Posted: Wednesday, February 23rd 2011 at 11:59pm
Baseball: Red Elephants pound out win over Raiders in opener
By Jeff Hart Staff
Gainesville's Michael Lorentz, center, celebrates with teammates after scoring on an error from Habersham Central on Wednesday in Gainesville.
GAINESVILLE -- "Humble" is how Gainesville baseball coach Jeremy Kemp described his group Wednesday in the their season opener at Ivey-Watson Field.
Those that watched Kemp’s Red Elephants pound Habersham Central 15-0 in three innings may have been thinking of other adjectives, like "wow."
Gainesville (1-0) banged out 13 hits, including two long home runs, and took advantage of four Habersham Central errors in getting the win on a night when Gainesville retired former great Chris Carpenter’s No. 10 on the leftfield wall.
“These guys came out and really got after it,” Kemp said. “They’ve been preparing and working hard to get ready for this and I’m pleased with how we played.”
The game was the first of a home-and-away series with the two teams playing at noon Saturday in Mt. Airy.
Stephen Mason went the abbreviated distance, allowing just one hit and striking out three in three innings to get the win for Gainesville. Michael Lorentz had three hits to lead the offense. Will Maddox had two hits and four RBI, Ryan Griffith had two hits and two RBI, and Mason had two hits and scored three runs.
But the highlight may have been freshman Michael Gettys, who belted a two-run home run in his first-ever varsity at-bat.
“That was neat,” Kemp said. “I don’t think that has happened very often. We also had another freshman, Sims Griffith, at short and he made a good play on the first batter to get an out so we’re excited about our young guys.”
With six returning starters from last year’s Region 7-AAA championship team, the Class AAA fifth-ranked Elephants have high expectations to either match last year’s run to the Elite 8 or go even further.
But Kemp said he is not worried about his charges taking too much out of a lopsided win in their first game.
“These guys are humble and they work hard and just play the game. They don’t listen too much to what people are saying,” Kemp said. “I expect them to come out Saturday just like they did tonight.”
After Mason set down the Raiders in order in the bottom of the first, Gainesville wasted little time in getting going sending 16 batters to the plate. Mason led off with a double and would score on a one-out triple by Will Maddox. Maddox would score on a RBI ground out by Hunter Anglin to make it 2-0. Habersham had a chance to get out of the inning right there but a Ryan Griffith ground ball was booted opening the flood gates.
The Elephants would add 10 more runs – all unearned – in the inning, highlighted by a two-run home run from Gettys and a two-run blast from Ryan Griffith as 11 straight batters reached. They chased Habersham starter Clayton Oliver, who surrendered seven hits and walked two but allowed just two earned runs, in two-thirds of an inning.
Gainesville tacked on another run in the second on a two-out double from Skyler Weber scoring Mason. They finished off the Raiders (0-2) in the third with two more runs, capped by an RBI double from pinch-hitter Chad Petree scoring Lorentz.
Habersham’s lone hit came in the top of the third from Jake Brewer.
Alex Smith pitched 1 1/3 innings in relief allowing four runs on five hits for Habersham Central. The game-clinching hit came off Dustin Fricks, who came on in relief of Smith in the third inning.
© Copyright 2013 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.