Collier Scott put eighth-ranked Gainesville in a great position to have a big week with his six solid innings on the mound Monday against Winder-Barrow at Ivey-Watson Field.
The Red Elephants (15-3, 12-1 Region 8-AAAAA) starter kept his pitch count low, needing just 59 pitches to get through five innings against the Bulldoggs, and was the beneficiary of three great defensive plays en route to an 8-1 win.
After surrendering three hits over the first two innings, Scott allowed just two runners for Winder-Barrow (14-4, 11-2) to reach base during the next three innings. Scott, a sophomore, was pulled after six innings of work with only two walks and six hits allowed.
In the seventh, third baseman Jack Langford pitched in relief and got three hitters out in order to preserve the win, pulling Gainesville back into a first-place tie with Loganville for the region lead.
“Collier was awesome out there tonight,” said Gainesville coach Jeremy Kemp. “That’s the best he’s thrown the ball all season.”
The win sets the Red Elephants up to potentially earn the season sweep with Louisiana State signee Jonathan Gettys pitching the second game of the series Wednesday in Winder.
Gettys kept the Red Elephants in the lead for most of the night with his fifth multiple home run game of his career, then their designated hitter doubled against Winder-Barrow reliever Skyler Murphy to start the sixth inning.
Gettys’ double to open the sixth got Gainesville started as it scored five runs before the first out was recorded in the inning.
Banks Griffith added a two-run hit in the inning, along with a run-scoring hit by Charlie Wall. Jared Smith’s high-hopping grounder to third base plated another run when the force-out attempt at the plate was dropped by the Bulldoggs’ catcher.
“It feels great to win this one,” said Kemp. “It feels as good as it can after winning a game.”
On the mound, Scott kept the ball down in the strike zone, along with success with his curveball. Scott surrendered a single in the second and third innings, then a pair of two-out hits in the fourth. Other than that, Scott kept control of the pace of the game, keeping Winder-Barrow’s normally powerful offense in check.
“It feels great to have a game like I did on the mound,” said Scott.
The great plays for Gainesville in the field started in the fourth inning when Smith came up throwing in right field on a hit by Winder-Barrow’s Casey Thurmond, and cut down the lead runner going to third for the final out of the inning.
First baseman Sam Carpenter started a double play for the Red Elephants’ defense when he fielded a grounder and quickly threw to second for the first out.
Langford also made a great defensive play in the sixth inning for Gainesville. On a high bouncing ball he fielded above third base, he quickly turned and threw across his body for the final out at first base.
“Those were huge defensive plays,” said Kemp. “They kept us in it.”
Gettys had a solo home run in the second and fourth innings for the Red Elephants. Gainesville’s first run came in the first inning when Anthony Carrera’s bloop single between the short stop and left fielder, who were both converging on the ball, scored Griffith from second base.
Winder-Barrow’s lone run came with Beau Hanna’s fifth-inning triple, scoring Darrell Woodall from first base.
On Wednesday, the second game of the series begins at 5:55 p.m. in Winder.