AAAAAA state baseball championship: Milton tops Roswell in thriller
By David Purdum / For the AJC
Alex Schnell pitched a gem, and nine-hole hitter Dalon Farkas delivered a two-out, game-winning RBI in extra innings, lifting Milton to a 2-1 victory over Roswell in the AAAAAA state championship on Monday.
It's the third state championship for the Eagles in baseball and their first since 2004. But it was anything but easy.
The two Fulton County rivals battled in front of raucous, overflow crowds for three games at the Eagles' new field. Fans sat on top of the outfield fences. Some even climbed trees, trying to catch a peek of a well-played, thrilling series. The two teams split two games on Saturday, setting up a Memorial Day showdown that featured plenty of drama.
With two outs in the eighth, catcher Nick Bradshaw doubled to right-center. Bradshaw had committed a throwing error in the fourth that allowed Drew Davis to score Roswell's only run. Bradshaw redeemed himself with the eighth-inning double and landed on second base with a fist-pump and scream.
Farkas then lined a 3-1 pitch up the middle, driving home courtesy runner Andrew Wood for the winning run.
"It was the most fun I've had during my baseball career," said Bradshaw.
Schnell, a junior left-hander, allowed one unearned run on two hits. He struck out six and walked one.
Milton coach Joey Ray thought only briefly about taking Schnell out, after Roswell's Mitchell Benson led off the eighth with a single. Benson reached second on a sacrifice bunt from Adam Terrinoni, but Schnell induced consecutive fly outs to end the game.
Roswell's Devin Browning and Austin Krzeminski both pitched well for the Hornets, who were playing in their fifth Game 3 of the playoffs. Browning allowed one run on five hits in three innings, before turning it over to Krzeminski, who allowed one run on four hits in five innings.
"We fought through five Game 3's (in the playoffs) and extra innings today," said Roswell coach Mike Power. "You see the blood, sweat and tears that these kids put in....it's tough, but I couldn't be any prouder."
AAAAAA baseball championship: Roswell, Milton headed for decisive Game 3
By David Purdum / For the AJC
Memorial Day baseball will decide the AAAAAA state championship.
In a battle of Fulton County rivals, Roswell took Game 1 of Saturday's doubleheader, 1-0, behind a dominating outing by starter Connor Johnstone.
Milton rebounded in Game 2, getting clutch two-out RBI singles from Dalon Farkas and Nick Bradshaw and a strong outing from starter Dylan Cease in a 5-3 win.
The decisive Game 3 will be played at 4 p.m., Monday at Milton. The Hornets will be looking for their first state title in baseball since 1986. The Eagles last won a state title in 2004.
Neither coach would name their Game 3 starter.
Johnstone threw a complete-game two-hit shutout in the first game. Johnstone, a Wake Forest signee, struck out five with no walks. He retired 13 straight during one stretch and ended the game by snatching a liner from Alec Cease and doubling off Dalton Ewing at first.
Alex Dickerson's RBI single scored Drew Davis in the first inning for the game's only run.
An overflow crowd created a raucous atmosphere, with fans sitting on top of outfield fences and the dugouts, trying to catch a peek.
Dylan Cease picked up the win in Game 2, striking out 12 in six innings.
Milton scored two in the first inning of Game 2, with Sean Ryan Brophy and Dalton Ewing delivering RBI singles.
Roswell answered with a run in the bottom of the first. Dickerson's RBI ground out scored Matt Meeder.
The Eagles tacked on a run in the fifth. Sean Ryan Brophy tripled and later scored on a wild pitch to extend the Milton to 3-1.
Roswell tied the game in the fifth, with Drew Davis and Syd Hopkins coming up with RBI singles.
But Farkas and Bradshaw came through in the sixth inning, rifling singles off of Roswell starter Austin Krzeminski.
Milton won both meetings between the Region 5 rivals in the regular season.
Milton's Payton Smith took the loss in Game 1, surrendering one run on three hits. He struck out nine and walked two in six innings.
The Class AAAAAA baseball state championship restores excitement into the North Fulton community. Both Milton and Roswell are looking to lift long championship droughts. Milton has not made the state finals since they were 2004 champions, and the last time Roswell reached the championship was during its title season in 1986. Winning a championship is on the mind of every team before the season, and for these Region 5 rivals it has been seasons of trying to return to the stage. From winter workouts to the season’s games, the players have given their all and have prepared for this moment.
For Milton, its win against Parkview has given them the momentum to finish the season strong. Joey Ray, Milton’s head coach, explained the road to the finals as being “very difficult and long.”
“We have had a lot of good things go our way,” said Ray. “It’s exciting for our players, coaches, and the community.”
Even though this is the biggest game of the season, Ray says the team is preparing like it has the entire season.
“It’s about consistency and winning two out of three games,” explained Ray. “We have to stay in there, hit and pitch well, and play good defense.”
This Milton team went to North Carolina for the National High School Invitational during the regular season to compete with the best teams in the country; Ray believed that having a battle-tested team would benefit the way his team handled the pressure of the playoffs.
“Inside the fence, it’s about playing good defense, throwing strikes, and playing good baseball for each other and having fun,” said Ray. “That’s what it’s all about.”
Milton pitchers, Alex Schnell and Dylan Cease, had success in the semifinals against Parkview, and will be the likely starters in the state finals. Schnell pitched a complete game shut out in Game 1, and Cease struck out 11 batters in 5.2 innings. The pitching will have to face the Roswell Hornets offense, which has been difficult to slow down this postseason. The Hornets used sacrifice bunts and excellent base running to exploit Walton in the semis, and the Milton bullpen will have to minimize their damage.
Roswell’s, Drew Davis, Syd Hopkins, and Lawson Dunkin have thrived throughout the playoffs giving the Hornets the run-support and plays to make it into the finals. The accomplishment of making the state championship shows how the underdog can rise to the occasion in order to beat the higher seats in the region. If Roswell plans to win the state championship against Milton, they have to play like they have been doing throughout the playoffs, scoring runs and pitching strikes.
As coach Mike Powers said, “The players and the community are excited about the game and the rich baseball tradition.”
Game 1 of the 6A championship will be played on May 25.
By Stephen Black and Craig Sager II
Milton 10, Parkview 0: Pitcher Alex Schnell tossed a complete-game shutout for the Eagles, who made the finals for the first time since 2004. Parkview, the 2-time defending state champion, was held to one hit in a game that was halted in the sixth inning. Dylan Cease’s 2-run homer gave the Eagles the final scoring margin and allowed the mercy rule to take effect. Milton jumped all over Parkview in the first inning with a 7-run outburst. Milton advances to play rival Roswell in the state finals series.
Roswell 7, Walton 6: Syd Hopkins doubled to drive in two runs in the third inning to put visiting Roswell ahead 2-0. Lawson Dunkin had an RBI double in the fourth making it 3-0 Hornets. Walton cut it to 3-2 in the bottom of the inning, but Hopkins hit his second two-bagger of the game and sparked a four-run fifth inning that resulted in a 7-2 Roswell lead. With a two-out rally and a Chase Burks two-run homer, Walton cut the lead to 7-6 heading into the seventh inning. Roswell’s last state title came in 1986.
As of Tuesday, May 21, 2013
© Copyright 2013 Gwinnett Daily Post
LILBURN -- For the third straight time in the best-of-three Class AAAAAA state semifinal baseball series between Parkview and Milton, the first inning proved decisive.