Baseball State Championship Results from Statesboro

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Vidalia closed out its 2-1 series victory over Thomasville on Wednesday with a 7-0 shutout to capture the program’s first state title since 2003. The Indians lost the coin flip prior to Game 3 and were able to jump out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning to seize early control. Leadoff batter Bryson Whited walked and then Ty Dailey drove him home with a double. Walker Moncus laid down a sacrifice bunt later in the inning and Jordan Walden and Caden Spivey brought runners home to push the lead to 3-0.

“It was huge as the visitors to score three runs in the first inning,” said head coach Brent Korn. “We felt like that was really important, that whichever team could score first was going to have the best chance to win.”

The Indians gave senior pitcher Kevin Cox the nod to start Game 3 and he turned in a phenomenal complete game two-hitter to earn the victory.

“Kevin Cox goes out there and throws a complete game shutout and really got stronger as the game went on,” said Korn. “He had Tommy John surgery last year and had a collision with a fence chasing down a foul ball this year and missed about a month, so for him to be able to come back and do what he did today is just awesome.”

Cox finished the game with nine total strikeouts and struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh inning. He also walked and drove in a run at the plate—making Cox one of the six different Indians to drive in runs in the victory.

Vidalia maintained its 3-0 lead until the top of the fifth inning where it piled on its final four runs. Catcher Hughes Graham loaded the bases with his first sacrifice bunt of the year and then Walker Moncus drove in two runs to extend the lead.

The Indians overcame adversity early this season with a 4-9 start and went 26-2 the rest of the way to close out a 30-11 overall record. Thomasville finishes its season 30-7 and was held scoreless for just the third time this year.

Class 2A: Games 1 & 2

Vidalia and Thomasville split Tuesday’s explosive doubleheader at JI Clements Field in Statesboro—combining for 43 hits and 31 total runs. Vidalia poured on eight runs in the top of the third inning in Game 1 and clinched the 14-4 victory after the fifth inning, but Thomasville jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in Game 2 and kept its title hopes alive with a 10-3 victory. The teams will return to the diamond tomorrow for Game 3 and it will be an opportunity for Vidalia to win its first state title since 2003 and Thomasville to break a championship drought that dates back to 1999.

In Game 1, Jordan Walden walked to open the top of the second inning and Kaleb Bennett drove him home on an RBI single to give Vidalia a 1-0 lead. Walden, Bennett, Kevin Cox, Ty Dailey, Hughes Graham and Walker Moncus all had RBI singles in the top of the third and the Indians closed out a 9-0 lead. Thomasville added two runs in the bottom of the third on an Anderson Everrett RBI single and an unearned score, but Vidalia was able to extend its lead again in the top of the fourth with Bennett and Bailey RBI doubles and a Bryson Whited run off a wild pitch to enjoy a 12-2 margin.

Thomasville’s Jason Lirette added an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth to shrink the defifcit to single digits (12-3), but Cox gave Vidalia a two RBI double in the fifth inning to increase the lead back to 14-3. Jace Lowe batted in a run on an RBI double in the bottom of the fifth and then Gabe Duncan flied out to center field to give Vidalia the 14-4 victory.

Game 2 saw Thomasville’s Gabe Duncan pitched a complete game and earn the 10-3 victory. Duncan got plenty of offensive support as the Bulldogs opened up a 4-0 lead in the first inning and led 6-3 after the third. Thomasville later added two runs in the sixth and seventh inning to close out the 10-3 win. Lowe and Beck Nicholson each drove in three runs, catcher Witt Wetherington finished 2-for-4 at the plate with two RBI and Gus Novak also drove in a run. Vidalia’s Caden Spivey—who went 3-for-3 at the plate, pitched five innings and gave up six earned runs and nine hits. Bryce Morely took the mound for the final two innings and gave up two earned runs.

Class A Public

Metter 8, 3, Charlton County 7, 0

Metter defended its first-ever state title with a 3-0 Game 2 victory over Charlton County in the Class A Public championship on Wednesday after a weather delay split the double-header late last night. Metter head coach Zach Rackett and his team was told Game 2 was going to still be played last night after their comeback 8-7 walkoff victory, but five minutes after getting the green light, the decision was reversed. To the relief of players and fans, there were viral social media posts showing the crowd celebrating the moment they learned that Game 2 had indeed been moved to Wednesday afternoon and the 2021-22 school year would crown its final state championship in the light of day.

Coach Rackett talked about last night’s late start and when the team found out Game 2 would be played today.

“It wasn’t a well-played game,” said Rackett. “I don’t know if it was because it was a big event and being in a state championship, the humidity, being in the rain, the delay, but both sides still competed very hard. Us being able to get that last at bat in the end and just compete to the end was still big. I don’t know if that necessarily carried over into today’s game, but it was huge to get that first one last night.”

Game 2 started at 4 p.m. and the outstanding sophomore pitching duel between Metter’s Rustin Rigdon and Ian Vickers saw a combined three hits for the first five minutes in what ended up being the fastest state championship game played this season.

“It was just two quality outings by two quality sophomore pitchers with a lot of upside,” said Rackett. “Both teams played great defensively and both kids were throwing 85-89 and able to throw two pitches for strikes, and when you can do that in high school baseball, you have a chance to succeed at any level and both were doing it. I didn’t know who was going to be the tough love loser and it’s just unfortunate one of the pitchers had to lose the game.”

Metter was able to get the go-ahead score and break the shutout in the top of the sixth inning and tacked on two insurance runs in the top of the seventh—giving the Tigers confidence to extend their win-streak to 21-straight and close out the title.

“Getting one run felt good there,” said Rackett. “Being the home team gives you confidence when you get the last at bat and knowing we didn’t have that, it was a relief to get that run in the sixth and then those two in the seventh. It gave us a feeling that we could afford one or two mistakes and still win a ball game in a big moment.”

Rustin added an RBI in the top of the seventh and then senior shortstop and Georgia State-signee Kyzer Anthony turned a double-play to complete the two-hit shutout and seal the victory.”

“I felt good about the double play,” said Rackett. “Kyzer played shortstop today when Rustin was pitching and he had a phenomenal series. He played a great third and a great shortstop and he has been playing in the middle of the order for us since he was a freshman. And when that ball went to him, hit pretty hard, and he decided to take it himself, that’s when people started getting out of the dugout, because they felt good about it.”

Game 1: Metter 8, Charlton County 7

The Class A Public state championship double-header faced a two-hour rain delay that pushed Game 2 to Wednesday at 4 pm and Metter triumphed Game 1 following a thrilling 9-8 walkoff victory. Metter’s Kyzer Anthony finished 3-for-3 at the plate, drove in two RBIs and scored the game-winning run when Reese Hadden’s game-winning bases loaded walk drove him home in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Anthony batted in Metter’s first run in the bottom of the first inning and Jude Shaw scored on a wild pitch in the top of the third inning to tie it 1-1. The Tigers increased the lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the fourth with an unearned run and wild pitch. Charlton County rallied to take a 4-3 lead into the sixth inning, but Metter scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to go up 6-4.

Charlton County took its first lead of the game with a three-run top of the seventh inning (7-6) before Metter’s walkoff victory.