Parkview and Matt Olson are familiar with state championships. They also know a little about seventh-inning heroics.
Olson, a Vanderbilt signee, hit a two-out home run to break a 3-3 tie in the seventh inning Saturday in Parkview’s 6-3 victory over Brookwood. It completed a sweep of the best-of-three Class AAAAA championship series at Parkview’s Hugh Buchanan Field.
A year ago, Olson hit a three-run homer against Hillgrove to break a seventh-inning tie in the clinching game of that championship series.
In the first game Saturday, Olson hit a two-run homer and was the winning pitcher in a 5-2 victory.
‘’I’m proud of my personal achievements, but I’m more proud of back-to-back state championships,’’ said Olson, who finished the season with a .407 average, 11 homers and 51 RBI in Parkview’s 31-6 season. “I like big situations, and I got a couple of good pitches to hit today.’’
Parkview became the first school in 10 years to win consecutive titles in the highest classification. Parkview also did it in 2001 and 2002 when future major leaguer Jeff Francoeur was the star.
Parkview never trailed in either game Saturday. In the opener, Parkview took a 5-0 lead against Brookwood ace Lucas Sims (7-1) and held on behind Olson (12-1),who needed only 80 pitches in the one-hour, 24-minute game. Olson allowed no earned runs and lowered his ERA to 1.64.
It was the first loss for Sims (8-1), a Clemson signee who is rated the top pitching prospect in Georgia. He was tagged for four straight singles in the second as Parkview took a 2-0 lead. Olson’s homer made it 4-0.
In Game 2, Parkview’s A.J. Davis hit his first home run of the season, a two-run shot for a 3-1 lead in the third. But Parkview pulled starter Jesse Foster (11-0) after five, and Brookwood tied the game in the sixth with consecutive doubles by Michael Gouge, Ryan Woodard and Sims (who homered in the second inning) off closer Jack Esmonde (5-1).
Brookwood starter Allen Tokarz (4-6) retired the first two Parkview batters in the seventh before Olson’s homer cleared a batting-cage building in right. It was the first of five straight Parkview hits. It was less potent, but reminiscent, of 2011,when Parkview scored 13 runs in the seventh after trailing 10-8.
‘’These kids, they know when it’s a must to come through,’’ Parkview coach Chan Brown said. “That’s an intangible you can’t teach. It comes from being together 365 days a year. It shows how much they love each other.’’
Parkview’s top hitters Saturday were Olson (4-for-7) and Ryan Blanton (4-for-7). Hunter Thornton, Jarrett Freeland and Esmonde had three hits apiece. Michael Gouge was 5-for-8 for Brookwood.
Olson and Foster – who were 23-1 as Parkview’s top two pitchers – were the four-year players on a senior class that turned heads early on.
Brown started something new when he formed a freshman summer team for them after they’d finished the eighth grade. By the end of the summer, the rising ninth-graders were beating JV and even some varsity squads.
‘’That’s when we found out they were going to be a special group,’’ Brown said. “They set a standard that maybe we’d lost. They brought our program back to where we needed to be.’’
This isn’t the end for Parkview, though. While pitchers Foster (Chattahoochee Valley) and Edmonde (Georgia) and shortstop Edwin Arias (North Georgia), left fielder A.J. Davis (Georgia Gwinnett) and second baseman Jeff Ronporin (Chattahoochee Valley) join Olson (Vandy) as college signees, there is a wealth of underclassmen.
Committed as juniors are center fielder Josh Hart (Georgia Tech) and catcher Jarrett Freeland (Georgia). Sophomore pitcher Mac Marshall also has committed to Georgia. Junior Ryan Blanton has SEC offers.