By Stephen Black
Cartersville traveled to North Hall’s Jody Davis Field and swept the host Trojans 4-2 and 2-1 to win the Class AAA state championship Saturday.
Cartersville’s Tripp Jamieson singled in Evan Cole in the bottom of the seventh break a 1-1 tie and give the Purple Hurricanes a walk-off win to clinch the championship in Game 2.
Game 2 was a pitchers’ duel as North Hall’s Colton Duttweiler and Cartersville’s Garrett Rutledge each pitched into the seventh. The teams combined for four hits.
North Hall opened the scoring in the fourth when Griffin Olson doubled in Andrew Smith. But Cartersville drew even in the bottom of the fifth when Jamieson hit a sacrifice fly, allowing Hayes Linn to score.
In Game 1, the Purple Hurricanes led 3-0 in the third after RBI doubles from Ty Fowler and Beau Benefield, then an RBI single from Connor Justus. Drew Lawson singled in Jamieson in the fifth to give Cartersville a 4-1 lead.
North Hall scored on a sacrifice fly by Andrew Smith in the fourth and a fielder’s choice by Adam Kelly in the fifth. The Trojans stranded 12 runners, including two innings which ended with the bases loaded.
Cartersville senior pitcher Hayes Linn, who will play football at Air Force, earned the win after tossing five innings and giving up seven hits and two earned runs. Justus got the save for Cartersville by pitching the final two innings.
North Hall starter Preston Graham threw a complete game, but was saddled with the loss after allowing four earned runs and 10 hits while striking out seven.
Cartersville won its sixth state championship in baseball, all since 2001. North Hall, meanwhile, was playing in its first state finals appearance in school history.
The first pitch of Game 1 was thrown out by the stadium’s namesake, a Gainesville native who played major league baseball from 1981-90, including 1988-90 with the Braves.