GHSA Playoffs: Mill Creek Surges Past Norcross in Game 3

Phil Kerber
PBR Florida/JUCO Wire

It took a winner-take-all game three in the first round series between hosts Mill Creek, the No. 2 seed out of Region 6, and Norcross, the no. 3 seed out of Region 7. Mill Creek took game one 12-2 before Norcross took game two in walk-off fashion 4-2. Game three looked to be going Norcross’ way, but the Mill Creek bats caught fire as they took the decisive game 13-3 in six innings.

Norcross struck right away in the first inning. C Daniel Haab led the game off with a single to right field. Three hitter CF Bryant Rhooms, the hero for Norcross in game two, got the Blue Devils on the board when he laced a double down the left field line, driving in Haab. THe lead grew to 2-0 in the second inning when Norcross got the barrels going with two outs. DH Sam Howard placed a grounder through the left side of the infield. Haab followed suit with an infield single. 1B Pierce Thomas drove in the second run of the game with his hard hit single to center field.

The bottom of the second inning is when the tide began to change. Mill Creek collected three hits in the inning, but were able to scratch across six runs in the inning thanks to a number of miscues by Norcross. James Schmidt led off the inning with a double, Carson Renz followed him by drawing a walk. What should have been a double play ball by Drew Cadena, turned into an overthrow at third base and a run scoring. Blaze McAuley then made the Blue Devils pay by blasting a double off the center field wall to put the Hawks up 3-2. Mill Creek would not stop there either, three more runs would come across in the inning to make it 6-2.

Mill Creek picked things back up in the fourth inning when they pushed the lead to 8-2. Tim Simay reached base on an error by the shortstop, and then, through some heads up baserunning, took second base as the defense collected the ball.

Simay came around to score shortly after on C Alex Boychuk’s (South Carolina commit) RBI single up the middle. The hit train continued with Keaton Anthony driving in Boychuk the very next at-bat.

The runs just kept coming for the Hawks. In the fifth inning, pinch hitter Gavin Sondak led off with a double to left field. Jacob Allen brought Sondak around to score on his single, turning over the lineup for leadoff hitter Brendan York. York took this opportunity to take an elevated pitch over the left field fence for a two run home run, making it 11-2.

Norcross was able to scrape across one run in the top half of the sixth inning, but it would only be a consolation prize. Mill Creek needed two runs to end the game by mercy rule and got just that. McAuley added his second double of the day, driving in the necessary runs to end the game.

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