This past Friday, the PHS Dragons baseball team traveled down to Atlanta to take on the #3 seed out of region 6-AAAA, the St. Pius Golden Lions in the first round of the 4A State Tournament. This was a 3-game series meaning the team to first win two games, advanced to the next round.
The Dragons were the away team in game 1 and were looking to jump out early on the Golden Lions. Travis Huffman led things off with a double to left center on the first pitch he saw, firing up the Pickens dugout. Tyler Garner then cranked out a two-run bomb bringing the Dragon faithful to their feet as Pickens took a 2-0 lead. Not to be outdone, Dalton Presley found a pitch to his liking and sent it over the left center fence to make it 3-0 after one half inning. St. Pius got a run in the bottom of the frame, and after 1, the Dragons held a 3-1 lead.
Both pitchers were able to get out of jams and settle down for the most part to the 5th inning. The Golden Lions were able to plate 4 in the bottom of the inning to take the lead, 5-3. St. Pius then added on to that lead in the bottom of the 6th with 3 runs to stretch it out to 8-3 going to the 7th. The Dragons tried to get a rally going after a hit by pitch, a single, & an RBI single from Dylan Huffman, but it would not be enough as the Golden Lions took game 1, 8-4.
Travis Huffman went 6 innings giving up 6 ER, & striking out 5 on 99 pitches & went 1-3 with a double, & 1 run scored
Walker Lawrence went 1-3 with a single
Tyler Garner went 1-3 with a home run, 2 RBI, & a run scored
Dalton Presley went 1-2 with a home run, 1 RBI, & a run scored
Wyatt Gooch went 1-3 with a single
Dylan Huffman went 1-3 with a single, & 1 RBI
Caleb Brooks went 1-3 with a single
Dillon Champion scored a run
For game 2, the Dragons were the home team and West Ga commit Tyler Garner would be given the ball to pitch for Pickens. Garner got off to a good start, retiring the Golden Lions on 16 pitches. For St. Pius, Ga Tech commit Garrett Gooden took to the mound and proved to be as tough as advertised. In the top of the 2nd, the Golden Lions struck first with a two-run home run to go up 2-0. St. Pius added to that lead with 3 in the 3rd, to make it 5-0.
The Golden Lions stretched out the lead with three in the 5th to make it 8-0. St. Pius went on to get the win 8-0, and taking the series in the process, 2-0. The Dragons just could not get anything going only drawing two walks and getting a lone hit from Garner in game 2.
Pickens finishes the season at 16-11, and with a 2nd straight state tournament appearance. While the Dragons are losing a handful of seniors, they will be returning a big chunk of core guys with a lot of varsity experience and adding young kids that had success during the JV season for next season.