Parkview crushes Hillgrove with 13-run seventh

The Jeff Francouer era might have been the pinnacle of Parkview baseball, but it was not the end for one of Georgia’s premier sports programs.

Winning its first state title since Francoeur’s memorable 2001 and 2002 teams, and its fourth overall, Parkview delivered an epic 13-run seventh inning Monday night and defeated Hillgrove 21-10 in Game 3 of the Class AAAAA championship series at Parkview’s Hugh Buchanan Field.

Matt  Olson, a junior first baseman, hit a three-run homer -- his 17th home run of the season -- deep over the right-field wall for a 13-10 lead in the seventh inning, which Parkview entered trailing 10-8.

Jeff Ronpirin following with a homer for a 14-10 lead. Rob Youngblood had two doubles in the inning and No. 9 hitter Travis Navaine (7-for-13 in the series) had two hits and three RBIs. Edwin Arias (4-for-5) finished the scoring with a three-run homer, his second homer of the game and third of the series.

Jarrett Freeman (4-for-4) started it with a single, and 13 of Parkview’s first 14 batters reached base, 11 on hits. The only out was a sacrifice fly.

“It just felt amazing,’’ Freeman said of the big inning. “We’d come back from it a lot. We did it against Colquitt [County] trailing 6-2 in an elimination game in the semifinals]. It’s our motto: One team, one dream. We did it as a team.’’

The 21-10 score marked the first time a Georgia championship series game had 30 runs or more since 2005, when Jason Heyward’s Henry County team beat Buster Posey and Lee County 16-14 in Game 3 of a AAAA final.

Hillgrove, which used six pitchers, had made an impressive comeback of its own, coming from 8-4 down to lead 10-8 with a six-run third. Tyler Graham hit a two-run homer in the inning. Hillgrove’s Justin Motley and Tyler Mauzy had three hits apiece in the game.

But Jack Esmonde (4-1), Parkview’s third pitcher and normally its closer, shut out Hillgrove over the final four innings and got the win.

‘’In a Game 3, whoever gets outs is going to win, and we weren’t able to get 21 outs in time,’’ said Hillgrove coach David Richardson, whose team was playing in its first baseball final in its five-year history. “The bottom line is you have to tip your cap to Parkview. Thirteen runs in the seventh is unheard of.’’