2019 Team Georgia Junior Sunbelt Classic recap

Posted 6/12/19

The 2019 Junior Team Georgia squad finished third in the Junior Sunbelt Classic in Oklahoma. (Special Photo: Brittany Galvin)

 

2019 Team Georgia finished strong

In one of the best showings in recent memory, Team Georgia ended the 25th annual Junior Sunbelt Classic on a four-game winning streak and finished third with a 7-3 record. In their final game, they scored an impressive 9-2 victory over Team Tennessee who had defeated them earlier in the tournament. 

Team Georgia opened with a 7-1 victory over Canada at Eastern Oklahoma State College in Wilburton. Pitchers Liam Sullivan (Marist), Leo Giannoni (Wheeler) and Kyle Hilton (Savannah Christian) combined to allow just a run on two hits, while the Team Georgia offense made the most of its seven hits.

In the nightcap on opening day in perhaps the best game of the tournament, Team Georgia dropped a 1-0 decision to Tennessee behind an excellent pitching duel between Georgia's Carter Holton (Benedictine) and Tennessee's Jack Dougherty. Holton, a sophomore, struck out 12, while Dougherty allowed just two hits (both to Westminster's William Lybrook). Tennessee took advantage of errors in the bottom of the seventh to score the game's only run.

On Day 2, Team Georgia used a strong pitching performance from starter Colin Caldwell (Harrison) as they held on to beat Mississippi 4-3. Reliever Britt Metts (Jeff Davis) induced a ground ball that second baseman Liam Sullivan (Marist), shortstop Tyler Andrews (Lowndes) and first baseman Paul Hegeman (Glynn Academy) turned for a 4-6-3 double play to preserve the victory. Reid Robertson (Pope) led the offense by going 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs.

But later that evening, Team Georgia played perhaps its worst game of the tournament and lost 5-3 to Missouri. Three errrors in the third inning helped Missouri score all five of its runs after Team Georgia had taken a 1-0 lead. Mikal Mascarello (Statesboro) had a two-run single to cut the deficit to two runs late in the game, but Team Georgia couldn't draw any closer and fell to 2-2 in the standings. Missouri pitcher Parker Wright allowed just four hits to earn the complete-game victory.

On Day 3, Team Georgia rebounded to beat Colorado 9-5 in its only game that day. Behind Reid Robertson, who went 4-for-4 with a solo homer and two RBIs, Team Georgia rolled. Carter Holton finished 3-for-4 at the plate with an RBI, while Cairo's Garrett Gainous went 2-for-4.

But Day 4 started out badly. In a mid-morning contest, Team Georgia committed three errors and could do little offensively against Texas starting pitcher Kristian Curtis. They lost 1-0 despite a strong pitching performance from Ola's Patrick Holloman to fall to 3-3 in the standings. However, it was the last time Team Georgia would lose in the tournament.

Later that evening, Mikal Mascarello went 3-for-3 at the plate with a solo homer and three RBIs to help Team Georgia to an 8-2 victory over Oklahoma Gold. Strong pitching also contributed to the victory. Starter Reid Fagerstrom (Northgate) allowed two unearned runs on four hits in five innings of work before yielding to reliever Leo Giannoni (Wheeler), who allowed just a hit in two innings. Giannoni worked a 1-2-3 seventh to preserve the victory. Reid Robertson finished 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, while Garrett Gainous (Cairo) finished 1-for-3 with a double. 

On Day 5, Team Georgia rode its momentum to a 5-0 shutout of Arizona behind Reid Robertson and Dylan Garner (Pike County) who combined on a three-hit shutout. Team Georgia scored all of its runs in the second inning. Will Pearson (North Oconee) led the offense by going 2-for-3 with two doubles. Patrick Holloman, William Lybrook, Paul Hegeman, Britt Metts, Tyler Andrews and Carter Holton all had a hit in the game.

Later that evening, Team Georgia defeated Oklahoma Blue 3-2 to improve to 6-3 in the standings. Pitchers Pierce Williams (Alexander) and Leo Giannoni combined to allow two runs (one earned) on four hits. Williams struck out 11 in five innings, while Giannoni worked two scoreless innings to earn the save. Jimbo Brown (Bremen) had a two-run homer and finished 2-for-3 at the plate. Garrett Gainous also finished 2-for-3.

On Day 6, Team Georgia got its much-anticipated rematch against Tennessee with the winner earning third-place and the loser fourth. Five pitchers -- Liam Sullivan (Marist), Will Pearson, Hurston Waldrep (Thomasville), Leo Giannoni and Carter Holton -- combined to allow just two runs on six hits. The offense provided Team Georgia pitchers all the run support they needed, erupting for nine runs on 13 hits. Garrett Gainous (Cairo) went 3-for-3 with a double, while Patrick Holloman (Ola) and Holton finished with two hits apiece.

Leo Giannoni, Carter Holton and Reid Robertson were selected to the Junior Sunbelt All-Tournament Team.