The Gainesville baseball team has found success this season by playing a relaxed game, even in the Class AAAAA state playoffs.
The Red Elephants kept it simple in their second-round series with Creekview on Thursday at Ivey-Watson Field, and the scoreboard indicated it in both games. They cruised past the Grizzlies with wins of 10-0 and 3-0, punching their ticket to the quarterfinals for the second consecutive year.
No overly bad innings or outstanding problems. Just solid, sound baseball, and another step completed towards their primary goal: Winning a state championship.
“This team is very relaxed in all situations,” Red Elephants outfielder Luke Moore said. “It’s just how we are, no matter what the situation is.”
Gainesville (27-3) hosts Whitewater in the quarterfinals, which begins with a doubleheader Tuesday at Ivey-Watson Field.
The Red Elephants secured home-field advantage after the fourth-seeded Wildcats upset a No. 1 seed, Lakeside-Evans, on Wednesday.
“I’m glad we’re playing them, for the simple reason that we’re playing here,” Gainesville coach Jeremy Kemp said. “I’m sure they’re a good baseball team.”
The Red Elephants were sure to demonstrate their offensive capabilities early in the series, taking care of Creekview (18-13) in five innings before activating the mercy rule.
They piled on five runs in the first inning, highlighted by a two-run single from Moore. Hunter Anglin and Skyler Weber also collected RBIs in the inning.
Moore scored from third on a passed ball later in the inning. He went 2 for 2 with two runs and four RBIs in Game 1, and added two more hits in Game 2.
“Luke Moore has absolutely caught fire,” Kemp said. “It seems like he gets a hit every at bat. He’s special, and he’s emerged as one of the leaders on this team.”
Gainesville took a 6-0 lead in the fourth when Luke Maddox successfully stole home, getting room to reach the plate safely on a passed ball. The Red Elephants proceeded to score four more runs in the fifth to end the game early, anchored by a two-run double by Moore and the game-ending, two-run single by Brandon Sewell on the next at-bat.
“They said this team was good, and they were good,” Moore said. “But we’re playing good right now. We just need to keep it up and keep playing the way we are.”
Michael Gettys picked up the win on the mound, allowing two hits while striking out two and walking two. The only Creekview hitter to collect hits in the game was Chandler Wold, who was 2 for 2 in Game 1 and 4 for 5 overall in the series.
Avery Smith took the loss for Creekview, striking out six and giving up four hits in four innings of work.
GAINESVILLE 3, CREEKVIEW 0: Jonathan Gettys struck out 10 hitters, walked only one and gave up just four hits for a complete-game victory in Game 2.
The freshman lefty made up for the Red Elephants’ quieter game at the plate, and did so without many setbacks. He threw only 82 pitches despite going the distance.
“I was throwing strong the whole game,” Gettys said. “Throwing strikes.”
Gettys escaped the only jam Creekview offered him in the fourth inning with Gainesville up 1-0. Steven Whitaker opened the inning with a single, followed by Wold’s double that gave the Grizzlies runners in scoring position for the first time in the series with no outs.
He cleaned up the mess relatively hassle-free. He struck out Smith, then got some help from his defense when Wold was tagged out by Sims Griffth in a rundown between second and third. Gettys did the rest, striking out Austin Smith to end the inning unscathed.
“Little Gettys was something special,” Kemp said. “He kept his pitch count way down.”
Luke Maddox provided Gainesville with its first run of Game 2 earlier in the fourth, beating a bang-bang play at first to get Moore home safely.
Sewell slapped a single into shallow right field to score Caleb Whitenton in the fifth, and Anglin tacked on an insurance run in the seventh with a sacrifice fly that chased Sims Griffith home.
Anglin picked up four hits in the series.
Ben Carraway suffered the Game 2 loss for Creekview, which has completed its season with the loss. He gave up five hits and six walks with four strikeouts before being relieved by Chase Puckett in the seventh.