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Pope "upholds tradition" advancing to quarterfinals, eliminates East Paulding

Pope Greyhounds talk things over during game three against East Paulding

On Thursday, the Pope Greyhounds and East Paulding Raiders faced off in a decisive game three in a best of three series for a chance to advance to the quarterfinals of the Georgia High School Association Class 6A state championship tournament after splitting the first two games on Wednesday.

As the game got underway, the Hounds would find themselves scoring first and early in the bottom of the first inning as a ground ball hit to Raiders' shortstop, Pedro Rodriguez, by Brady Otero, would result in an over throw to first base allowing Pope runners positioned at second and third base to score, giving the Hounds a 2-0 lead.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, with Pope still leading 2-0, the Hounds would pick up two more runs to take a 4-0 lead thanks to heads up base running as a couple more eras on throws by the Raiders would increase the deficit. However in the top of the sixth inning, East Paulding would finally get on the board courtesy of Tyler Williams RBI as the Raiders trailed 4-1.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, with A. Humpries replacing Tyler Williams on the mound for the Raiders, Pope would go down one, two, three as Humpries struck out Otero and Griffin Tamucci and then getting Ben Hill to fly out, setting the Raiders up for one last rally heading into the top of the seventh inning.

The final inning would see Pope's Nick Bobrowski return to the mound in attempt to complete the game he started having struck out four batters through the first six innings, however after Bobrowski would allow a lead off single and then hit Brayden Clarke two batters later, the Hounds would send Matt Levison to the mound with one out and runners at first and second.

Levison would first face Brady Cole and strike him out for the second out of the inning but then give up a single to Sam Peterson to load the bases, giving the Raiders an opportunity to at least to the game, if not take the lead. With Kody Faulkner coming to the plate next, Levison would get Faulkner to fly out to center field as Tanner Morneau would make the catch on the run for the third and final out of the game.

"They wanted to uphold the tradition of things and they went out there and battled," Pope head coach, Chris Turco, said after Thursday's win as the will to win and make another elite eight appearance fueled their efforts to "uphold tradition". And while Turco acknowledge that the Hounds did not have their best performance at the plate on Thursday, "they did enough to score a couple runs," Turco said, also praising the performance of Bobrowshi and Levison.

Now as the Greyhounds turn their attention to the quarter finals, where they will face Thomas County Central, Turco says that it will be important for the Hounds' to "put some good at bats together and playing clean defense," as he expects the series with the Yellow Jackets next week to be a good matchup. The best of three series will begin on Monday.


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