JOHNS CREEK, Ga. -- The format of the Georgia High School Association state baseball playoffs with doubleheaders played on the first day of best-of-3 series leads to some abrupt endings.
The Harris County Tigers experienced that Tuesday, losing 4-2 and 4-1 to Johns Creek in the Class AAAA quarterfinals.
"You don't come up here expecting this," Harris County coach Steve Westmoreland said. "You expect the worst it will be is a split and play Game 3 tomorrow.
"We picked a bad day not to play our best, not to take anything away from what they did. They are a good baseball team. They have a chance to win it. It would have been nice to execute a little better and get some base hits."
The first loss was the result of defensive lapses that led to four runs (three unearned) in one inning. The second loss was more due to an inability to solve southpaw Ryan O'Connell, who limited the Tigers to just five hits.
Payne Kosobucki was the hard-luck loser in Game 1 as only one of the four runs he allowed were earned. He gave up four hits and two walks to go with six strikeouts.
All of the runs the Gladiators scored came in the bottom of the fifth. Steven Siegfried led off with a single, and
O'Connell followed by laying down a bunt, which he beat out for single after no one initially fielded it.
Chase Solomon tried to sacrifice the runners along, and Kosobucki slipped while fielding the ball. Kosobucki then threw low to first base. Second baseman Ty Edwards, who was covering first, couldn't stop the throw, and it went into the bullpen down the right-field line. Siegfried and O'Connell scored for a 2-1 lead.
Dylan Dore hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Solomon for the third run.
Kosobucki hit the next batter, Skye Overton. Brandon Gold hit a bouncer to Edwards, who mishandled the ball, which bounded into short center field. Overton never stopped running and scored for a 4-1 lead.
The Tigers got the first two runners on in the sixth as Edwards and Cody Sheedy singled. Justin Strickland laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance them to second and third. But Matthew Gorst got Andrew Fears and Kevin Shavers to fly out.
Harris County tried to rally in the seventh as Tyler Milner got a one-out single. After Kosobucki struck out, Zach Rovig reached on an error by O'Connell, the first baseman. Edwards, who was the only Tiger with multiple hits, singled in Zach Thomason, the courtesy runner for Milner.
Johns Creek brought in Whit Collmuss to replace Gorst. Collmuss got Sheedy to hit into a fielder's choice to end the game.
The Tigers scored the first run in the top of the fifth. Walker Borneman led off with an infield single. Thomason, running for Borneman, went to second on Milner's sacrifice. Kosbucki singled, sending Thomason to third. Courtesy runner TaQuan Marshall took off for second, but no one covered the base, and catcher Justin Friend's throw sailed into center field, allowing Thomason to score.
Gorst picked up the win. He allowed two runs on seven hits to go with four strikeouts.
Overton gave the Gladiators a 1-0 lead in Game 2 when he lined a homer over the fence in left field in the top of the first.
Johns Creek added two more runs in the third. Dore led off with a double and went to third when Overton beat out a bunt. The Gladiators then executed a double steal as Dore scored for a 2-0 lead. Overton, who went to third on Cody Sheedy's error on the throw home trying to get Dore. Gold drove in Overton with a sacrifice fly for a 3-0 lead.
The Gladiators took a 4-0 lead in the sixth. The Tigers scored their lone run in the bottom of the sixth as Fears singled in Edwards.
Cole Johnson suffered the loss. He gave up four runs (three earned) on seven hits.
Johns Creek, which is in just its third year of existence, will the play the Pope vs. Loganville winner in the semifinals.
This was Harris County's first trip to the quarterfinals since 2006. That year, the Tigers lost to Blessed Trinity, which went on to beat Columbus in the finals.
Tuesday at Johns Creek
Harris Co. 000 010 1 --2 7 2
Johns Creek 000 040 x --4 4 2
WP--Matthew Gorst. S--Whit Collmuss. LP--Payne Kosobucki. Leading hitters--Harris County Cody Sheedy 1-4; Justin Strickland 1-2; Walker Borneman 1-3; Tyler Milner 1-2; Payne Kosobucki 1-2; Ty Edwards 2-3, RBI; Zach Thomason 2R. Johns Creek Dylan Dore 1-2, RBI, Matthew Gost 1-2, 2B; Steven Siegfried 1-2, R; Ryan O'Connell 1-2.
Johns Creek 102 001 0 --4 8 0
Harris Co. 000 001 0 --1 5 2
WP--Ryan o'Connell. LP--Cole Johnson. Leading hitters--Johns Creek Dylan Dore 2-4, 2B, R; Skye Overton 3-4, Hr, RBI; Brandon Gold 0-2, RBI; Friend 1-4, 2B; Gorst 1-2, RBI; Solomon 1-3, 2B. Harris County Cody Sheedy 1-3; Walker Borneman 1-3; Andrew Fears 2-3, RBI; Tyler Milner 1-3. Edwards 0-2, R. Records--Harris County 24-7. Johns Creek 26-6. Next--Harris County season over. Johns Creek state semifinals Monday against Pope-Loganville winner.