Emerson, Ga. – For the second straight year, the Marietta Patriots (18-15) will be playing for a Sunbelt title as they won 6-2 and 4-2 over the Norcross Astros in games two and three of the Semi-Finals Thursday night at the Lakepoint Sports Complex.
Going into Thursday's game, the Patriots trailed Norcross 1-0 in their best of three series after dropping Game One 7-1 on Saturday, but rallied to win games two and three and advance to their second straight Sunbelt Championship Series.
“We made it,” said Patriots head coach Gil Navarro. “We expected to win, and that’s what got us here. The fact that we were able to pull it off and they continued to believe in themselves says everything about this club.”
The Patriots will face the Brookhaven Bucks in the championship series. Game one is on Friday, August 3rd, at the Lakepoint Sports Complex at 7 p.m.
Nate Stinson went 4-for-8 to lead Marietta at the plate. Randy Guevarez hit two home runs for the Pats in game two, while Livingston Morris drove in all four of Marietta’s runs with two hits in the game three.
GAME TWO (Marietta 6, Norcross 2)
Game two resumed with Marietta leading 2-0 in the second inning after it originally started on Monday but was suspended due to rain. The Patriots picked up right where they left off as Randy Guevarez hit a solo home run over the left field wall to increase Marietta’s lead to 3-0. The score remained that way until the sixth as Nate Stinson doubled and Matthew Vaccaro drove him home with an RBI single to make it 4-0 Patriots.
Norcross scored a run in the top of the seventh to cut the deficit to 4-1. But Marietta answered right back in the bottom-half as Trey Vanderpool reached on an error by Sam Freitas. Guevarez then made the Astros pay as he hit a two-out home run that bounced off the top of the left field wall and into the trees to increase the Patriots’ lead to 6-1.
After the resumption on Thursday, Harrison Osborn (3-0) took the mound for in relief for Marietta and pitched 5-1/3 innings, allowing one run on five hits with four strikeouts and a walk to pick up his third victory of the season.
Josh Johnston hit a solo home run for Norcross in the eighth, but that was as close as they would get as Marietta evened the series, setting up a winner take-all game three.
GAME THREE (Marietta 4, Norcross 2)
With no score in the second, the Patriots loaded the bases with one out before Livingston Morris hit a base-clearing double on the first pitch he faced from Will White (1-2) to give Marietta a 3-0 lead.
The score remained that way until the seventh as Joe Stucky led off the inning with a double before Livingston Morris drove him home with an RBI single to increase the Patriots’ lead to 4-0.
The Patriots ran into some trouble in the eighth as Nick Clarno hit a solo home run before the Astros loaded the bases with one out. Another run came across on a groundout to first before Brooks Luther struck out Kel Johnson to escape the jam with a 4-2 lead.
Will Griffin (2-1) pitched 5-2/3 innings to pick up his second victory of the season for Marietta. The right-handed rising senior from the University of New Orleans allowed no runs on one hit with six strikeouts and two walks. Matthew Swain retired all three batters he faced in the ninth to pick up his second save of the season.