State semifinal recaps for Classes 6A-2A
Walton sweeps Norcross
Walton won its 11th and 12th straight games and swept Norcross behind a pair of shutout victories to earn a return trip to the state finals for the second straight season. The Raiders were the state runner-ups last year.
In Game 1, Zac Kristofak allowed just three hits and struck out four in a complete-game victory. He outdueled Norcross' Graeme Stinson, who allowed two runs on six hits in a complete-game loss. Stinson struck out six.
Jason Rooks and Ben Spencer added RBI singles for the Raiders. Spencer finished 2 for 3.
In Game 2, Walton scored a run in the first inning and never looked back. Chris Hummel tossed a complete-game, four-hit shutout and fanned three to earn the victory on the mound.
Drake Frix went 2 for 3, while Spencer finished with two RBIs and Jason Avers added one.
Norcross ends its season at 27-9.
Pope sweeps Harrison
Pope broke out the offense in the middle of Game 2 and after an eight-inning, nail-biter in Game 1, swept Cobb County foe Harrison on Monday.
The Greyhounds' victory sets up a state championship series with fellow Region 5-AAAAAA rival and Cobb County counterpart Walton.
No further details were available.
Loganville, South Effingham split
Morgan Copeland hit a grand slam during a four-run fourth inning to help Loganville defeat South Effingham in Game 1.
Then the Mustangs rallied back to win Game 2 and force a decisive game three at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
Jonathan Lee went 2 for 3 to lead the Red Devils in Game 1, while Timothy Elliott earned a complete-game victory on the mound.
Austin Thompson went 2 for 4 with a triple and an RBI, while Turner Davis hit a two-run homer for the Mustangs.
In Game 2, Davis Hare allowed just a run on four hits to earn the complete-game victory as the Mustangs erupted for 10 hits to salvage a split. Thompson went 3 for 5 with an RBI, while Tyler Pullum and Garrett Hodges finished with two hits each.
Bryce Fowler went 2 for 3 for Loganville.
Houston County, Gainesville split
Gainesville rallied back from a Game 1 loss to win the nightcap and force a decisive Game 3 on Tuesday. The Red Elephants are trying to get back to the state championship series for the second straight year.
A five-run second broke a 2-all tie in Game 1 for Houston County. Blake Dawson went 3 for 5 with a pair of doubles and an RBI to lead the Bears at the plate. Austin Langford went 2 for 4, while Jake Fromm added an RBI double that scored two runs.
Tony Locey was the winning pitcher, working six innings and allowing two runs on four hits.
But in Game 2, the Red Elephants' Collier Scott outdueled Houston County's DL Hall to earn a split. Scott allowed just a run on six hits and struck out six, while Hall allowed two runs on four hits in six innings.
Fedrick Cardona went 2 for 2 with a double, while Sam Carpenter added an RBI double to lead the Gainesville offense.
Dawson went 2 for 4 in Game 2 and was 5 for 9 in the two games on Monday.
Locust Grove sweeps Veterans
Locust Grove will make its first state championship appearance in the school's history after sweeping past Veterans on Monday. Veterans lost in the semifinals for the third straight season.
In the first game, Ethan Lindow allowed just two hits and struck out eight in a complete-game victory. Lindow hurled a no-hitter last week in a Game 1 victory over Heritage-Catoosa.
Tyler Daughtry and Logan Arnett managed the only two hits off Lindow.
Nolan Crisp's RBI double and Trevor Sellers' RBI single accounted for the Wildcats' two runs of the game.
In Game 2, Sellers scored on an error in the top of the seventh to break a 7-all tie, then Crisp worked a scoreless seventh to preserve the victory. Joah Curry and Clay Shearouse each went 3 for 4 with an RBI to lead the offense.
Veterans committed three errors in Game 2.
The Game 2 loss spoiled a 3 for 3 performance from Veterans' Dalton Gilliam who finished with a homer, a double and four RBIs.
Veterans' season ends at 23-11.
Buford sweeps Eastside
Defending state champion Buford is back in the state championship series after sweeping Eastside on Monday.
In Game 1, Justin Glover remained unbeaten on the season with a complete-game victory and nine strikeouts. A four-run fourth inning, highlighted by Nick Wilhite's bses-clearing triple, gave the Wolves the lead for good.
In Game 2, Griffin Jolliff was the winning pitcher as the Wolves opened with a 4-0 lead and never looked back.
Eastside ends its season at 23-11.
Blessed Trinity, Jackson County split
Blessed Trinity jumped all over Jackson County in Game 1 to win its 32nd game of the season. However, the Panthers stunned the Titans with a victory in the nightcap to force a Game 3 today at 5 p.m.
It is the first time since the second round of the 2014 playoffs that Blessed Trinity lost a postseason game. They were riding a 24-game postseason winning streak.
Jackson County, meanwhile, forced its fourth consecutive elimination game. The Panthers are 3-0 in Game 3s in the postseason this year.
Hayden Lehman allowed just a run on seven hits in a five-inning victory in Game 1. Colin Davis went 3 for 3 with a triple, a homer and four RBIs to lead the offense. Ryan Davis finished 2 for 2 with an RBI, while David Dunn finished 2 for 3 with a double and a pair of RBIs. Connor Davis homered for the Titans.
In Game 2, Caleb Matthews scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning.. Zane Corley was the winning pitcher.
The Panthers managed just four hits off Blessed Trinity pitcher John Michael Bertrand.
Jake Bogosian, Michael Markwordt and CJ Abrams finished with two hits each for the Titans.
Westminster sweeps Cedartown
Westminster erupted for 13 runs on 13 hits and topped Cedartown in Game 1. Then the Wildcats completed the sweep in Game 2 to punch their ticket to the Class AAA state finals on Saturday.
They will await the winner of Tuesday's Game 3 between Jackson County and Blessed Trinity. Westminster would host if Jackson County wins.
Ethan Price ripped a three-run homer, while Ryan Miller went 2 for 5 with three RBIs to lead the Wildcats. Kenneth Hartzfeld, Shota Yasuda and Peter York all finished with two hits each. Blake Huber and Armaan Painter finished with two RBIs each.
Zontarious Scofield went 3 for 3 for the Bulldogs, while Brayden McCollum added a grand slam.
In Game 2, Westminster rallied from a two-run deficit with a three-run sixth inning to grab the lead, then Rankin Woley pitched a scoreless seventh to earn the save. Blake Huber earned the victory.
Woley also ripped a solo homer in the game, while Will Benson finished 2 for 3 with a homer, a double and a pair of RBIs.
Carlos Robinson, Walker Barrow and McCollum finished with two hits each for the Bulldogs, who finish their season with a 28-6 record.
Greater Atlanta Christian, Lovett split
Greater Atlanta Christian rolled to an easy 8-0 victory in Game 1 behind pitcher Andrew Schultz, but the Lions rallied back to defeat GAC 3-2 in 11 innings to force a decisive Game 3 Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
In Game 1, Schultz allowed just two hits and struck out nine, while also going 2 for 3 at the plate with a homer and four RBIs. Erik Smith went 2 for 3 with a homer and three RBIs, while Harrison Sloan finished with a double and also went 2 for 3 for the Spartans.
But in the second game with Lovett trailing 2-1 heading into the borrom of the 11th inning, Aaron Schunk ripped a solo homer to tie the game, then Wyatt Nelson's RBI double scored Brady Tindall for the game-winning run and helped the Lions stave off elimination.
Lovett's Sam Pritchard hurled the complete-game, needing just 121 pitching to help the Lions win. He allowed just two runs on seven hits to outduel GAC starter Gabe Davenport, who took the loss after going 10 2/3 innings.
Schunk, Freddy Achecar, David Eastling and John Staton all had two hits in the game.
Wesleyan, Holy Innocents split
After dropping the first game of the best-of-three series to Holy Innocents, Wesleyan rallied back to win Game 2 to force a third and deciding game Tuesday at 5 p.m.
In the first game, Holy Innocents overcame an early 1-0 deficit with a two-run fifth inning. Christian Ketchup smacked a solo homer and John McNair's RBI single helped the Golden Bears to the victory. Alfredo Granier went 2 for 3 to pace the offense.
Hugh Chapman allowed just a run on six hits to earn the complete-game victory. Wesleyan's Jordan Ward struck out seven in a complete-game loss.
But in the nightcap, the Wolves scored seven runs in the fourth inning to break a 1-all tie and force a Game 3. Ryan Weed and Colin Hall both hit homers. Hall, Cole Mannion, Jake McCleskey, Mikey Olson and Alex Thompson all had two hits apiece for the Wolves.
Andy Archer allowed just a run on six hits to earn the complete-game victory.