Veterans beats Whitewater to advance at state

Game 3. No problem.

Veterans proved that last weekend in a series against Statesboro. It put an exclamation on it Friday when it beat Whitewater 5-2 in the third and deciding game between the two. As a result, the Warhawks moves into the Elite Eight. The will host Flowery Branch, the three seed out of Region 8, which beat Arabia Mountain 10-0 in their third and deciding game. (Note: Both of its series have gone three games as well.)

Against the Wildcats, Matthew Nunez drove in three of Veterans’ runs. It scored one in the first without the benefit of a hit. That began with Jacob Pierce’s walk. He moved to second on Ben Gibbs’ ground out and to third on Leyton Pinckney’s ground out, then scored on a passed ball with Derek Wylie in the box.

Wylie started the game on the mound. He started the game with a pair of strikeouts – he had eight in his five and a third innings of work – but then gave up a pair of singles. Those were two of only four, and those proved not to be a threat as he coaxed the next batter into a popup.

He also walked four batters. One of those – to lead off the third – came back to haunt him. He struck out the next batter, but walked the third. Then he hit the next. With the bases loaded, Dylan Morris’ ground out got the first home and tied it at 1.

The Warhawks took the lead back – for good – the next inning. Pickney (1-3) doubled with an out. Jeremy Horton replaced him as a courtesy runner. He moved to third on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch.

Both went scoreless in the fourth – Whitewater with a walk and Veterans going one-two-three.

The Wildcats went in order in the fifth and the Warhawks finally gained some breathing room with a trey.

Pierce (1-3) singled to start the inning. With a ground out, Pinckney and Wylie walked. Nunez (2-3) then doubled to the corner in left. Pierce scored. Horton, who came in to run for Pinckney scored, and Clifford Pless, who pinch ran for Wylie scored.

Whitewater had a leadoff single negated in the sixth. It managed to manufacture one in the seventh off of Jackson Williams – he came in with one out in the sixth – but that, too, was without the aid of a hit; a walk, pair of errors, passed ball on a third strike.