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Gainesville uses pair of grand slams to roll past Johnson
Gettys picked up the win, hit grand slam in the 5th for Red Elephants
Johnson's Trae Wilson is out at first base Monday after Gainesville's David Gonzalez catches the ball during at game at Johnson High School. - photo by SARA GUEVARA | The Times

OAKWOOD — Gainesville is a team that thrives when it finds some momentum. No game highlights that point any better than Monday when the second-ranked Red Elephants had two grand slams and 10 batters drove in at least one run in a 24-5 win against Johnson.

“That’s the kind of game that makes a statement that we’re a good hitting team,” said Gainesville senior Ryan Griffith, who broke the game wide open with his fourth-inning grand slam and finished with five RBIs. “We’re really starting to hit the ball well as a team.”

With the win, Gainesville (18-0, 13-0 Region 8-AAA South) secured no less than the No. 2 seed for the region playoff. To clinch the subregion, the Red Elephants need only one more win or an Oconee County loss.

With the game already in control, Michael Gettys added a grand slam as part of a 16-run fifth inning for the Red Elephants.

Despite the lopsided score, Gainesville had to string together some clutch hits before taking control of the game in the fourth inning. Tied 1-1 to start the inning, Hunter Anglin (3 for 5) got the ball rolling with a lead-off single, followed by a nice job of hitting from David Gonzalez on a two-strike single between shortstop and third.

Gettys, the winning pitcher, put down a textbook sacrifice bunt to get the runners into scoring position, followed by a two-run single up the middle from Caleb Whitenton.

After Gainesville loaded the bases again four batters later on a walk, one of nine on the night, Griffith took a curveball on a 3-2 count over the left-field wall for a grand slam.

“That was just a great piece of hitting by Ryan,” Gainesville coach Jeremy Kemp said.

In the fifth, Gainesville drew four walks, two with the bases loaded to plate a run, and had three consecutive batters hit by a pitch to score three more runs.

Before the inning ended, Anglin had a two-run, bases-loaded double. Gettys’ grand slam soared over the scoreboard in left field and was the Red Elephants’ final hit of the night.

Gainesville’s first home run of the night was Luke Moore’s solo shot that hooked just inside the foul pole and tied the score at 1-1.

Not only was Gettys a big part of Gainesville’s night offensively with two runs and four RBIs, but he also threw four innings and allowed only three hits while recording six strikeouts.

After giving up a lead-off home run in the first to Johnson’s Chris White (2 for 3, three RBIs), Gettys settled down and recorded the first six outs via strikeouts.

Despite giving up singles to Adam White (2 for 2), Trae Wilson and A.J. Benefield in the third inning, Gettys got out of the inning without a run scoring. After Adam White’s lead-off single, Gainesville turned a double play. Then with two outs, Anglin speared a ground ball at third and threw to first for the final out of the inning.

Chris White added a two-run homer for the Knights in the fifth.

Gainesville was solid defensively with two key double plays on the night. On the other hand, Johnson made three costly infield errors.

Johnson’s fourth loss in its last five outings hurt its chances of getting a region playoff spot, but the Knights (10-9, 7-7) are still not out of it with four left to play.

For Gainesville, their game against North Hall (12-5, 9-2 North subregion) on Friday could determine the host of the region playoff series to decide the region champion.

The Red Elephants are already excited about the looming rivalry matchup.

“There’s nothing like that game,” Griffith said.

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