By Stan Awtrey
For the AJC
The fact that their Class AAAA baseball series will spill over onto Memorial Day didn’t seem to bother either of the two finalists.
“Hey, if they scheduled it on the moon we’d find a way to get there,” said Greenbrier coach Chris Wilkins.
Greenbrier and host Loganville split a double-header on Saturday to force the deciding game in the best-of-three championship series, which will be played Monday at 2 p.m. at Loganville’s Red Devil Field.
Loganville (27-10) won the first game 4-2 and Greenbrier (31-4) bounced back for a 12-3 victory in the nightcap.
The opener was decided when Loganville shortstop David Mayo hit an 0-2 pitch for a three-run homer to help the Red Devils overcome a 2-1 deficit. It was sweet payback for Mayo, whose bad throw on a rundown the previous inning had allowed Greenbrier to score the go-ahead run.
Loganville’s starting pitcher, left-hander Christian Miller, kept Greenbrier off-balance with his change-up. Miller pitched five innings of one-hit ball before tiring in the 90-degree heat and giving way to Brandon Pergantis, who threw the final two innings without allowing a hit.
The hero of the second game was Greenbrier starter Austin Robinson, who was able to throw strikes and keep the ball in play. He allowed seven hits – two of them home runs by Clint Frazier – and struck out six in going the distance.
Robinson’s effectiveness enabled the Wolfpack batters to tee off on a series of four Loganville pitchers for four home runs and three doubles. Greenbrier scored four times in the second inning and never let the Devils off the canvas.
“I was just trying to give my team a chance,” Robinson said. “I knew if I pitched a good game and they got some hits, we’d win. It was a big relief getting those early runs.”
Two of the homers came from Jordan Hunt, the Georgia Tech signee who was the losing pitcher in the first game. Hunter Boose and Knox Marchman also homered for Greenbrier.
A game-three showdown isn’t anything new for either team. Loganville has had four of its playoff series go the distance, while Greenbrier need three games to win its semifinal match.
“Our guys are used to coming out and competing for seven innings and that’s what we’re going to do on Monday,” said Loganville coach Jeff Segars.
Wilkins said, “It’s going to be a dogfight. Both teams are going to fight and scratch and do everything they can to win.”
Greenbrier’s last state championship came in 2007, Loganville’s in 2008.