North Gwinnett Sweeps Campbell, Moves On To GHSA 7A Round of Eight
As the second round of the Georgia High School Association baseball state championship tournaments resumed, the No. 4 North Gwinnett Bulldogs were on the road at No. 3 Campbell Spartans for a best of three series and a chance to move on to the round of eight of the tournament. The Bulldogs, one of only two No. 4 seeds in 7A to advance out of the first round, appear to have things coming together for them at the right time of the season.
In the opening round of the tournament, North Gwinnett opened their three game series with Denmark with an 11-6 game one win, then later dropping game two and then winning the rubber match to move on. Similar to that series, on Tuesday, the Bulldogs opened up with a 9-3 win over the Spartans to take the 1-0 series lead, but the difference this time around would be North Gwinnett taking game two as well by a final of 4-1 to win the series 2-0.
Offensively, things got going for the Bulldogs at the plate relatively early after a two run homerun by Mack Cromer that would give North Gwinnett a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. The Bulldogs would tack on two more runs in the bottom of the third inning to take a 4-0 lead, but then the Spartans would make a pitching change and go with Ethen Fuller, who would manage to quite the North Gwinnett bats as he would come in to strike out seven batters through three innings.
Yet, the damage appeared to have already been done as North Gwinnett pitcher, Gavin Zoeller, would have a solid day on the mound himself for the Bulldogs, going the distance, striking out seven and only giving up one run. “I don’t want to say I didn’t expect him to go complete game,” North Gwinnett head coach Ryan Moity said of Zoeller’s performance on the mound in game two, adding that they were prepared to rotate guys if needed but Zoeller being “really efficient” allowed the Bulldogs to keep him in on the mound.
“For him to keep his pitch count low and be able to that for us, you never know what could happen late in the game and we were trying to roll with him,” Moity said noting that there hopes were to keep their other arms saved in case needed for a game three. “Again, a complete game, I didn’t expect it, but I’ll take it every time,” Moity added. Now as the Bulldogs prepare for the round of eight, Moity says “strikeouts” will be something they’ll want to work on offensively. “We haven’t struck out like that in a long time,” Moity stated. Adding that he believed the excitement of the playoff atmosphere was probably a major contributor.
“We’ll work on that all week and as long as we keep playing for each other and competing, we give ourselves a chance,” Moity said of their game planning for their next series.