Class 1A Public: Metter wins first state baseball title

Posted 5/22/2021

Metter players pose at Grayson Stadium in Savannah after winning the Class 1A Public state championship on Saturday.


Overcoming the odds

Four-run fifth helps Metter take the lead, hold on to win first state baseball title


Savannah, Ga. -- Second baseman Brendan Wood speared the ground ball, then flipped it to shortstop Randan Rigdon for the force out.

Then, just a few feet from the pitcher's mound, the celebration began.

State champions.

A four-run fifth inning helped Metter overcome a three-run deficit, then Rigdon's younger brother Rustan worked four strong innings of relief to earn the victory on the mound to help Metter win 6-5 in Game 3 of the best-of-three Class 1A Public state championship series at Grayson Stadium. It is the school's first state baseball title.

It was also the first time since 2016 that a school not named Gordon Lee or Schley County won a baseball championship in the state's smallest classification.

After getting shut down in Game 1, the Tigers battled back to win Games 2 and 3 to defeat the two-time defending state champion Trojans. It was the fourth straight state championship series appearance for Gordon Lee (36-5).

But Metter (29-9) did just enough, giving the raucous crowd clad mostly in black and orange their money's worth on a warm Saturday afternoon. The two schools played the winner-take-all Game 3 about 14 hours after splitting the first two games of the series Friday night.

"Obviously, it feels good," Metter coach Zach Rackett said. "It's cool to be a part. That's a memory these kids will cherish forever. But the best part was the environment. The trophy will go away, but these kids will always remember these last three days ... the preparation, the support. That's something that will always be special."

After the Tigers took an early 2-0 lead, Gordon Lee answered with a three-run second inning to make it 3-2. The Trojans added two more to take a commanding 5-2 advantage in the fourth on Nate Dunfee's RBI groundout, then Jake Poindexter scored on a wild pitch when the bottom seemed to be falling out for Metter.

But the Tigers responded. Rustan Rigdon walked and Tyler Kirkland reached on an error, setting the stage for Metter's big-inning.

After Kaliq Jordan flied out for the second out of the inning, RBI singles from Kyzer Anthony, Brian Crooms and Wood tied the game at 5. Then Crooms scored the go-ahead run when Reese Hadden reached on an error.

Rustan Rigdon shut the door on Gordon Lee. And its season.

"The more I think about it and these seniors over the last three years and the schedule they played with all the ups and downs, I think they really pulled us through," Rackett said. "I felt a calmness and toughness out of this team, today and yesterday, and I just felt they were battle-tested."

Rustan Rigdon finished 2-for-3 to lead Metter's offense. Anthony, Crooms and Wood added RBI singles, while Jordan had an RBI double.

Brody Cobb and Jake Poindexter finished with two hits each in the final game of their prep careers for Gordon Lee.