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Crisp Academy advances to second round of state baseball playoffs

CORDELE- The Crisp Academy baseball team hosted the Robert Toombs Christian Academy Crusaders in the first round of the GISA AA state playoffs on Friday and Saturday. The Wildcats advanced to the second round of state after winning the best-of-three series by winning game three on Saturday after splitting the two games on Friday.

Game One

In game one on Friday afternoon, Robert Toombs got on the scoreboard first with a couple of base hits in the top of the second inning, but the Wildcats quickly grabbed the lead in the bottom half of the frame. Zach Pate got the rally started with a two-out double deep into the left field corner, and Spencer Stubbs reached base next after being hit by a pitch. Garrett Gravitt then reached base on an infield hit, and a throwing error by Robert Toombs allowed Pate to score on the play. Julian Floyd next delivered an RBI single to shallow right field to put CA ahead 2-1 going into the third inning.

The Crusaders picked up a couple of hits and a walk in the top of the third, but CA pitcher, Griffin Gravitt, was able to get out of the jam with the help of some solid defense, including a throw from left fielder, Blake Odom, that cut down a runner trying to stretch a single into a double.

The Wildcats picked up another run in the bottom of the third inning after Baylor Pless reached base on a single and scored on an error. CA led 3-1 entering the fourth inning.

Crisp took control of the game in the bottom of the fourth with a five-run inning. Dylan Farmer walked with two outs in the inning and made his way over second on a wild pitch, before being sent home on an RBI single from Pless. After stealing second base, Pless scored on a Griffin Gravitt RBI single to right, and Odom subsequently walked to give the Wildcats two runners on base. Pate came up next with an infield hit that allowed courtesy runner, Noah Mercer, to score, and Stubbs provided the final two runs of the inning with a two-run scoring single to right field. The Wildcats led 8-1 going into the fifth inning.

Robert Toombs got a couple of runs back in the top of the fifth, but the Wildcats restored their seven-run lead by scoring two more runs of their own in the bottom half. Floyd reached base with a one-out walk, then consecutive base hits by Aaron Titshaw and Farmer loaded up the bases. Pless picked up another RBI with a single to center, and Griffin Gravitt added the other run with a sacrifice fly RBI. CA led 10-3 going into the sixth inning.

Stubbs came in to pitch in the sixth inning in relief of Gravitt and pitched a scoreless top of the sixth. The Wildcats then picked up three runs in the bottom half to finish the game off for a run-rule win in game one. Pate reached base to leadoff the inning after being hit by a pitch, and Stubbs sent him in to score with an RBI double to right center. After Garrett Gravitt drew another walk, Floyd sent the next run in with an RBI single. A walk by Titshaw loaded up the bases, and Pless sent the game-ending run home after putting the ball in play on the infiled. CA won game one by the final score of 13-3.

Griffin Gravitt got the win on the mound for the Wildcats after pitching five innings, allowing just three runs, while striking out four batters.

Game Two

The teams traded scoreless first and second innings to start the game before the Wildcats took the lead in the top of the third inning.

Griffin Gravitt led off the frame with a triple into the right field corner, and Blake Odom hit a fly ball to deep right center that was dropped for an error. Gravitt scored on the play and Odom made it over to third base after the error. Zach Pate followed up with a groundball that scored Odom. Crisp led 2-0 going into the bottom half of the inning.

Robert Toombs cashed in on a couple of hits and three walks in the bottom of the inning to take a 3-2 lead into the fourth.

Crisp tied the score in the top of the fourth with a couple of extra base hits. Baylor Pless doubled to deep left center with one out and scored a run shortly after when Gravitt followed up with a double to deep right. The teams remained tied up at 3-3 until the sixth inning.

Gravitt picked up his third hit of the game with a two-out single to right field, and Odom drew a walk right after to give the Wildcats two runners on base. Pate then got hit by a pitch to load up the bases, and Spencer Stubbs followed up with a two-RBI single to center field. The Crusaders picked up a run in the bottom half of the inning, but CA held on to a 5-4 lead entering the decisive seventh.

After holding the Wildcats scoreless in the top of the seventh, Robert Toombs used a walk and a double in the bottom half to put runners at second and third base with no outs. CA third baseman, Zach Pate, scooped up a groundball and fired it to Dylan Farmer at the plate for the first out of the inning, but the Crusaders tied the score shortly after. A balk then allowed the Crusaders to score the game-winning walk-off run to force a third game.

Game Three

The third and final game of the series took place on Saturday afternoon, and the Wildcats had no interest in making it a close game this time. Spencer Stubbs got the start on the mound, and he was able to pitch around a couple of early Crusader base runners to keep the game scoreless heading into the bottom of the first inning.

Aaron Titshaw led off the bottom of the first with an infield hit, and Dylan Famer followed up with a walk. A couple of wild pitches sent Titshaw home for the first run of the game, and a walk from Baylor Pless put two runners on for the Wildcats again. Griffin Gravitt then picked up his fourth and fifth RBIs of the series with an RBI single that scored Farmer and Pless. Blake Odom and Zach Pate each picked up a hit and a run later in the inning. The Wildcats led 6-0 going into the second inning.

Several errors from the Crusaders helped the Wildcats to a 10-run bottom of the second. The Wildcats sent 15 batters to the plate during the scoring barrage. Odom had two hits, two runs scored and an RBI in the inning, while Garrett Gravitt had two hits, two RBIs and a run. Pate, Stubbs and Titshaw each also recorded an RBI and a run during the inning, while several other Wildcats scored runs. CA led 16-0 entering the third inning.

Robert Toombs scored a run in the top of the third, but that was not enough to extend the game for another inning, as the Wildcats were able to pick up the run-rule victory by a final score of 16-1.

Stubbs got the win on the mound in game three after pitching three innings, allowing just one run on four hits and a walk, while striking out four. Griffin Gravitt, Garrett Gravitt and Zach Pate each had two RBIs to lead the Wildcats in the final game of the series.

The Wildcats will play the four time defending AA state champions, Piedmont Academy, in the second round of the playoffs in Monticello. Game one will begin at 1 p.m. on Friday afternoon, with game two to follow, and a potential game three would be played on Saturday at noon.