Parkview’s bid for back-to-back state championships in baseball is alive. Last year’s runner-up, Hillgrove, is out of the way.
Parkview (27-6) took a four-run lead after one inning, got two hits apiece from Edwin Arias, Josh Hart and Matt Olson and beat Hillgrove 8-5 in the deciding third game of a quarterfinal series on the road Wednesday. It was a rematch of the 2011 championship series.
Parkview has been beaten only six times, and four of those have been charged to No. 3 starter Mac Marshall, who got the call in the biggest game of his team’s season. But the sophomore lefthander pitched 4 1/3 strong innings, hitting 90 mph or better a half-dozen times. Though committed to Georgia, Marshall entered 1-4 with a 5.53 ERA.
“Mac has struggled at times, but he grew up today,’’ Parkview coach Chan Brown said. “He came up huge. He’s got a special left arm on him. He just has to stay inside himself.’’
Marshall’s losses have come against three other quarterfinal teams – Cartersville, Columbus and Brookwood. The fourth was against Harvard Westlake of California, a nationally ranked program. He suffered a back injury in that March game and missed a month. Until Wednesday, he had pitched only four innings since the injury, but he sounded confident.
‘’I was just trying to throw strikes,’’ Marshall said. “I knew my team had my back. I knew they’d come through.’’
Jack Esmonde relieved in the fifth and allowed only one earned run over the final 2 2/3 innings. He struck out four.
Parkview scored five runs in the first after Arias and Hart opened with singles. Hart was 5-for-10 in the series. Hillgrove starter Sean O’Leary walked two and hit a batter and failed to get out of the inning. Vanderbilt-signee Matt Olson (3-for-9 in the series) had a two-run double in the second for a 7-1 lead.
Hillgrove (24-9) scored four runs in the fifth with Tyler Graham and Brian Johnson hitting key doubles, but the Hawks got no closer than 7-5. Hillgrove’s Tyler Mauzy was 2-for-4 for the game and 6-for-10 in the series.
Next for Parkview is a semifinal series at home against another Gwinnett County school, Mill Creek, beginning Monday.