Tattnall Square wasted little time showing it was deserving of the overall top seed in the GHSA Class A private school baseball playoffs Friday with a pair of wins over Athens Academy.
Being content on merely a first-round win, however, is out of the equation for the Trojans. They’ll welcome another challenge Wednesday in the quarterfinals as Savannah Christian comes to town. The best-of-three series is scheduled for a 3 p.m. start with a second game to follow.
The third game, if needed, will be at 4 p.m. on Thursday. The series comes five days after the opening-round win for Tattnall, a shorter turnaround time that could be a benefit for the Trojans.
“We did a really good job; it’s not real tough to get them motivated to work hard and take each round seriously, because there is so little time between rounds,” Tattnall Square head coach Joey Hiller said of the team’s debut in the GHSA playoffs. “We’ll have had two practice days before we play again. It’s not like we have five or six days between rounds to goof off or anything. It’s serious business.”
The Trojans (23-1) host the Raiders (18-10) after being spearheaded in the opening round by their pitching. In the opening-round sweep, the Trojans gave up a combined three runs. Oh, and there was also a perfect game by Parker Faircloth to clinch the series.
Tattnall also has a rested pitching staff in its corner. While Savannah Christian had to use a good part of its pitching to advance, the Trojans did not.
A mercy-rule win allowed Cory Bartholomew to need only five innings for a complete game, and Faircloth’s perfect game enabled him to face the minimum number of batters.
“Each series is different; we didn’t have to use a lot of our pitching in the first round,” Hiller said. “We got Cory out of there after five innings, and he hadn’t thrown that many pitches, and Parker Faircloth threw seven innings but only threw 62 pitches.
“We feel really good about our pitching going into the next round, but each round is different. Our pitchers may throw over 100 pitches this round, and it may be, ‘Ok, what are we going to do in the next round.’ We’ll have to see, but we feel good about where we are.”
That momentum, however, will be tested by Savannah Christian. Savannah Christian is averaging seven runs per game to nine for Tattnall Square. The Raiders have won seven of their past 10 games, and during that span, the Raiders are 7-0 when they score 10 runs or more.
“We know that they are a good baseball team,” Hiller said. “I’ve talked to a couple of people who have said that they are very competitive. They are a lot like us and well-coached. It’s going to be good baseball; it’ll be top-level baseball the whole way through this thing.”
The Raiders beat Mount Paran 10-0 and 10-9 to advance, losing the middle game of the series 2-0. The series win was preceded by late-season victories over Stratford and Charlton County, which is still alive in the Class A public school playoffs. The Raiders’ late-season losses have come to quality teams, as well. In addition to the loss to Mount Paran, Savannah Christian also fell to a pair of postseason teams in Calvary Day and Emanuel County Institute.
“We’ll pitch the way we pitch and try to play defense the right way and execute our game plan,” Hiller said. “We’ll never face anyone that changes how we play baseball. At the end of the day, baseball is baseball. We have a way that we play it, and we want to go out there and play our game to the best of our ability.”
Wednesday’s Middle Georgia GHSA baseball playoff matchups
Savannah Christian at Tattnall Square
Jones County at Forsyth-Central
Northwest Whitfield at Veterans
Perry at Buford
Hawkinsville at Schley County
Dublin at Heard County
Claxton at Treutlen
Jeff Davis at Darlington
Upson-Lee at North Hall
Union County at Fitzgerald