings. The Blue Tide then fell to 3-2 to Bryan County Friday night.

Top-ranked Wesleyan dropped its first game to Class A private school power Hebron Christian 6-2 last Tuesday, then after beating South Gwinnett, the Wolves lost to North Gwinnett on Friday. Wesleyan opens Region 6-AA play at No. 8 Lovett Tuesday at 5:55 p.m.

After making the state semifinals last year, Fitzgerald is trying to hit its stride. After a slow start, the Purple Hurricanes have won seven straight after starting the season 0-3. ... Union County has won three in a row and could be the team to beat in Region 8-AA. The Panthers defeated region foe Riverside Military twice and Fannin County last week.

Class A public

Treutlen continues to keep pace with defending state champion Schley County. The Vikings survived perhaps their toughest week so far, beating ECI (1-0), Hawkinsville (6-5) and Portal (2-0). Tristan Cone's complete-game two-hitter helped the Vikings cut down ECI. Cone, a senior, struck out nine and didn't walk a batter. Jordan Morris' RBI single scored the game's only run. Then in a 2-0 victory over Portal on Friday, Zach Hughes outdueled Portal's Cole Busby for the victory. Hughes allowed just four hits in a complete-game victory. Tyler Benjamin and Titus Benjamin had RBIs to aid the offense.

Charlton County's Jack Gowen tossed a no-hitter in a 9-0 victory over Telfair County last Tuesday. Gowen struck out 11, while Mitch Baxter's 3 for 5 performance led the offense.

Irwin County sent Lanier County tumbling out of the state rankings and perhaps the Region 2-A race for the moment. The Indians scored an 8-1 victory Tuesday night behind pitcher Jonathan Martin, who allowed just a run on two hits and struck out 13. Martin also went 2 for 4 with a double. Irwin followed with an 8-5 victory over Clinch County on Friday to move into the rankings at No. 10. Irwin plays at Charlton County Tuesday in a first-place battle.

A couple of Region 4-A games this game could shake up the landscape. Brookstone visits top-ranked Schley County on Tuesday, while No. 8 Hawkinsville is at unbeaten Taylor County on the same day. Last year, Brookstone and Schley played for the region crown.

Baconton Charter continues to control the Region 1-A race. The Blazers have won seven straight and are 3-0 in the region standings. They have region games with Calhoun County on Tuesday and play host to Terrell County on Thursday. ... Johnson County is off to an 8-2 start. The Trojans have been led by Colby Price, Tyler Price, Kyle Carmichael and Hunter Wilkerson.

Class A private

Hebron Christian scored a big 6-2 victory last week over Class AA top-ranked Wesleyan behind Jake Hershman's complete-game victory. The senior allowed two runs on five hits. Hebron's offense erupted for 15 hits. Steven Casey, Spence Johns, Caleb Martin, Bennett Sloan, Landon Jones and Austin Dixon each had two hits apiece in the victory. The Lions also defeated North Oconee and Commerce last week.

Mount Pisgah Christian is off to a 6-3 start under Kent Harrison, who last season guided Darlington to the Class AA state championship series. ... Macon private schools Tattnall Square and First Presbyterian Day emerged as the teams to beat in Region 7-A. Top-ranked Tattnall took two games from fellow Macon rival Mount de Sales, while FPD took 2 of 3 against Stratford.