By Stan Awtrey
For the AJC
David Mayo declared the Class AAAA championship baseball game was over before it even started. The Loganville shortstop said a pregame meeting left his team with no option other than victory.
The junior then backed it up on the field, leading the Red Devils to a 14-4 six-inning win over Greenbrier in the deciding game in the best-of-three series. It was Loganville’s first championship since 2008.
“We knew it as soon as we stepped on the field,” said Mayo, a transfer from Alvovy High, whose three-run homer in the second inning gave the Devils a 7-0 lead they never relinquished. He was 4-for-9 in the series with two homers and scored four runs.
Loganville (31-9) pounded Greenbrier starter Christian Hill and three other pitchers for 12 hits, with three of them leaving the yard. Garrett Ford and Brandon Pergantis also hit homers. The long homer struck by Pergantis down the left-field line drove home the final two runs to give Loganville a 10-run lead and ending the game via the mercy rule.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Pergantis said. “I’m thankful for my team and I’m thankful to God. Without both of them this wouldn’t have been possible.”
It was the fourth time in five playoff series that Loganville has required a third game to determine the result. Their success under pressure was critical to taking the proper approach to the game.
“Our guys know how to win Game 3,” said Loganville coach Jeff Segars. “We think that once we get people to Game 3, we’re going to win because our pitching is strong.”
Ford, normally Loganville’s No. 1 starter, had thrown too many pitches in the elimination game of the previous series and was held out of Saturday’s double-header. The southpaw didn’t have his best stuff on Monday, but was able to pitch around some fielding mistakes and limit the powerful Greenbrier bats to only four runs.
Greenbrier (31-5) missed a chance to win its first state championship since 2007. After falling behind early, the Wolfpack drew to within 7-4 on a long two-run homer by Hunter Boose, but Ford settled down and allowed only two more hits, with no runners reaching scoring position.
Segars happily held the championship trophy and posed for photos. He said he would only have a few hours to celebrate the victory; his baseball camps start bright and early in the morning.