Gainesville’s isn’t looking for style points with its two games against Loganville this week. The Red Elephants just want wins in the quest to gain the upper hand for their Region 8-AAAAA championship bid.
On Monday, the Red Elephants (10-2, 7-0) took the first game, winning 5-3 at Ivey-Watson Field, despite leaving 10 runners on base. On Wednesday, the two will meet for the second game in Loganville.
“It does put us ahead in the region, but we still have a long way to go,” said Gainesville coach Jeremy Kemp.
Each of the past two seasons, Gainesville and Loganville have split the regular-season series. On Wednesday, Gainesville will face Red Devils senior and Mississippi State signee Mitchell Miller, who won his showing 4-0 last season against the Red Elephants.
Senior Jonathan Gettys carried the Red Elephants in this week’s first game, striking out six batters over the first two innings. Despite some control issues (four walks), Gettys finished with 14 strikeouts and allowed just four hits.
“Jonathan didn’t have his stuff tonight, but he still battles no matter what,” Kemp said. “I’m very proud of him for how he battled out there.”
The Red Elephants had a difficult task at the plate, facing University of Georgia signee Timothy Elliott of Loganville (9-3, 6-1). Gainesville’s biggest inning was in the second when it plated four runs, despite only having one hit.
After Loganville (8-3, 6-1) responded with three runs in the top of the third inning, the Red Elephants tacked on their final run in the bottom half in the third inning with Banks Griffith’s grounder to second base. With one out and the bases loaded on the play, Griffith got to the base before the throw, bringing across the run.
Despite the win, Kemp was concerned about the lack of firepower at the plate. Gainesville loaded the base three times in the second inning, thanks to a hit by Jack Langford in the bottom spot of the order. Two Red Elephants were hit by a pitch, the first of which was Farris Mance who scored on a wild pitch.
After Mance scored, Fedrick Cardona and Sam Carpenter reached for the Red Elephants on walks.
Four times Gainesville left a pair of runners on base to end the inning.
“We really needed a big hit tonight, we just couldn’t get it,” said Kemp.
Langford pitched the seventh inning for the Red Elephants in relief of Gettys. Gainesville’s reliever pitched around a one-out walk to Bryce Fowler by getting a pop-fly out on the next two hitters to end the game.
Loganville’s only fruitful inning on offense was with the three runs in the top of the third. Elliott and Fowler had one-out hits for the Red Devils, then Jonathan Lee reached on a two-out hit through the right side of the Gainesville infield.
Loganville’s Brandin Nixon drew a bases-loaded walk to bring home its second run, then Marcellus Campbell reached on an error for its final run.
Despite only four hits, Gainesville took advantage of Elliott’s inability to consistently find the strike zone. The Red Elephants drew five walks over five innings against Elliott.
Between the two teams, there were no extra-base hits.