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Metter splits in title series Friday, headed to Game 3

Tigers can claim first ever state baseball title with win Saturday
The Tigers dropped Game 1, but stayed alive with a Game 2 victory.

Metter and Gordon Lee face...
The Tigers dropped Game 1, but stayed alive with a Game 2 victory. Metter and Gordon Lee face off in a winner take all Game 3 Saturday in Savannah.(WTOC)
Updated: May. 22, 2021 at 12:18 AM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The largely orange clad crowd came alive with every big play Friday night at historic Grayson Stadium.

Their Metter Tigers gave them plenty to cheer about as night fell over the old ball field in midtown Savannah.

Metter, playing in the program’s first ever state championship series, split the first two games with Gordon Lee in the best of three series Friday night. It sets up a winner take all Game 3 Saturday afternoon in Savannah.

“We got to get to the hotel. We got to get some food in them. We got to get some rest, and we got to come out,” laughed head coach Zach Rackett. “Tomorrow, they’re going to be just as excited. But they’ve been here already. And we feel good.”

A home run and a four-run sixth inning vaulted Gordon Lee to a 7-4 Game 1 win, leaving the Trojans just a victory away from their third consecutive state Class A-Public title.

For Metter, it was the first loss of their state playoff run. The Tigers say they felt just fine going into the second game, even with their season hanging in the balance.

“We came here knowing we had to get two wins, and that didn’t change just because we lost game one,” Rackett said.

“We wasn’t down on ourselves. We had a good energy. We got our heads right, came out there punching,” said senior Brian Crooms. “Our back was against the wall and we had to scrap our way out of there.”

Brian Crooms allowed just one run in a complete game victory for Metter in Game 2.
Brian Crooms allowed just one run in a complete game victory for Metter in Game 2.(WTOC)

Crooms was a major part of the scrapping, allowing just one run as he fired a complete game in the Tigers’ 2-1 victory in Game 2.

The senior says he found a groove midway through the game, and appeared to have his best stuff in the final innings. He struck out the side in the 5th, bringing an already partisan Metter crowd to a fever pitch.

With the go-ahead run at the plate, Crooms got a ground out to second to seal the victory.

“We were talking about it yesterday actually: Orel Hershiser (1988 National Cy Young Award winner)- how he just goes out and does his own game, and goes out and does the same thing he did all year,” Crooms says. “I had that mindset going in there, just pitching my game and let everything else fix itself.”

The Trojans jumped out to a 1-0 lead early on, but Metter answered back immediately.

Reese Hadden snuck under the attempted tag at home, scoring on a RBI single from John Luke Glanton in the third inning. The very next batter, Rustan Rigdon’s high chopper couldn’t be fielded cleanly. Glanton scored on the mishap to make it 2-1 Tigers.

That was all Crooms and Metter needed to force a decisive game Saturday afternoon.

Now the Tigers will go to bed Friday knowing they are just one win from the first state baseball title in program history.

“I don’t think you have to say anything to them,” Rackett says. “They’ve been wanting this their whole life. So I guess I’ll tell them to relax and it’s just baseball.”

Game 3 between Metter and Gordon Lee is at noon Saturday from historic Grayson Stadium.

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