Long ball pays off for Tattnall Square in sweep

Article and photos courtesy of the Macon Telegraph –> Original Article Here

Matt Blair had Hebron Christian’s batters all but wrapped up Wednesday.

The only question for Tattnall Square’s Game 1 starter in the best-of-three GHSA Class 1A private school quarterfinal series was the kind of run support he would receive.

Two swings of the bat in the fifth inning took care of that.

Trey Ham’s three-run shot to left center, followed by a solo homer by Logan Fink to nearly the same spot one batter later, gave Blair plenty of cushion. Tattnall won the opener 5-1, setting the stage for a doubleheader sweep.

Tattnall posted two more homers in Game 2, including another blast from Ham, in a 10-2 victory that allowed the Trojans (29-3) to take another step in their quest to repeat as Class 1A private champion.

Four who mattered

Blair: The Tattnall senior went the distance in Game 1, striking out 11 while walking three en route to a four-hitter. He threw 97 pitchers, 71 for strikes.

Ham: The sophomore catcher is Tattnall’s top home run hitter, increasing his season total to 12. His two-out homer in the fifth in the opener swung momentum Tattnall’s way. He went 2-for-3 in the opener, then he went 1-for-5 with another three-run homer in the nightcap.

Luke Laskey: The Tattnall third baseman also went 2-for-3 in Game 1, driving home the Trojans’ final run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth. In Game 2, he went 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. He also stole two bases in each game.

Garrett Houston: Tattnall’s Game 2 starter went the distance, scattering four hits and two walks while striking out six. He also had a two-run homer in the top of the sixth, adding a double to go 2-for-4 from the plate in Game 2.

Turning point

Hebron Christian starter James Civelli had a strong outing going into the fifth in Game 1, holding Tattnall scoreless on three hits. But after retiring Tattnall’s first two batters in the fifth on grounders, a Laskey single and a Logan Simmons intentional walk set the table for Ham’s game-changing homer. The next batter up, Fink, also homered, and a subsequent double given up to Austin Marchman ended Civelli’s outing.

Observations

Long live the longball: Tattnall built a covered batting cage facility during the offseason, a facility that almost immediately gave the Trojans’ bats a timing and power boost. The fifth-inning homers in Game 1, along with the homers from Ham and Houston in Game 2, continue to demonstrate Tattnall’s offensive power, with the Trojans scoring 25 runs in four state playoff games.

Those arms are good, too: Tattnall’s pitchers extended a streak of allowing three or fewer runs in a game to 10 games with the doubleheader sweep. Since March 1, the only teams to score more than three runs on Tattnall are Deerfield-Windsor and Holy Innocents, teams that are still playing in their respective state association playoffs.

They said it

Houston on the sweep: “I’m real proud of the way the team played, especially after the last round when we didn’t play like Tattnall baseball. I’m really proud of the way we came back this round. We really played ball, both on offense and on defense.”

Blair on Ham’s first-game homer: “That took a lot of pressure off my shoulders. I was sitting in the dugout and I’m just thinking, ‘Make it hurt, Trey,’ because they intentionally walked Logan. He got up, and he made it hurt, put some runs on the board and took some weight off my shoulders. Then I just went out there and did my thing.”

Ham on the effectiveness of Tattnall pitching: “Matt and Garrett have been great all year. Matt dominates every time out, and Garrett’s great, too. We can’t ask much more from our No. 1 and 2 guys. They’re just great pitchers.”

What’s next?

Tattnall hosts Holy Innocents in next week’s semifinals, with the first two games set for Wednesday, May 17. Holy Innocents, which beat Tattnall 9-7 on April 8 in the second of two games the Trojans played that day, beat King’s Ridge Christian 3-2 and 4-1 in Wednesday’s quarterfinals.

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