Collier Scott’s blistering 10th-inning single woke up a stagnant Gainesville bench Monday at the Hog Mountain Sports Complex. Tied with Flowery Branch in the top half of the inning, Scott roped a ball that hit off the first baseman’s glove for the Falcons, plating two runs and making an 8-4 win possible with the three extra innings.
“It feels amazing to be able to help my team like that with a big hit,” said Scott, who also drove in the winning run against North Forsyth on Feb. 26.
Scott came to the plate in prime position to make a huge splash for Gainesville (6-1, 3-0 Region 8-AAAAA) after a lead-off double from left fielder Farris Mance.
With one out, Fedrick Cardona reached from the top of the order when he was hit by a pitch, then second baseman Banks Griffith drew a walk. Scott’s single plated the first run, then an errant throw on the play to the catcher midway up the third-base line scored the second runner for the Red Elephants.
“Collier’s been clutch for us,” said Red Elephants coach Jeremy Kemp.
After Scott’s hit, Sam Carpenter followed with another run-scoring hit for the Red Elephants, bringing in another run on a high throw to the plate that went to the fence.
On Wednesday, Gainesville will throw senior left-handed ace Jonathan Gettys, a Louisiana State signee, in the second game of the series at Ivey-Watson Field.
Despite the loss, Flowery Branch (2-4-1, 0-1) led much of the night until the Red Elephants plated three in the seventh to send it to extra innings.
Even with only one hit in the seventh (Cardona’s lead-off single), the Red Elephants knotted it up with four walks. Scott also scored on a passed ball.
Trailing 4-1 to open the inning, Griffith, Anthony Carrera, Gettys and Mance all drew walks in the seventh for the Red Elephants, while Scott reached on an error. With a pair of runners in scoring position and no outs, Carpenter’s ground out plated the first pair of runs of the seventh.
It was a much better outcome for Gainesville than in the fourth inning when four walks only resulted in one run, tying the score at 1-all. The Falcons fought back in the home half of the inning with two runs scored on a hit by Dylan Childress.
Falcons left-handed starter Kohlton Hamann was quite effective for most of the night, pitching six innings with six hits allowed. However, with eight walks, his pitch count topped 120. He was pulled in the top of the seventh.
Flowery Branch drew its first lead in the first inning with a double to the fence by Trey Groves, scoring Cory Riley from second base.
The Falcons regained the lead in the fourth, starting with Jackson Harrell’s high-bouncing single over the Gainesville third baseman. Flowery Branch’s Blake Coxworth followed that up by getting on base on an error.
In Gainesville’s part of the fourth inning a lead-off walk by Carrera was wasted when he was picked off, breaking toward second with a throw back to first base by Hamann. Mance had an RBI single through the right side of the infield after walks by Carpenter and Gettys.