Houston County wins Class AAAAA title
By Tim Morse
Georgia Dugout Preview
WARNER ROBINS -- Tanner Hall took one look over his shoulder, watched the final out recorded and then braced for the celebration.
Houston County run-ruled Loganville 12-0 in five innings Tuesday in the third and deciding game of the Georgia High School Association Class AAAAA state championship series, the Bears' second championship in three seasons.
After splitting a pair of games on Monday, Houston played small ball to score a pair of runs, then Jake Fromm's controversial two-run homer set off an avalanche of emotions on boith sides.
Fromm smashed a two-run homer just inside the left field foul pole to make it 4-0. However, the third base umpire didn't immediately make a ruling, instead asking the home plate umpire for help before ultimately deciding the ball was fair.
It set off Loganville coaches, who argued the ball went foul and resulted in head coach Jeff Segars and assistant coach Brandon Anglin getting tossed.
"I saw him do that (in reference to a fair ball), I don't know," said Fromm, who went 1 for 3 with the two-run homer. "It happened so fast. I don't even remember the ball going off the bat."
After a near 10-minute stoppage in play, the Bears added two more runs on Dillon Strickland's sacrifice fly, then Tony Locey's RBI single made it 6-0.
Loganville never regained its momentum.
Hall was in control. After getting a save in the Bears' Game 1 win on Monday, the senior left-hander allowed just a hit in five innings to cut down a potent Red Devil lineup.
"It's bittersweet," Hall said. "It hasn't really hit me yet. I'm sure it will hit me soon. I'm just happy."
Houston County (30-9) added five more runs in fourth when they sent 11 batters to the plate, then Hall did the rest.
The Bears made the most of their seven hits and put an exclamation point on a season in which the team was known more for their starting pitching rotation that consisted of Locey, Hall and junior DL Hall.
"We've been told all year we couldn't put up enough runs for our pitchers," Fromm said. "Me personally, I always thought the over under was four. If we scored four runs for our pitchers, that should be a victory no matter what. Putting up 12 makes it a lot easier."
Austin Hittinger finished 2 for 3 with a double and a pair of RBIs, while Locey went 2 for 3. Austin Langford added an RBI single, while Tanner Hall also finished with a hit.
Loganville (29-9) issued nine walks and finished with two costly errors.
"We said going in that these were two evenly matched teams and we were going to have to play some small baseball to kind of get some things going," Houston County coach Jason Brett said. "So we did that, we got some bunts down, we were able to run a little bit, we had some stuff on those guys where we could run, then Jake was the big blow that kind of busted things open.
"Even after that, we kept pounding away. We kept our foot on the gas and kept working and things worked out in our favor."