DAHLONEGA – Cherokee Bluff clinched its first-ever state playoff berth with a 7-6 win over Lumpkin County Wednesday on the road.
Coupled with the Dawson County loss to Greater Atlanta on Wednesday, the Bears (15-12, 9-8 Region 7-3A) win over the Indians (13-14, 6-11 Region 7-3A) propelled the first-year program to the Class 3A state playoffs.
The Bears used four pitchers to dash the Indians in the Region 7-3A battle. Chandler Shope started and allowed three runs on four hits in 2 1/3 innings. Dylan Kautz picked up the win, going 2 2/3 innings, allowing three hits, no runs and three strikeouts. James Mitchell and Carsen Plumadore came in to finish out the game.
Tino Mukuno put the Bears on the board in the first inning off a Lumpkin error. Mitchell singled the next at-bat to score Parker Shope and a batter later, Chandler Shope walked scoring Caleb Piland.
Mitchell ended the night 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
Lumpkin, however, scored the next three runs, two in the second and one in the third to tie the game.
Conner Pierce's single scored Dalton Caldwell and Matthew Grizzle scored on the throw home. In the third, Grizzle singled to score Nic Turner tying the game, 3-3.
The Bears grabbed the lead back in the fifth inning off a Parker Shope ground out to first. Mukuno scored to give the Bears the lead, 4-3.
Bluff added three runs in the seventh to go up 7-3, but the Indians gave the Bears all they had in the bottom of the inning.
Lumpkin managed to score three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and had the bases loaded with two outs. But, Plumadore pitched his way out of the jam to seal the win for the Bears.
GREATER ATLANTA 9,
DAWSON COUNTY 0
Bryceton Payne pitched a no-hitter to drop the Tigers, 9-0, Wednesday afternoon in Norcross.
The Spartans quickly lit the board up in the first inning when Harrison Stogner tripped, scoring three runs. The first inning set the pace for the Spartan offense. The Spartans scattered five runs over the next four innings.
Payne earned the win on the hill, allowing no hits or runs in the complete-game performances. He struck out eight Tigers.
A 12-run third inning and a no-hit pitching performance from Dylan Lesko led the Wolves to the blow-out win over Johnson Wednesday in Oakwood.
Lesko allowed no runs, no hits and struck out six in the three-inning win.
Austin Turner and Brandon Joliff drove in three runs, Evan Place, Max Ramirez and Bryce Morin had two RBIs and Kaleb Elder, Eli Ledford and Riley Stanford had one RBI each.
The Wolves scored two runs in the first, three in the second and 12 in the third.
WEST HALL 2
The Danes (11-15, 4-6) stayed in the hunt for the fourth playoff spot out of Region 7-4A with a win over West Hall Wednesday in Oakwood.
Logan DeLong drove in four runs on three hits to lead the Spartans. He advanced runs on a single in the second, double in the sixth and a single in the seventh innings.
He finished the day 3-for-4 at the plate and scored twice.
Dalton Hansard grabbed the win on the mound for the Danes. He allowed three hits and two runs over seven innings, striking out six.
West Hall scored one of its two runs in the bottom of the first inning off a G Allison single to centerfield that scored K Murphy. The second run came off a double from Roy that scored B Sims.
The Dans are percentage points behind Chestatee.
The War Eagles, who are currently fourth, dropped a close one to Flowery Branch Wednesday.
West Hall will host Denmark Friday for game three of the series. Game time is 5:55 p.m.
The Red Elephants took the lead in the first inning only to lose it in the second inning and never recover in their second-straight loss to the Bulldoggs Wednesday in Winder.
Gainesville scored two runs in the top of the first and one in the seventh inning.
Winder-Barrow scored two in the first, one in the second and third innings and two in the fourth.
Cale Conley drove in two runs on a 1-for-3 performance at the plate. Dylan Clark had one RBI.
The two will play game three in Gainesville Friday. First pitch is 5:55 p.m.