Chapel Hill Secures No. 3 Seed In State Championship Tourney With Sweep Of Midtown
On Wednesday, the Chapel Hill Panthers baseball team hosted the Midtown Knights in a best of three series to determine the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds out of Class 5A Region 6 for the Georgia High School Association state championship tournament. With their backs against the wall in game one of the series, the Panthers found themselves trailing 3-1 late in the game, but would rally back and the game would be tied heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, when Chapel Hills’ Jabari Johnson connects for the game winning three run double as the Panther would go on to win 7-4.
In game two, the Knights’ bats would heat up immediately as they would score three runs in the top of the first inning, taking a 3-0 lead. In the bottom half of the inning, unlike game one, the Panthers would respond right away. After picking up a run on an era by the Knights, Chapel Hill would score two more runs thanks to a couple of RBI singles by Will Barbery and Johnson, that would allow the Panthers to tie the game at 3-3. Chapel Hill would later pick up three runs in the next inning to take a 6-3 lead.
The Knights would give their best efforts at the plate over the next couple of innings to keep themselves in contention of picking up the win and forcing a decisive game three, picking up a run in the top of the third to make a 6-4 Chapel Hill lead, however, the Panthers would add two more runs of their own in the bottom half to make it an 8-4 lead. In the top of the fourth, Midtown would once again cut the Chapel Hill lead, as a sacrifice fly ball would make it 8-5 Chapel Hill, but the Panthers would explode for six more runs, including a two run homerun by Ryan Wynn and a solo homerun by Trace Alexander, his second long ball of the day.
The offensive explosion would propel the Panthers to a 14-6 win in game two, allowing them to complete the series sweep and clinch the No. 3 seed out of the region heading into the state championship tournament. “Our guys just don’t quit,” Chapel Hill head coach, TJ Watson said following Wednesday’s win as he praised his players and their performances in both games. “Credit to my guys that hit bombs,” Watson said of seniorsAlexander and Wynn, “the leadership on this team and just the ability to not quit, is just a testament to the great young men that we have,” Watson added.
Now as the Panthers await to see who they will face in the opening round of the GHSA 5A state championship tournament, Watson says it’s all about getting “back to the basics” as they begin to prepare for postseason play. “We’re going to start working a lot more of our drill work, focus on base running and putting the ball in play,” Watson said, adding those were just some of the elements that are important to “winning baseball games”. For Midtown, the lose means they will take the No. 4 seed out of the region.