GAINESVILLE -- Loganville put some distance between itself and the rest of Region 8-AAAAA Friday taking a 4-1 win over second place Gainesville at Ivey-Watson Field.
The Red Devils used a two-run first to grab the lead and then pulled away with a two-run fifth against Michael Gettys. Meanwhile, Loganville senior Austin Hendricks limited the Red Elephants to just three hits and worked out of two jams in the middle innings to preserve the lead and get the win.
Thr two teams will meet Monday in Loganville with the Red Devils (12-4, 7-0 Region 8-AAAAA) now holding a two-game lead over Gainesville (11-6, 5-2) and Flowery Branch -- which is tied for second with the Red Elephants -- in the region standings.
Loganville coach Jeff Segars said his team was looking for a little payback after being swept by Gainesville last year.
"This was a big win for us," Segars said. "Gainesville is a great team and we lost two one-run games last year. I think our guys felt like they had something to prove."
Gainesville coach Jeremy Kemp said Friday's loss makes Monday's rematch that much bigger.
"We're in second place but we want to finish first," Kemp said. "We just need to find a way to get a win Monday. Three games back would be tough to overcome."
Loganville jumped on Gettys early. Logan Mattix singled to start the game and Chandler Downing walked with one out. After a wild pitch moved both runners up a base, Royce Harrison drilled a double to left center to give the Red Devils a 2-0 lead. Gettys would strike out the side in the first.
The Elephants answered in the bottom of the first when Sims Griffith doubled to left and later scored on Michael Curry's two-out single to cut the lead to 2-1.
Both pitchers then took control. Gettys retired 11 of the next 14 Red Devils, including four straight strikeouts in one stretch, through the fifth inning. Hendricks retired nine of 10 through the fourth inning.
"Austin (Hendricks) has been pitching well all year and I thought he did a good job against their lineup, especially their big guys," Segars said.
The Nos. 2-6 hitters for Gainesville were just 1-for 11 with one RBI and no runs scored.
"(Hendricks) did a nice job against us and kept us off-balance," Kemp said. "I thought Michael pitched well enough to win. We just couldn't get much going (offensively)."
Still, the Elephants had a chance to grab the lead in the fifth trailing 2-1. Brandon Sewell reached on a wild pitch on a swinging third strike and went to second on a one-out single by Harrsion Styles. But, Sewell was erased at third on a fielder's choice by Drew Wright and Hendricks got Griffith to ground out to end the inning.
The Red Devils responded adding two big insurance runs in the sixth. David Chabut doubled to center to lead off and then advanced to third on a Gettys error on a bunt by Downing to put runners at first and third with no outs. Gettys got Hendricks to pop to second but Chabut would score on a safety squeeze by Harrison and Downing would score on a RBI single by Brandon Williams for a 4-1 lead.
"They executed the little things. A safety squeeze with two strikes and he gets it down to get a run in. Those are the things you have to do to win games," Kemp said.
Loganville had a chance to blow the game pen in the top of the seventh loading the bases with one out against reliever Mickey Gonzalez. But Gonzalez was able to get a pop up and then a lineout to center to get out of the jam without allowing a run.
Hendricks retired six of the final seven Red Elephants to preserve the complete-game victory.
NOTES: The first inning double by Sims Griffith was the 100th hit of his career at Gainesville. ... It was the eighth straight win for Loganville, which has allowed three runs or fewer in 11 of 16 games.