CALHOUN, Ga. — As his team walked to the dugout following a doubleheader split in its GHSA Class AA quarterfinal baseball series, Calhoun coach Chip Henderson resisted the urge to say, "Told you so," to his somewhat frustrated players.
After scoring 44 runs in four playoff wins, the Yellow Jackets were held to three runs -- one earned -- and seven hits by a stout Lovett School pitching staff Tuesday. Calhoun scored two unearned runs in the sixth inning of game one to pull out a 3-2 win, but Lovett senior right-hander Jack Geraghty then pitched a masterful two-hitter in a 2-0 Lions win.
The deciding game will be at Calhoun today at 5 p.m.
Henderson had warned his team that runs would be much harder to come by against the perennial power Lions, and the coach wasn't overly pleased that his team, after falling behind 2-0 early in game two, was a bit too aggressive at the plate against University of North Carolina-bound Geraghty.
"Hey, he shut us down and pitched a tremendous game, but we chased some balls out of the strike zone once we got behind, and it seemed we were trying to hit the ball out of the park instead of putting it in play," Henderson said. "We didn't play poorly today, but we have to make some adjustments tomorrow. But that's why we play three."
Geraghty may have limited the hits, but the Jackets (21-6-1) had plenty of opportunities, leaving runners in scoring position in each of the final three innings. Their best shot came in the sixth when Geraghty walked Jeremy Wyatt and Trent Frix to lead off the inning but retired the dangerous Josh Schubert on a fielder's choice and struck out Austin Norrell and Westin McArthur to end the threat.
Schubert was nearly Geraghty's equal on the mound, allowing only two hits in six innings, though one of those was Sean Reagan's RBI single in a two-run Lovett third inning.
"A bunch of us didn't respond well in the second game to what they were doing pitching, and hopefully we can turn that around tomorrow," said Norrell, the star at the plate and on the mound in the opener. "That kid's good, but we didn't have a great approach against him. We have to do the little things better to win game three."
Norrell earned the win in game one, going the distance on a six-hitter. Down 2-1 in the sixth, Frix singled with one out and Norrell followed an out later with a double off the wall in center to score the tying run. The throw from center field went to the backstop, allowing Norrell to reach third, and when the throw from catcher Brant Wells sailed into the outfield, he trotted home with the go-ahead run.
He then sat the Lions down in order in the seventh.
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...