Gainesville was itching to get back on the field to begin its run for a state title, and it showed.
In the Red Elephants’ (1-0) first outing since being eliminated from the 2010 Class AAA state quarterfinals, they used a big first inning to coast to a 15-0 win over Habersham Central on Wednesday at Ivey-Watson Field. In that first inning, Gainesville sent 16 batters to the plate and scored 12 runs, highlighted by freshman left fielder Michael Gettys’ two-run homer in his first high school at bat.
“I was just going up there thinking first pitch, hit it opposite way and use my hands,” Gettys said. “I guess it just worked out for me.”
However, the big first inning almost wasn’t. Habersham Central appeared poised to head into the dugout trailing only 2-0, but the Raiders’ shortstop committed an error with two outs that extended the inning. After that, 11 consecutive Red Elephants would reach base, including two-run homers from Gettys and Ryan Griffith and a three-run double from Will Maddox. Gainesville also stole home when Griffith scored on a double steal.
“They did a good job and came out ready to play,” Red Elephants coach Jeremy Kemp said. “That’s what you want first game. We still have a lot of work to do and I’m always going to say that, but I’m very pleased with the pitching, defense and hitting.”
The Raiders (0-2) lost their season opener to North Hall on Monday. Habersham Central committed three errors leading to 13 unearned runs, and a passed ball leading to another.
Habersham Central starter Clayton Oliver lasted just 2/3 innings, giving up 10 runs on seven hits, a walk and a hit batter. He was relieved by Alex Smith, who went 1 1/3 innings and gave up two runs on four hits and two walks.
From the plate, Habersham Central managed just one hit from Jake Brewer. John Henry Dean and Smith were the only other Raiders to reach base, both on walks allowed by Gainesville starter Stephen Mason.
“We’ve been practicing and scrimmaging against each other and it was good to get out here and finally start playing,” said the junior, who was also 3-for-3 from the plate. “We played great. The guys played great defense and I threw strikes.
“I couldn’t thank the guys enough for the run support.”
The game ended on pinch-hitter Shad Petree’s RBI double off Dustin Fricks — it was the only batter Fricks faced.
Habersham Central and Gainesville will meet again 1 p.m. Saturday in Mt. Airy, and Gettys believes the game will have an outcome similar to that of Wednesday’s.
“I’m expecting us to win every game,” he said.