It was a bitter pill for Region 5AAAAA champion Allatoona (25-4), which had only lost once in the state of Georgia before running into Creekview (18-11), the No. 4 seed from its region.
Buccaneers coach Keith Hansen said it’s disappointing any time his team loses, but if his team had to fall, Creekview was a worthy opponent to fall to.
“You look back and you can see that (Creekview was) two hours away from being the Region 7AAAAA champs,” Hansen said. “I won’t say that it isn’t a disappointing end, but I thought we battled. (Creekview) never gave up, even when they were down (Friday) night. You can’t be too upset about losing to them.”
Creekview will travel to Loganville, which swept through Mays, for the second round, beginning with a doubleheader Wednesday.
The teams split the opening doubleheader Friday night to force the third game. Following a coin flip, it was decided that Creekview would be the designated home team, though the game was still played at Allatoona.
The Buccaneers began the day with three straight hits off Creekview starter Avery Smith. Justin Evans, who singled on the first pitch of the game, came in to score on a double by Peter Derkay. But after that hit, Smith shut down the Buccaneers’ bats with a fly out and two strikeouts.
“We had a chance in the first inning to bust it wide-open,” Hansen said. “We had three straight hits, got one run and had guys on second and third with no one out and we didn’t get another guy in. That just sort of flattened us a little bit.”
Creekview responded with some offense of its own in the bottom of the inning.
The Grizzlies used a double by Austin Smith to score two runs before the first out. With the bases loaded, Allatoona starter Grayson Harbin worked out of the inning by striking out Nick Williams and inducing a double-play grounder.
Allatoona got the run back in the top of the third when Evans, who doubled to lead off, scored on a sacrifice by Kyle Jacobson. The score was tied 2-all, and the Buccaneers were able to prove they could hit off Avery Smith.
But all that changed in the bottom of the third as Austin Smith and Kyle Wilkie hit back-to-back doubles. Nick Williams then singled and moved to second as the Allatoona players wanted to prevent Wilkie from scoring from third. Ben Wynett, the fifth batter of the frame, proved to be the last to face Harbin after a hard single to center scored Wilkie and Williams to make it 5-2.
Jordan Wilmert entered in relief for Allatoona and struck out the first batter he faced before a walk and a single loaded the bases. Wilmert then walked in a run before finally getting Avery Smith to hit a fly ball for the final out.
Smith made the first and the final outs of the inning, but in between, the Grizzlies managed four runs on five hits.
Creekview added a bit of insurance in the bottom of the fifth. A ground-rule double by Jack Mayo and triple by Chandler Wold pushed one run across the plate. Wold then scored on a sacrifice fly by Smith.
The story was similar in the bottom of the sixth.
Williams reached first on a dropped infield fly, and with two outs, Max Holton doubled to give the Grizzlies two runners in scoring position. Mayo followed with another double to plate Williams and Holton for the 10-2 lead.
Creekview coach Mike Nayman gave credit to Avery Smith for controlling most of the game. Smith had to be pulled from Friday’s opening game because of dehydration, and Nayman was concerned about how he would perform in the heat Saturday.
“(Allatoona) came out with hits on the first three pitches, and I started thinking this could be a long night at the office,” Nayman said. “Avery really settled down, to the point where he had command of the game. He had control of his pitches the whole game. After we got a couple of runs, I felt pretty good. He just ran out of gas at the end.”
Allatoona scored its other two runs in the top of the seventh.
With Smith showing fatigue on the mound, Wilmer was hit by a pitch and Brett Benton drew a walk. A bunt by Evans loaded the bases before Case Carmichael entered the game for Smith.
Cooper Murphy and Derkay drove in runs with fielder’s choices before Drew Swanson was retired for the final out.
Wold led Creekview, going 3-for-4 with a triple, a walk, two runs scored and an RBI. Austin Smith was 2-for-4 with two doubles, two runs scored and two RBIs. Mayo was 2-for-3 with two doubles, a walk and two RBIs.