In the hunt for a region title, Jonathan Gettys wasn’t taking a sick day.
Despite coming down with strep throat, Gainesville’s ace pitched a one-hitter to lead the Red Elephants to a 10-0 shutout of county rival Flowery Branch (12-9, 7-8 Region 8-AAAAA) in six innings at Ivey-Watson Field in Gainesville. The junior struck out six Falcons batters while carrying a no-hitter bid into the final inning. Gettys (2-for-3) also hit a home run at the plate.
Gettys said he had felt symptoms on Sunday and told head coach Jeremy Kemp of his condition early Monday, but told the coach that he was good to go.
“I’ve just got to go out there and pitch,” Gettys said with a shrug. “I like playing. I feel like I’m not at full strength right now.”
Anthony Carrera (1-for-2) smacked a grand slam in the first inning, before Drew Wright brought home Brandon Sewell and Gettys on a single into shallow center. By the end of the first, Gainesville (18-5, 13-3) led 6-0, and was one step closer to region leader Loganville (15-4, 13-2). The Red Devils own a half-game lead on the Red Elephants, but face a hectic end to the season with three region games in three days starting Wednesday.
“We’ve got to keep winning, to keep putting pressure on (Loganville),” said Kemp. “If we want to win region, we can’t slip up.”
Gettys and Michael Curry (2-for-3, single, HR) each hit a solo homer in the third inning to boost Gainesville’s lead to 8-0.
Flowery Branch starting pitcher Derek Eder (2-2) was roughed up for Gainesville’s first eight runs on four hits over 4 1/3 innings. He struck out four batters while walking four.
Falcons coach Scott Myers turned to his relievers in the fifth.
“He’s been really good,” Myers said of Eder. “I thought at some point, he’d be able to make a change.”
But the day belonged to Gettys, who was more quiet than usual while talking about his pitch control. He gave up his one and only hit to Deuce Davidson (1-for-2, single) with no outs in the sixth, then used a 95 mile-per-hour fastball to sit down pinch-hitter Jarrett Green two batters later.
“I was kind of (mad) I had let it go, so I threw it harder on the next guy,” he said.
Gettys said he felt body aches and was “stuffed up” before taking the mound, but the junior showed no signs of weakness as he dominated the bottom of Flowery Branch’s order, including four straight strikeouts across the second and third innings.
On the offensive end, the Red Elephants couldn’t be contained. Fedrick Cardona (1-for-3) used his leadoff single in the first inning to set up a bases-loaded situation for Carrera with one out. Carrera only needed three pitches before he launched his long bomb over the center field wall. Curry and Gettys then connected on homers in the third before Curry’s walkoff single in the sixth allowed Jack Langford to score, ending the evening on mercy rule.
Gainesville will finish off the regular season with a home-and-home against Apalachee, while Flowery Branch will travel to Winder-Barrow today at 5:55 p.m. before returning for a home-and-home with Heritage (Conyers).
“I didn’t want to take him out,” Kemp said of Gettys. “Sometimes you lose focus when you have a big lead, but he had a real good time out there.”