GAINESVILLE -- Jeremy Kemp says his team is still missing out on a few big hits here and there.
Michael Gettys did his best to amend that on Wednesday.
The Gainesville standout crushed a three-run home run in his first at-bat and added a sac fly in the fourth inning to help the Red Elephants to a 5-1 win over Winder-Barrow at Ivey-Watson Field in Gainesville.
"The thing is he's probably thinking more about the strikeouts he had tonight than the big hits -- but that's the kind of kid he is," Kemp said of the senior outfielder, who did strikeout twice but more than made up for it with four RBI. "The home run was big, but the sac fly was probably just as important and really could have set us up for an even bigger inning."
Thanks to Michael Curry's pitching, it was all the offense Gainesville (11-5, 5-1 Region 8-AAAAA) needed.
The Red Elephants starter kept the Bulldoggs off balance throughout, scattering seven hits -- four of which came in the last two innings -- and striking out five while walking just two batters in a complete game effort that completed a season sweep of Winder.
"Three of his four starts have been pretty much like that," Kemp said. "He was unbelievable in his last start in Cary (N.C., in the National High School Invitational), and he would have thrown even fewer pitches tonight, but we made some errors behind him and extended some innings."
Gainesville did also turn two double plays, while Curry also helped himself out of trouble, including in the fourth inning. Leading 3-0, Curry watched Hunter Jackson reach on an error and Cole Baggett double to put two Bulldoggs in scoring position with no outs. Curry stayed calm, however, inducing a ground out from Christian Hodge -- third baseman Mikey Gonzalez reacting well to snag the ball before staring Jackson back to third -- before striking out Beau Hanna and Aaron Gonazlez to keep Winder off the board.
By the time Winder finally scored, Baggett coming home on an error in the sixth, Gainesville had the game firmly in hand and fans were already turning their thoughts toward Friday's showdown with undefeated Loganville.
"This was huge; the region was awesome working with us to allow us to work the schedule around so we could go to the (National High School Invitational), but the draw we got was awful," Kemp said. "Playing Flowery Branch, Winder and Loganville in a row is extremely difficult -- and it's not going to get any easier. The other teams in the region are very good too."
Certainly the other squads of 8-AAAAA will think the same of Gainesville -- and Gettys, who got things started in style. The Red Elephants took advantage of back-to-back walks for Sims Griffith and Luke Maddox to set the stage for Gettys and a 3-0 lead.
Yet after some early struggles that included three walks in the first inning, Winder starter Baggett (5 innings, five hits, seven strikeouts, five walks) settled down and kept Gainesville quiet after a promising start for the Red Elephants -- until Gettys came up again in the fourth.
This time Drew Wright and Griffith helped set the stage, laying down inch-perfect bunts to reach on infield singles. Maddox also reached on an error, loading the bases with one out.
Gettys couldn't come up with the grand slam, his deep drive to centerfield coming up about 10 feet short, but the sac fly scored Wright from third and gave the Red Elephants a 4-0 advantage.
Jack Langford made it 5-0 in the fifth, scoring from third on a balk call -- Langford was courtesy running for Caleb Whitenton, who led the inning with a double.
Baggett, who racked up four of Winder's seven hits on the night, including a double, finally scored in the top of the sixth, but Curry kept things under control, inducing an inning-ending pop fly with the bases loaded.
The Red Elephants will play host to Loganville at 5:55 p.m. Friday at Ivey-Watson.