Cherokee Bluff’s baseball team needed just one rally to ensure that it would advance in the state playoffs.
Trailing early to Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe, the Bears (22-9) scored four runs in the fourth inning Thursday to take the lead in Game 1 and would got on to win 8-3 in Flowery Branch.
Then in Game 2, Cherokee Bluff closed it out fast with a 12-1 win to complete the sweep in the first-round playoff series in Class 3A. Bryce England had three homers and drove in six runs.
With the win, Cherokee Bluff advances to face the winner of the Greater Atlanta Christian/Stephens County in the second round, starting with a doubleheader on Tuesday and deciding third game Wednesday, if necessary.
Brody Beal had the big blast that got the party started for Cherokee Bluff in the first-round series.
Despite trailing 3-0 early, the Bears plated four runs in the fourth inning to jump in front and never looked back.
After England roped an RBI single for the Bears, Beal followed with the homer to left field that put Cherokee Bluff back even at 3-3.
Cherokee Bluff rebounded from a bumpy start on the mound from sophomore Braxton Beal.
The Bears’ starter allowed all three runs in the second inning, but more than made up for it with eight strikeouts over the final five innings to secure the complete-game victory.
Then in the fifth inning, Cherokee Bluff added three insurance runs before any outs were recorded.
Dylan Kautz had a lead-off double, followed by a bunt single down the third base line by Jacob Vokal to put runners on the corners.
Ben Jenkins had a single that scored one run, then England followed with a two-run hit.
In Game 2, Jenkins was 3 for 4 with three runs.