FLOWERY BRANCH -- Flowery Branch baseball coach Scott Myers told his team before Friday's Region 8-AAAAA showdown with No. 2 Gainesville not to get caught up in the moment.
Not only did they take his advice, the Falcons embraced it like a warm fuzzy blanket.
Behind a seven-strikeout, three-hit performance from Georgia Tech-commit Jonathan Hughes, the Falcons came away with a 3-1 win at the Hog Mountain Sports Complex and with it perhaps turned a few heads in the region.
"Honestly, we feel we can win every time Jonathan or (Dylan) Gibeau is on the mound," Myers said. "I felt coming in that Jonathan was going to throw well. What I was really proud of was how we played defense and didn't let them have a big inning.
"They didn't try to do too much. 'Just do your job' has been our motto and they have taken it to heart."
Defense was the key as the Falcons (8-4, 3-0 Region 8-AAAAA) played flawless in the field, including turning a key double play to end the fifth, and snuffing out a squeeze play in the third.
Meanwhile, the Elephants (7-2, 2-1) committed five errors, including four in the pivotal third inning when Flowery Branch scored all three of its runs.
In the third, Andrew Nolt singled to start and later scored on an error by Gettys. Hughes walked and scored on a throwing error by the catcher and Justin Seabolt reached on Gettys's error and later scored on a RBI single by Chad Kahlert.
It was also a duel that a large crowd flocked to see as Hughes went against Gainesville's Michael Gettys, considered the nation's top prospect by some scouts.
"That makes it more fun and competitive," Hughes said. "It was a fun game to be a part of."
Gettys only allowed three hits and fanned seven in six innings. After the Falcons big inning, he allowed just one base runner and retired eight of the last nine batters he faced.
"They helped us out but you have to take advantage of those kinds of mistakes and we were able to that," Myers said.
It was a pitcher's duel from the beginning.
Hughes retired the first six Elephants before surrendering a leadoff single to Drew Satterfield in the third. Satterfield would move to second on a sacrifice and then to third on a passed ball. Satterfield attempted to score on a squeeze with Drew Wright at the plate but the Falcons were able to erase him in a rundown.
Hughes continued to dominate retiring five of the next six batters faced, including the double play to end the top of the fifth. Gettys settled down after the third retiring six of the next seven and getting a strike out-caught stealing double play to end the fifth.
The Elephants finally got on the board in the sixth when Gettys singled in Satterfield, who started the inning getting hit by a Hughes curveball. But Hughes fanned two and then got Michael Curry to ground out with the tying runs in scoring position to end the inning.
Hughes shut the door after that retiring the final four batters, including a perfect seventh to earn his second win of the season. He said the team was focused on showing people around the region they were ready to be taken seriously.
"This is a big win for us because we feel we have as good a chance as anyone," Hughes said. "As a group we were prepared and focused. You have to be at your best when you face the best."
NOTES: In Gainesville's two losses, the Elephants have committed 10 errors. . .Hughes lowered his ERA on the season to 0.25 with just the one earned run. . .Both teams came in riding four-game win streaks. . .The two teams will play on Monday at Ivey-Watson Field in Gainesville in the final meeting between the two teams in the regular season.