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Gettys stellar on the hill as Gainesville blanks North Gwinnett, 8-0

Senior right-hander recorded 11 strikeouts, allowed 1 hit in six innings

POSTED: February 28, 2014 10:39 p.m.

Michael Gettys looked like he was in mid-season form on Friday night in the Gainesville baseball team’s season opener.

Considered one of the best high school baseball players in the nation for his outstanding play in the outfield and at the plate, the Red Elephants’ senior showcased his ability on the mound with roughly a dozen professional baseball scouts in attendance.

A projected first-round pick in June’s Major League Baseball First-Year Draft, Gettys didn’t allow a hit until the sixth inning as he outdueled another potential first-round draft pick in North Gwinnett lefty Tucker Bacha to lead the nationally 11th-ranked Big Red to an 8-0 win over the previously unbeaten Bulldogs at Ivey-Watson Field in Gainesville.

“Michael, I put him up there in the class with Bacha,” Gainesville coach Jeremy Kemp said. “I wouldn’t trade Michael for anybody on the mound. I think he’s 23-1 now as a pitcher here.”

Gettys was nearly flawless for the Red Elephants (1-0) through the opening innings of the game, holding the Bulldogs (3-1) to no hits until a leadoff single in the top of the sixth inning. He finished the game allowing no runs on just one hit in six innings of work, while striking out 11 batters.

After this season, Gettys will likely be drafted among the first 10 picks in the June draft — some analysts have him going as the No. 1 overall pick to the Houston Astros — and he will primarily serve as a position player in the outfield, rather than a pitcher. That means his senior season with Gainesville could potentially be the final few times he steps on the mound.

“I like pitching this year because hopefully after this I won’t pitch anymore, but it is still fun to go out there and battle,” Gettys said. “I like doing everything as hard as I can. It doesn’t matter what I do.”

Part of what made Gettys so effective against the Bulldogs on Friday night was his ability to keep the opposing batters guessing and have confidence in his pitches.

“I don’t really think about pitching. Maybe that’s why I’ve had a lot of success,” Gettys said. “I never think about it.

“I feel like I have a really good curveball, I have a lot of confidence in it. Like I’ll throw it with a 3-2 count and that kind of really plays with the hitter’s mind.”

The first two innings of Friday’s game were setting up to be a pitchers’ dual between Gettys and Bacha, teammates on a summer league team. That ended in the bottom of the third inning when the Red Elephants were able to capitalize and score three runs on some control issues from Bacha.

Sims Griffith drove in Gainesville’s first run of the night, and season, when he connected on a single up the middle score Anthony Cardona, who reached on a walk to start the third inning.

Gettys reached base on a hit-by-pitch before a single to the right side scored Drew Wright from third base, before Gainesville’s Sims Griffith scored on a passed ball.

“We had some speed come into play,” Kemp said. “We have a lot of speed in our lineup and we put the pressure on him a little bit. That got us a couple of runs.”

The Red Elephants added a run in the bottom of the fourth inning. After loading the bases with just one out, Wright scored on a wild pitch from Bacha, making the score 4-0.

Bacha finished the night after five innings of work, allowing four runs on three hits and two walks. He hit three batters and threw two wild pitches, but managed nine strikeouts.

“(Bacha)’s good. There is no doubt about that,” Kemp said. “We did a good job at putting the ball in play. I don’t want to say anything bad about him. I think he’s a great pitcher, and I was impressed with him tonight. I don’t think he had his stuff but I was still impressed with him.”

Blake Sangster, who allowed four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, replaced Bacha on the hill for the Bulldogs.

Wright started the inning with a walk and Griffith singled before Gettys singled into right field to score Walker.

Sangster was called for a balk on the ensuing at-bat, scoring Griffith before Gettys scored on a wild pitch a few pitches later. Gainesville closed out its scoring on a sacrifice fly from Caleb Whitenton.

Walker, the Red Elephants’ No. 9 hitter, finished the night 2 for 2 with three runs scored. Gettys was 2 for 3 at the plate with a run scored and a RBI, while Griffith finished the night 2 for 3 with two runs scored and a RBI.

Gainesville will visit Habersham Central on Monday before hosting the Raiders on Wednesday.


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