SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Three Class A-Private baseball teams remained in the state playoffs entering Thursday night.
All three knew they had to win Thursday, or their seasons would end. It’s even tougher for Savannah Christian and Savannah Country Day, who played each other.
SAVANNAH COUNTRY DAY 1, SAVANNAH CHRISTIAN 4
The Raiders are headed back to the Final Four after knocking off crosstown rival Savannah Country Day in Thursday’s Game 3.
“It means everything right now. It gives us a ton more confidence going into the Final Four," says senior pitcher Garrett Bradley. "Knowing that we’re the only Savannah team left is a pretty big deal.”
Junior Mark Langston’s mammoth three run homer to left field gave the Raiders a 3-1 lead and jolt of life in the 4th inning.
From there, it was a unique pitching strategy that helped the Raiders close out the game.
Staff ace Kyle Hilton has just over 65 pitches to work with Thursday, according to the GHSA’s pitch count policy. So Hilton started the game at catcher with Garrett Bradley on the hill.
But when the Hornets started to threaten, Savannah Christian would switch the battery completely with Hilton taking over on the mound, and Bradley taking duties behind the plate.
The strategy worked, as the Hornets struggled to find offense in the final few innings. Hilton says the team notified him of their plans Thursday morning, and the Georgia Tech commit is just happy it worked.
Now he and the Raiders are advancing after an intense finale to an entertaining series.
“We both had a lot of confidence going in, and that’s the game we expected. It was a great game by both teams," Hilton says. "It was like a state championship environment. Being in that my freshman year, that’s what it was like with the crowd being loud and everything. It was just a great series all around.”
Savannah Christian will host the winner of Wesleyan/Fellowship Christian in the state semifinals. Those two teams were in the second inning of their Game 3 before it was postponed due to weather.
HEBRON CHRISTIAN 9, CALVARY DAY 2
A 2-1 Calvary lead in the fourth inning just wouldn’t hold up, as their season ends in the Elite Eight.
The Cavs saw the Lions’ offense wake up for six runs in the fifth inning to take control of the game.
Calvary ends the year with a 22-9 record.