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In today's SHSSN, you can find Dan Mathews' recap of Game 3 of the Class AAAAA baseball finals as well as Part I of Craig Sager II's review of this year's Director's Cup winners. 

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Baseball State Champs
AAAAA Finals Recap
Director's Cup winners
Score Poll
Top Stories
How many first-time baseball state champs were there this season? 

Today's answer can  
be found in the newsletter!
Tuesday's Answer: 
Houston County trailed 6-0 in Game 2 of the finals series before coming back to win. 




Lambert - first ever

(2-1 over Milton)



Houston Co. - first ever

(2-1 over Whitewater)


Class AAAA

Carrollton - Second (1962)

(2-1 over Crisp Co.)


Class AAA

Blessed Trinity - Second (2006)

(2-0 over Cartersville)


Class AA

Benedictine - Second (1962)

(2-1 over GAC)



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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

By Dan Mathews
Bears take epic finals series in Game 3


It took three games, but the Bears of Houston County won their very first baseball state title in program history today at Whitewater. The Bears took the final game of the series 8-6 to grab Class AAAAA baseball's top prize over Whitewater on the Wildcats' home field.


This three-game series had pretty much everything that makes baseball the unique sport that it is. In Game 1 of the series, Whitewater came back from a 5-1 deficit with seven total runs in the sixth and seventh innings. This included a walk-off three-run homer by Wildcats first baseman Taylor Turner that squeezed just inside the left field foul pole at Wildcats Field. It brought controversy with the ending to this game, with all four GHSA umpires meeting to determine if the ball did indeed stay fair. The question was brought up when Houston County left fielder Josh Profit came running into the infield emphatically indicating that the ball went foul.


That being the case, Houston County coach Jason Brett had to rally his guys

Photo courtesy Houston Co. HS

and get them ready for a game just about 30 minutes later.


"I challenged them after that game by saying 'don't let it end like that,'" Brett said. "We've got to flush that game and move to the next. It's not who wins the first one, it's who wins two games in the series."


Luckily for Brett, his guys would do exactly that. It wasn't easy in the second game, with Whitewater using early momentum to put up a 6-0 lead on Houston County after two whole innings. It was in the bottom of the third when Houston County would wake up with five runs in that frame. That scoring barrage was led in large part by a three-run homer by Bears right fielder Andy Moore. Then in the fourth, Georgia Tech-signee and third baseman Blake Jackson added his 10th homer of the season on a towering solo shot to straight away center field to tie the score 6-6.


The unsung hero for Houston County in this game was sophomore left hander Tanner Hall, who picked up the win in seven and two-thirds innings of relief. Hall came in for Game 2 starter Hunt Smith.


Hall and the Bears entered the bottom of the ninth down 7-6 after Whitewater shortstop Caleb Norton reached on a one-out triple and then came home on a throwing error by Moore.


The Bears loaded the bases in the ninth and Hall drove in the tying run with a walk. Shortstop/Georgia State signee Justin Jones drove in the winning run with a walk-off single to win Game 2 8-7.


Game 3 did not start any easier for Houston County, with Whitewater right fielder Nicholas Fuerstenau sending a 1-0 pitch from Hunter Phillips over the left field wall for an early 3-0 lead.


Houston County put up its first run of the game with a Moore RBI single in the second. However, Wildcats starter Jordan Holmes left the bases loaded with a strikeout and Justin Jones.


Whitewater added another run in the third to make it 4-1 and this lead would hold until the fourth when the Bears would wake up. Houston County would add six runs in that frame, anchored by a grand slam off the bat of Hunt Smith, a ball he knew was gone right off the bat.


"I've squared a couple up, but not like that," Smith said. "(At least) not in a moment like that."


Game 2 hero Justin Jones was the pitcher of record when he gave up the three-run homer in Game 1 and wanted to make up for it in Game 3, when Brett went to him yet again in relief. In the seventh he had to face Taylor Turner again and this time got a better result in the top of the seventh.

"I know I didn't want to throw the same pitch I did that time," Jones said. "I was just trying to throw strikes and throw my pitch low and away. He hit it into a double play and got it. I just trusted my defense."


Houston County claimed a 8-6 win and proved that eight runs was the magic number in this series. The winner scored eight runs in all three games.


By Craig Sager II
Pope tops McIntosh for first Director's Cup


Walton and Brookwood have combined for 10 GADA Director's Cups and in

Photo by Sonny Kennedy

the state's highest classification and Walton edged the Broncos 1228.5-1048.0 for the 2014 cup, the school's seventh. The Raiders edged the Broncos last year 1110.5 to 1108.0 (just 2.5 points). A top eight finish in state for a sport awards points and there are 18 different sports that dish out points with state championships rewarding schools with the full 100 points. Walton won state titles in boys swimming and girls volleyball and tennis. The Raiders lacrosse teams earned 173 total points as the boys reached the semis and the girls fell in the championship.   


In Class AAAAA, Pope won its first-ever Director's Cup with a 1060 advantage over runner-up McIntosh (1012) and third-place Starr's Mill (1009). The Greyhounds earned 100 points in wrestling and took 90 points in boys tennis and girls track and field. Cambridge placed 10th with 700.5 total points in just its second year since opening as a school. The Bears claimed state titles for the first time this season and grabbed 100 points in wrestling and girls golf.    


Marist has won the Director's Cup every year since its inception in 1999-00 and brought another cup to its Atlanta campus with its 1416 total points this year. Carrollton finished a distant second-place with 1099. Marist evenly split eight state titles and two runner-up finishes between the boys and girls, including sweeps in track and field, tennis and cross country.      


St. Pius X saw its three-year Director's Cup streak end in 2012 by Woodward Academy, but the Golden Lions reclaimed the cup last year and added another top finish this year to give the school a fifth cup in six years. St. Pius X edged second-place Buford 1441-1284.5, which was the Wolves best finish in school history. The St. Pius boys claimed state titles in cross country, swimming, tennis, track and field and soccer. The girls took state in basketball, volleyball and soccer and added runner-up finishes in cross country, track and field and tennis.   





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