Baseball: Lovett beats Wesleyan 4-2 in Game 1 of AA championship

Thanks to the bat of Aaron Schunk and the arm of Sam Pritchard, the Lovett Lions beat the Wesleyan Wolves 4-2 on Saturday at Wesleyan’s Donn Gaebelein Field to win the first game of the Class AA GHSA baseball championship, a best-of-three series.

Game 2 will be played on Monday at 4:30 p.m. at Wesleyan. If necessary, Game 3 will take place 30 minutes following Game 2’s conclusion.

Schunk, a senior and University of Georgia commit, batted leadoff and opened the game with a towering shot to left field on an 0-2 count. The home run was similar to one he hit at Wesleyan on March 15, a blast that came off the game’s first pitch and set the tone for a 3-1 Lions win.

“I wasn’t up there to do that today,” said Schunk, who manned the shortstop position and could be the starting pitcher for Game 2. “I told (Lions coach Lance Oubs) that I was just going to focus on hitting line drives and getting on base.”

Pritchard, a lefty who pitched 11 innings on Monday to guide the Lions to a 3-2 win over GAC in Game 2 of the semifinals, again went the distance for Lovett. The junior allowed two runs on five hits, struck out one, walked none and retired 12 straight from the second inning to the sixth, when Jake McCleskey hit a double with one out. By that point, the Lions had built a 4-0 lead.

“I was just thinking about getting a state championship ring and being able to do it for my teammates,” Pritchard said. “I just felt like I was in the zone for that.”

The 1-0 score held until the Lions tacked on a run in the fifth inning, when Schunk walked and then came around to score after Austin Jeter hit into a fielder’s choice. Lovett scored two more runs in the sixth inning, starting with Brady Tindall’s bases-loaded single that plated Peyton Ringer. Evan McKown scored a batter later when Freddy Achecar hit into a fielder’s choice.

Wesleyan got on the board in the sixth when Ryan Weed’s sac fly scored McCleskey. With two outs in the seventh, John Morris hit a solo shot to bring the score to its final tally.

Now, the Lions are a win away from their first title since 2013, with the defending state-champion Wolves standing in the way. Schunk, who was a freshman on the Lions’ last title team, wants to end his high school career on a championship-winning note.

“We feel like it’s right there,” he said. “We’ve had a burning under our bellies and we’re hoping we can pull this out.”

Wesleyan manager Brian Krehmeyer said he’ll go with either Andy Archer or Alex Thompson for Game 2 and, should the Wolves win, the other would pitch Game 3. Oubs wouldn’t tip his hand, saying “everybody that pitches for us is available on Monday,” but Krehmeyer said he expects to see Schunk start, and if there’s a Game 3, either Pritchard or sophomore Ben O’Meara.

CORRECTION: The score was originally posted as 4-1.

High School Baseball

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