The GHSA Class A private school baseball tournament is a week away, and Tattnall Square appears primed for it.
The Trojans will make their debut in the GHSA playoffs as the Region 7-A champion after blanking rival Mount de Sales 10-0 in six innings Thursday.
Tattnall, which closed its GISA era in 2014 with a third straight Class AAA title, struck for five runs in the first inning and got one-hit pitching from ace Cory Bartholomew to top the Cavaliers for the third time this season.
“I felt like (Thursday) we played a pretty darned good game that’ll help get us ready (for playoffs),” said Tattnall head coach Joey Hiller, whose team improved to 21-1.
The Trojans have been ranked No. 1 in the state’s power rankings for more than a month, and if that holds, they would be home for the duration of the 16-team postseason.
“We feel good about where we are,” said Bartholomew, who struck out nine and retired the first 12 hitters he faced. “We’re ready to play.”
The rankings will be finalized during the weekend with the tournament set to begin May 1.
Mount de Sales (16-6) was ranked 14th before Wednesday’s region semifinal win at Lincoln County and is approaching the playoffs as if it will be included.
“We’re hoping for the best and going to prepare like we’re getting in,” Cavaliers head coach Bubba Pool said. “That’s all we can do now.”
Bartholomew and the Trojans took the drama out of this championship early. The junior right-hander gave a preview of his evening by striking out the side in the top of the first before he and his teammates countered with more than enough runs in their half for the win.
“We got some runs early, and that made it more comfortable for me,” said Bartholomew, who went to a full count on only four hitters. “That’s been happening a lot. Everything was working for me, and the defense was good.”
Ian Herndon had two hits, including a double, and drove in three runs to lead Tattnall at the plate. Jonathan Ward also had two hits and an RBI while Logan Simmons drove in runs with a sacrifice fly and a triple, and Barthlomew knocked in a pair.
“We were on attack on offense,” said Hiller, whose players also stole six bases. “We had really good at-bats even when we made outs. We’re going to be aggressive out there. We have some guys who can run, so we’re going to make (opponents) prove they can stop us.”
The Trojans gave Bartholomew more than enough offense in the first when they sent eight hitters to the plate against loser Adam Leverett, who pitched into the fifth. Tattnall used three hits, a pair of walks, a throwing error, a wild pitch and a hit batter to seal the issue early.
“We knew we’d have to play really well to beat them,” Pool said. “Cory is a great pitcher who’s always in control on the mound. That first inning got us down a little bit. It’s hard to come back against a team like they have.”
Tattnall added a run in the third on a walk, stolen base, ground out and Simmons’ sacrifice fly. The Trojans scored three more in the fifth as Simmons, Herndon and Ward knocked in a run each before Bartholomew finished it off in the sixth with his ground out that scored Cole Gaylord from third base.
Bartholomew allowed his first base runner when Jack Lipson worked him for a walk on a 3-2 count leading off the fifth. Lipson was quickly erased on a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Harrison Beers before Addison Barth delivered the Cavaliers’ lone hit with a solid single to left.
After hitting Zack Tong, Bartholomew preserved the shutout by getting Bailey Michael on a grounder to first.
“He’s locked in and doing all the right things,” Hiller said of Bartholomew.