Creekview, the No. 4 seed out of Region 7AAAAA, emerged in the eighth inning in the first game Friday, when it scored four runs to win 6-2. Region 5AAAAA champion Allatoona came up big in the top of the seventh inning of the nightcap and held on to win 3-1.
The opening game had been tied at 2-all since the first inning, and the second game had been deadlocked at 1-all since the second.
The decisive third game will be played at 4 p.m. today, with Creekview winning the coin toss as the designated home team.
“Both teams played 15 innings of really good baseball. That’s, what, four-and-a-half hours of really good baseball?” Creekview coach Mike Nayman said. “You saw pitchers that gutted it out, and both teams came up with a couple of big plays when they needed. I don’t think either team is going to pull away from the other. We’re going to be neck-to-neck all the way to the finish line, regardless of who wins.”
Allatoona fell to 25-3 on the season, suffering just its second loss to a team from Georgia.
Creekview (17-11) did all its eighth-inning damage in Game 1 with two outs.
Austin Smith started things off with a double to keep the inning alive. After Allatoona opted to intentionally walk Kyle Wilkie, who had connected for a two-run single in the first and two fly balls to the wall in his next two at-bats, Nick Williams plated the go-ahead run with a single. Ben Wynett then added insurance with a three-run home run.
Creekview reliever Case Carmichael made it interesting in the bottom half of the inning by striking out the side, though he also allowed three walks.
Allatoona had its chances in the first game, including in the eighth, when it left the bases loaded. The Buccaneers left a total of nine runners on base, and they stranded runners in scoring position in the third, fourth and fifth innings.
Allatoona took advantage of two Creekview errors in the seventh inning of Game 2.
With one out, Brandon Rainey attempted to steal home and made it in safely when Wilkie dropped the ball while trying to apply the tag at the plate. Two batters later, Justin Evans hit an RBI single to score pinch-hitter Jordan Wilmert.
“We executed.” Allatoona coach Keith Hansen said. “That was one of the things we talked about all year, being able to execute. In the first game, we had people on base and had a couple of opportunities. We just didn’t execute.”
South Carolina-bound Allatoona pitcher Clarke Schmidt was solid on the mound in the nightcap, as he attempted to salvage the series and the Buccaneers’ season. He gave up the one run on three hits, one walk and struck out 11 batters.
In the opener, Creekview pitcher Jordan Pickerell dodged six walks by holding Allatoona to six hits and keeping the Buccaneers off the board after the first inning. He also had seven strikeouts.
The only runs Allatoona mustered in Game 1 came on a two-run double by Jacob Wilkersen.
The Buccaneers took a 1-0 lead in Game 2 on an RBI single to center by Drew Swanson, but Creekview tied it on the second when Wynett’s grounder to the shortstop scored Smith.