In a battle of left-handed pitchers, it was Louisiana State University signee Jonathan Gettys that got the better of his rival in a 10-0 victory for Gainesville High over Flowery Branch.
The senior, who pitched five innings, got early support from his offense, but it was a three-run blast and a run-rule inducing single that solidified a win for the Red Elephants (7-1, 4-0 8-AAAAA).
Already holding on to a six-run lead in the bottom of the fifth inning, Anthony Carrera stepped to the plate with runners at second and third bases.
For the third time on the night, the center fielder saw seven pitches, but it was the last pitch he saw and he made it count.
Carrera smashed a ball well over the right-center field fence, and topped it off with a nice bat flip, to put his team up 9-0.
“Anthony needed that,” said Gainesville coach Jeremy Kemp. “He’s been struggling here lately and not hitting the ball the way he wants to. He really got ahold of that one. Anthony is a good hitter and he’s going to come on for us.”
The final blow came one inning later as Kyle York was the third batter subbed into the sixth inning for the Red Elephants.
Gettys finished the game with 12 strikeouts while giving up two hits and two walks on 84 pitches.
Gettys said he was able to work his offspeed, particularly his curveball, well against the Falcons.
Noah Bond came in to pitch what would be the final inning in the sixth. Bond struck out two, walked one and gave up a hit.
“Jonathan did good for us,” Kemp said. “He got us going and kept them scoreless through five innings. Noah threw a good inning. We just hit the ball and did the little things right. We had no errors tonight after we had four errors in the first game (against Flowery Branch) on Monday. We played great defense behind (Gettys) and got the key hits tonight.”
With runners on first and third, York hit a ball in the sixth inning that found its way into no-man’s land and allowed pinch runner JC Sewell to score the game-winning run.
While the late runs locked up the win, it was the early runs that gave Gettys a cushion to work with and the confidence to settle into the game and find a groove.
In the bottom of the first inning, Fedrick Cardona delivered a single on the second pitch thrown by Flowery Branch (2-5-1, 0-2) pitcher Jackson Harrell and was moved to second with a sacrifice bunt by Banks Griffith.
Two batters later, Sam Carpenter delivered a single through the right side of the Falcons’ defense to plate Cardona.
After stealing second base, Carpenter was moved to third on a single from Jared Smith and brought in to score on a single from Farris Mance.
Third baseman Jack Langford scored in the second inning on a fielder’s choice, which resulted in a throwing error on Flowery Branch.
The Red Elephants added a pair in the third as Carpenter got things rolling with a double to left-center field. Two batters later, Mance, in his second at-bat, drove in his second run of the night with a double that nearly traced the line of Carpenter’s shot.
Four batters after Mance, a two-out, bases-loaded walk by Cardona provided the fifth run of the contest for Gainesville.
The Red Elephants sent four batters to the plate in the fourth inning, with Carpenter delivering another single, but no runs were scored in the frame.
The sixth run was scored just before Carrera’s big blast cleared the bases.
AJ Smallwood was able to reach on an error, then moved to third on a wild pitch and passed ball. Smallwood scored two batters later on the fielder’s choice that left Cardona on base to score on the home run.
After playing a 10-run marathon game on Monday, Gettys said the mindset for him was to simply keep the Falcons from putting runs on the board. With his team scoring three runs in the first two innings, he was able to settle in and bring that mindset to reality.
At the plate for Gainesville, Carpenter was the hot man, going 3 for 3 with two runs scored and an RBI on a double and two singles.
Mance had two singles and a double as well with two runs scored and two RBIs.
Cardona finished with two runs scored. Griffith, Carrera, Smallwood and Langford each scored a run for the Red Elephants.
For Flowery Branch, Kohlton Hamann was 2 for 3, and Blake Coxworth was 1 for 3.
The Falcons left seven on base, including runners on second and third in each of the first two innings. Defensively, Flowery Branch had six errors on the board.
Next up, Gainesville travels to Grayson today with a 7 p.m. first pitch in Loganville.
Flowery Branch will host Clarke Central Friday at 5:55 p.m.