Starr’s Mill Baseball wins first state title

The GHSA Baseball State Championships continued Tuesday at Truist Park, home of the Atlanta Braves, as the Starr’s Mill Panthers and Loganville Red Devils faced-off for the Class 5A title.

In the first game of the series after two scoreless innings, the Panthers were the first to put points on the board in the bottom of the third when senior Thad Ector hit a two-out RBI double into left field, scoring sophomore Evan Harrah to give Starr’s Mill the lead. The Loganville bats were struggling early against Panthers’ starting pitcher senior Chay Yeager, who held the Red Devils to just one hit through four innings.

In the top of the fifth, the Red Devils were able to start off with a leadoff single from junior William Cawthon, but the momentum would stop there as the Panthers retired the next three batters.

As the game progressed, both team’s pitching continued to shine and no additional runs were plated as the first game ended in favor of Starr’s Mill. Yeager finished his outing with eight strikeouts while allowing just two hits through seven innings. Loganville pitcher junior Riley Cruce finished with two strikeouts, allowing five hits through six innings.

Starr’s Mill was first to strike again in game two as Ector hit a single on the first pitch of the game, stole second and reached third on a throwing error before scoring off an infield single from junior Josh Tate. The Panthers extended their lead in the third as Yeager hit a double to left-center field and scored off an RBI from senior Eli Jones.

With based loaded in the fourth, Loganville’s Matthew Heard stepped up to the plate. The junior connected on a pitch and beat out the throw to first, allowing Chandler Haulk to score from third. However, heads-up base running by senior Michael Mason allowed the Red Devils to plate another run to tie the game.

The Panthers were quick to regain the lead in the top of the fifth as pinch hitter Alex Ukleja smacked an RBI double to center field to put Starr’s Mill on top again. The lead was extended in the sixth after a wild pitch and fielding error allowed another Panthers’ runner to cross home plate.

Starr’s Mill held Loganville scoreless through the final inning of the game, denying the Red Devils a fourth consecutive state title in Class 5A, securing the Panthers’ first in school history. Starr’s Mill starting pitcher senior Daniel Courtney finished the game with seven strikeouts, allowing just four hits through seven innings.