No. 5 Carrollton Walks It Off Against Hebron Christian

Phil Kerber
Georgia Scouting Director

No. 5 Carrollton v Hebron Christian
March 9, 2020

Carrollton, GA -  The No. 5 ranked Carrollton Trojans, in this week's GA Power 25, played host to Class 1A power Hebron Chistian on Monday evening, looking to extend their perfect start to the season to 12 games. The game went back and forth with four lead changes. And the Lions of Hebron Christian were one out away from pulling one of the biggest upsets of the early season. However, the best teams just know how to pull out a victory when their back is against the wall. That is exactly what the Trojans did, making an improbable comeback in the bottom of the seventh to win 6-5.

Hebron Christian got on the board first in the second inning thanks to the bottom of their order, and all with two outs. OF Jackson Hackney (2021) belted a ball deep into the gap, allowing for 1B Zach Kwiatowski (2021) to rumble all the way around the bases and score the first run. Nine hole hitter OF Jaiden Stowers (2021) was then able to hit a soft liner into the outfield to bring Hackney in to score.

The score held at 2-0 Hebron Christian until the bottom of the third, when Carrollton regained control of the game by way of their explove top of the order. OF Eli Runyan (2021; South Alabama) cut the lead in half with an RBI double driven off the wall in right field, his second hit of the game. SS Parker Willis (2021) tied the game off by doing what he always does, finding a hole in the left-side of the infield with a line drive single. Up to the plate stepped DH Garrett “Bear” Madliak (2021; Georgia), Carrollton’s top power bat, and one of the best in the state. Madliak wasted no time. The right-handed hitter elevated a ball that seemed like a routine ball off the bat, except for the fact that it carried and carried and carried deep into the left center gap. Madliak wheeled around the bases for a run scoring triple, giving Carrollton the 3-2 lead. The lead would extend to 4-2 on 1B Colton Cosper’s (2021; Mercer) single up the middle.
No lead was safe in this game. Hebron Christian came back in the fifth inning with two runs of their own to tie it up at 4-4. Once again, it was nine hole hitter Stowers starting the rally with a single up the middle, turning the lineup over for 3B Jason Lockhart (2020; Tusculum). Lockhart promptly turned on a pitch and hit a laser down the right field line for a double, cutting the lead to one at 4-3. OF Jack Ihm (2020) followed up with a line drive over the second baseman’s head into right field to tie the game up.

The deadlock was broken in the top of the sixth inning when Hebron Christian struck with one run, but it could have been more. After recording the first out of the inning, the Trojans allowed the next four batters to reach base safely. Yet again, the bottom of the Hebron Christian order did what they had to do. With two men on, Hackney delivered a soft line drive to left center field, scoring a run and giving the Lions a 5-4 lead. A bunt single by Stowers then loaded the bases for the top of the order. Lockhart, just like in the fifth, turned on a pitch and drove one down the right field line. A ball that was almost certain to get down and score multiple runs, was snatched out of the air by a diving Cosper, who had moved into the outfield. With the runners thinking it was going to land, Cosper relayed the ball to the infield, and Carrollton was able to double up the runner at second base, ending the inning.
After a score bottom of the sixth and top of the seventh, Carrollton was down to its final three outs. Facing their first loss of the season, the Trojans were not about to go down without a fight. Willis led the inning off by reaching base safely via an error. However, Hebron Christian starting pitcher RHP Mason Ashby (2020) was able to get Madliak and 3B Samuel Simpson (2021; South Carolina) out. After making an incredible play an inning before, it was only fitting Cosper delivered the game-tying hit. The left-handed hitter blasted a ball off the right field wall, nearly hitting it out, tying the game. Then, the moment every kid dreams about, pinch-hitter Nick Tuggle (2020) stepped to the plate with the game on the line. Tuggle got just enough barrel on the ball to loft one into shallow left field, scoring Cosper, and the celebration was on.
Related Content