Team Georgia finishes fifth at Sunbelt Classic

Team Georgia finished fifth at the Sunbelt Classic in McAlester, Oklahoma.

 

The 2017 Junior Team Georgia finished fifth at the 23rd annual Junior Sunbelt Classic and finished with a 6-4 record.
Team Georgia opened the tournament in impressive fashion, ripping Canada 19-2 in five innings. They scored five runs in the second inning, then erupted for 14 more in the third. Rhett Daniel (Carrollton) earned the victory, pitching all five innings. He allowed two runs on four hits and struck out 10.
Tater Goodson (Benedictine) went 3-for-3 at the plate with a double and finished with six RBIs to lead the offense. Kelvin Smith (Redan) finished with a double and three RBIs. Trent Grantham (Columbus) finished 2-for-2 with a pair of RBIs. Hunter Goowin (Worth County) and Will Patota (Pinecrest Academy) also finished with two RBIs apiece.
But in the second game of the first day against Tennessee, Team Georgia had no answer for pitcher Ryan Weathers, who allowed no runs on six hits in six innings of work. Team Georgia outhit Tennessee 6-5 but still fell short.
On Day 2, Team Georgia rebounded with a pair of victories over Mississippi and eventual tournament champion Missouri.
They needed nine innings to beat Mississippi 8-6 in the opener. Cross Creek's David Hollie's scored the go-ahead run on an infield single before Team Georgia added an insurance run on an error in the top of the ninth.
Banks Griffith (Gainesville) earned the victory in relief of starter Jared Rine (Hillgrove). Hunter Foster (Jeff Davis) went 4-for-5 with a solo homer to lead the offense, while Hollie went 3-for-4 with four RBIs. Kyle Martin (North Forsyth) went 2-for-2 with a double, while Gavin Patel (Colquitt County) and Chaz Bertolani (Johns Creek) added RBIs in the game.
Team Georgia continued its torrid play in the nightcap of Day 2. Goodwin earned the victory on the mound, allowing just one earned run in 4 1/3 innings.
Team Georgia took advantage of two-run homers from Martin and Jack Haney (Cedartown). Martin, Patel and Smith each finished 3-for-4 at the plate to lead the offense. Griffith finished 2-for-4.
But Team Georgia's two-game winning streak came to an end in its only game on Day 3 when they fell 7-5 to Colorado. Hollie finished 2-for-3, while Foster went 2-for-3. Patel finished 1-for-3 with an RBI double.
On Day 4, Team Georgia wasted one of its top pitching performances of the tourney from Jack Gowen (Charlton County) in a 4-3 loss to Texas, who scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to grab the lead for good.
Gowen struck out 11 and allowed just two earned runs on three hits in 5 2/3 innings. Bertolani went 3-for-4 at the plate with a double to lead the offense. Hollie finished 2-for-3 with a double, a homer and two RBIs.
Later that day at Atoka High School, Team Georgia broke a 2-all tie with a three-run fourth inning to defeat Oklahoma Gold 9-6. Daniel, Jared Soliz (Carrollton) and Davis Allen (Calhoun) combined to shut down Oklahoma Gold.
Griffith went 3-for-3 with an RBI to lead the offense, while Bertolani went 2-for-4 with an RBI double.
On Day 5, Team Georgia dropped a 13-5 decision to Arizona. After Team Georgia rallied back from a first inning-grand slam from Arizona, a three-run fourth and a five-run fifth helped Arizona run-rule Team Georgia in five innings.
Team Georgia managed just seven hits. Griffith finished 2-for-3 with a double, while Patel was 1-for-2 with a pair of RBIs.
But Team Georgia rallied to defeat Oklahoma Blue 14-6 in five innings later in the day. Behind a pair of homers from Smith, they built a big lead and never looked back. Patel earned the victory in relief of starter Trent Grantham.
Smith finished 3-for-4 with six RBIs to lead the offense, Patota went 3-for-3 with a homer and three RBIs and Foster went 2-for-3 with a triple.
The victory over Oklahoma Blue gave Team Georgia a 5-4 record in pool play. They earned a date with Oklahoma Gold for fifth-place in the tournament on the final day.
With a razor-thin pitching staff, five pitchers consisting of Allen, Hollie, Daniel, Foster and Griffith combined to lead Team Georgia to a 7-5 victory.
Haney and Hollie homered in the game. Bertolani finished 3-for-4 with a double and a pair of RBIs to lead the offense, Evan McKown (Lovett) went 2-for-2.
Bertolani was selected to the Junior Sunbelt Classic All-Tournament Team.

Members of the team were Kyle Martin (North Forsyth), Banks Griffith (Gainesville), Hayden Donalson (Thomasville), Rhett Daniel (Carrollton), Jared Soliz (Carrollton), Hunter Goodwin (Worth County), Hunter Foster (Jeff Davis), Chaz Bertolani (Johns Creek), Davis Allen (Calhoun), Jared Rine (Hillgrove), Evan McKown (Lovett), Wil Willbanks (Newnan), David Hollie (Cross Creek), Kelvin Smith (Redan), Trent Grantham (Columbus), Jack Haney (Cedartown), Gavin Patel (Colquitt County), Tater Goodson (Benedictine), Will Patota (Pinecrest Academy) and Jack Gowen (Charlton County).  

Coaches were David Smart (LaGrange), Tony Kirkland (Colquitt County), Todd Eubanks (Bowdon), Brent Moseley (Starr's Mill) and Dave McDonald (Lovett).