Milton Baseball Updates
Posted: 6:57 pm Monday, May 26th, 2014 (AJC.com)
By Chip Saye
By Chip Saye
By Todd Holcomb
Posted: 11:57 am Friday, May 23rd, 2014v
Milton was supposed to contend for a national title in baseball this season, but injuries and early losses against an unforgiving schedule ruined those ideas.
Instead, it is Lambert that is ranked No. 1 nationally by USA Today. But the Longhorns (34-1) must get by defending champion and surging Milton in the Class AAAAAA finals, which starts with a double-header on Saturday at Milton.
The best-of-three series is one of five that will decide champions in classes AAAAA through AA. Winners were crowned earlier this week in Class A public (Charlton County) and private (King’s Ridge).
Milton, which began the year ranked in the top five of three national polls, is only 27-7, but a 15-game winning streak and home-field advantage should make this series no less than a toss-up.
There’s even a chance that Milton’s potential first-round draft pick, Dylan Cease, could pitch. He’s been out with an elbow injury since early March and resumed playing as a designated hitter.
‘’There’s a very, very, very small chance he could pitch this weekend,’’ said Milton coach Joey Ray. “Very small. Maybe one inning.’’
Milton’s pitching is plenty tough already with Alex Schnell (9-2, 0.96) and Matt Geiger (7-0, 2.07) as their main starters. Schnell has signed with Clemson. Milton has seven hitters with averages of better than .325 in the lineup. The leader is shortstop Ryan Gridley (.460, 52 runs), who has signed with Mississippi State.
‘’Milton is solid one through nine and they know how to win,’’ Lambert coach Jamie Corr said. “Their pitching staff is the deepest in the state. They are very experienced.’’
Lambert, a 5-year-old Forsyth County school playing in its first state-championship series, is remarkable for having only one loss against a schedule with four potential state champions, including Georgia finalists Blessed Trinity and Houston County.
‘’We have a solid team and have played fundamentally sound all year,’’ Corr said. “Our record is the result of playing unselfishly as a team as well as benefitting from a lot of luck and fortunate bounces.’’
Lambert is hitting .378 as a team with 31 home runs. Sophomore right fielder Seth Beer is having a player-of-the year season, batting .624 (63-for-101) with 10 home runs. Beer is 7-0 as a pitcher with an 0.58 ERA in a rotation led by J.D. Dutka (10-1, 2.05) and Dylan Biumi (10-0, 1.01 ERA). Other top hitters have been Ian Kimbrell (.460) and Kyle McCann (.422).
‘’What makes them good and a little scary is they have tremendous talent and a great coach,’’ Ray said. “But it’s nothing we haven’t seen. We’ve played some of the best teams in the country the past few years. As long as we show up worrying about ourselves, we have a chance.’’
Three other championships series will begin Saturday. The AAAA series will begin Monday and continue Tuesday if necessary.
Most series have teams without much state-title hardware.
In AAAAA, Houston County or Whitewater will become a first-time state champion. The AAAA finalists, Carrollton and Crisp County, last won state titles in the 1960s. In AA, Greater Atlanta Christian’s last title was 1982. Benedictine’s came in 1961.
The most experienced winner is AAA finalist Cartersville, going for its seventh state title since 2001 against Blessed Trinity, which last won in 2006.
Saturday (Game 3 on Monday if necessary)
AAAAAA – Lambert at Milton, 4:30 p.m.
AAAA – Crisp County at Carrollton, 3 p.m.
AAA – Blessed Trinity at Cartersville, 3 p.m.
AA – GACS at Benedictine, 1:30 p.m.
Monday (Game 3 on Tuesday if necessary)
MILTON HIGH SCHOOL, MILTON, GA
Monday, May 19, 2014
Milton (27-7) sweeps Johns Creek (20-14) by scores of 4-1 in Game #1 and 3-0 in Game #2. In the doubleheader, Milton pitchers Matt Geiger (Game 1) and Alex Schnell (Game 2) held Johns Creek to 1 unearned run on 8 hits over 14 innings. Milton advances to the AAAAAA Championship Series and will host Lamber (34-1) in a doubleheader to be played on Saturday, May 24th. Game #1 first pitch will be 430pm
Box Scores highlights from the doubleheader:
Milton: 4 Runs on 7 Hits
Alec Miller 2/3 R RBI BB
Dalton Ewing 1/2 R 2BB
Jack Thompson 1/2 BB
Dylan Cease R RBI
Josh Saavedra 2/3
Steven Curry 1/2 SB
Drew Tate R
Matt Geiger 7.0ip 1R/0ER 4H 6K 1BB
Milton: 3 Runs on 9 Hits
Ryan Gridley 1/3 R
Dalon Farkas 1/3
Dalton Ewing RBI
Jack Thompson RBI BB
Dylan Cease 1/3
Alec Miller 2/3 RBI
Steven Curry 3/3 2R
Chris Purpura 1/3
Drew Tate SB
Alex Schnell 7.0ip 0R 4H 3K 3BB
The Mustangs lost 5-4 in walk-off fashion in Game 1, then fell 9-5 in the nightcap.
Milton (25-7) moved on to the semifinals to face either Valdosta or north Fulton rival Johns Creek.
Kennesaw Mountain (24-8) came from behind in both games, only to fall short.
The Mustangs came back from 3-0 and 4-3 deficits in Game 1 before Jack Thompson’s one-out single sealed the win for Milton.
Game 2 saw Kennesaw Mountain battle back from deficits of 3-0 and 4-3 to take a 5-4 lead heading into the final inning, but Milton scored five runs off six hits in the top of the seventh, and the Mustangs went down quietly in the bottom half to end their season.
Milton produced 26 hits in the doubleheader — including 17 in Game 2 — compared to only nine overall for Kennesaw Mountain.
“Give (Milton) credit,” Kennesaw Mountain coach George Hansen said. “They hit the ball well all night and put it in play. We hit well, too, but a lot of them to their players.
“Our (pitches) didn’t move as well as they should have. Milton also bunted well and had big hits and, on a lot counts, they were behind, and they finished plays.”
Milton pitcher Matt Geiger had a no-hitter through five innings of Game 1, and the Eagles’ offense took advantage of the Mustangs’ miscues to build their 3-0 margin.
After Ryan Gridley was hit by a pitch to lead off the game, back-to-back errors put him at third. Dylan Cease’s RBI single then brought him home for a 1-0 lead.
Erik Petersen walked to lead off the third and later scored off a throwing error as Dalton Ewing stole second.
Milton built its 3-0 lead when Ewing’s RBI double that plated Petersen in the fifth.
Kennesaw Mountain didn’t go down without a fight, however.
Reggie Pruitt produced the Mustangs’ first hit with a leadoff single in the top of the sixth. Michael Atkinson then walked before Tyler Stephenson blasted a home run on a 2-2 count to knot the contest at 3-all.
Milton recovered with a run in the bottom of the sixth. Clayton Vaught hit a one-out single and got to second on a fielding error. He later scored on a two-out error that put the Eagles ahead 4-3.
The Mustangs rallied again when Zack Goodman’s two-out homer knotted the contest at 4-all.
Kennesaw Mountain’s rally ended in the bottom of the inning.
Milton pinch-hitter Chris Purpura led off the frame with a single, moved to second on Ewing’s sacrifice bunt and scored the game-winner on Thompson’s single.
Kennesaw Mountain starter Ryley Gilliam allowed four runs — though only one was earned — off six hits and struck out five in 5 1/3 innings.
Milton took a 3-0 lead through the first two innings of the nightcap, behind Cease’s RBI groundout in the first and Steven Curry’s two-run home run in the second.
Kennesaw Mountain tied the contest in the bottom of the third. Pruitt led off with a single and scored on Stevenson’s RBI single. Two batters later, Garrett Blinkhorn’s two-run double plated Atkinson and courtesy runner Hampton Clark.
Milton grabbed a one-run lead in the fourth when Gridley singled, moved to second on a balk, reached third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on an error.
The Mustangs grabbed their only lead of the series in the fifth. Back-to-back walks to Atkinson and Stephenson led off the inning, and a throwing error allowed Atkinson and Clark to score again, putting Kennesaw Mountain in front 5-4.
Down to its final three outs, Milton rallied in the seventh.
Vaught’s two-run triple plated Thompson and Farkas, while Dalon Farkas, Curry and Gridley each had RBI singles.
Milton reliever Will Matthews retired the side in the seventh to close out Milton’s victory.
As Milton looks to win its second straight state title, Kennesaw Mountain will have to be satisfied with winning the Region 4AAAAAA championship.
“Our season wasn’t a disappointment,” Hansen said. “We won the region, and we won 24 games and made the quarterfinals. We have a ton of guys coming back, and I think this team is ready to handle the pressure next year. They just have to live up to it. We had a great run.”
MILTON HIGH SCHOOL, MILTON, GA
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Milton (23-7) sweeps Grayson (21-11) by scores of 9-5 in Game #1 and 10-0 in Game #2. In the doubleheader, Milton totals 19 runs on 25 hits with 17 RBIs. Milton advances to the third round quarterfinals of the AAAAAA playoffs and will host Kennesaw Mountain in a doubleheader to be played on Tuesday, May 13th.
Box Scores highlights from the doubleheader:
Milton: 9 Runs on 11 Hits, 8RBIs
Ryan Gridley 4/4 4R
Erik Petersen 3/4 4R 2RBI (HR)
Dalton Ewing 1/2 3RBI BB (2B) (SacF)
Jack Thompson R BB HBP
Dylan Cease 2/4 2RBI (2B)
Josh Saavedra 1/3 1RBI
Matt Geiger 5.0ip 5R/0ER 5H 3K 5BB
Bryce Johnson 1.0ip 0R 2H
Will Matthews 1.0ip 0R 0H 1K
Milton: 10 Runs on 14 Hits, 9RBIs
Ryan Gridley 2/2 2R RBI BB (3B) (SacF)
Erik Petersen 2/3 R 2RBI
Dalton Ewing 1/3 R BB (2B)
Jack Thompson 1/4 2RBI
Dylan Cease 2/3 R RBI BB (SB)
Clayton Vaught 2/3 2R RBI
Alec Miller 2/4 RBI BB (3B)
Steven Curry 2/3 2R RBI (3B)
Alex Schnell 6.0ip 1R/1ER 4H 6K 2BB
Clay Forbes 1.0ip 0R 1H 2K