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HoCo sweeps Lassiter to reach consecutive Final Fours for the first time in program history

The Houston County Bears hosted the Lassiter Trojans in a doubleheader in the Elite Eight of the GHSA AAAAAA Playoffs and the result was a Bears’ sweep 3-1 and 8-1 to reach consecutive Final Fours for the first time in program history. In Game One, the host got the scoring started in the last of the third when Eli Stephens was walked to carousel the bases and drive in Isaiah Galason to make the score 1-0 HoCo.

Troy Carpenter would ground into fielder’s choice to drive in Vick Gann to make it 2-0 HoCo and then a throwing error would occur to allow Kendall Jackson to score to make it 3-0 in favor of the Black, Silver, and White going into inning four. In the top of the fifth, the Trojans got on the scoreboard when Michael O’Brien reached on an E4 that would drive in Rennen Kelly to make the score 3-1 Bears.

That would ultimately be the final score of Game One as the host would shut down the visitors to preserve the 3-1 victory and take a 1-0 series lead. Troy Carpenter and Eli Stephens were responsible for both of HoCo’s rbis and Michael O’Brien was responsible for Lassiter’s lone rbi in the contest. Bears’ SP Will Allen pitched a complete game and he surrendered one unearned run on three hits, walking three, and striking out three in the process and he threw 83 pitches, 52 of which were strikes.

Lassiter’s SP Parker Wilson pitched five innings he surrendered three earned runs on two hits, walking four, and striking out three in the process while his reliever Caden Lenzi pitched one relief inning and he surrendered no runs on no hits, walking one, and striking out none in the process.

In Game Two, the Trojans were the designated home team but it was the Black, Silver, and White that got the scoring started once again, but this time it would be in the top half of the second when Isaiah Galason hit an rbi single to drive in Ethan Buffone to make the score 1-0 HoCo and Ty Waters rounded third and started for home but stopped, fell down, and barely made it successfully back to third.

Vick Gann would come up to bat and he hit a critical three run jack to left center to drive in himself, Ty Waters, and Isaiah Galason to make the score 4-0 Bears and this is Gann’s second career home run and first since March 2nd, 2023 against Helena at Hoover. Kendall Jackson would later score on a wild pitch to make the score 5-0 in favor of the designated visitors going into the last of the second.

In the last of the second, Lassiter got on the board when Rennen Kelly hit an rbi double to drive in Will Michaels to cut the gap down to 5-1 HoCo and that would be the score through five innings of play. In the top half of inning six with the bases loaded and two outs on the board, Eli Stephens hit a two rbi single to drive in Noah Odom and Isaiah Galason to make the score 7-1 in favor of the Black, Silver, and White.

In the top half of the seventh, Noah Odom hit an rbi double to drive in Camden Cunningham to make the score 8-1 in favor of the Bears and that would be the final score of Game Two as HoCo would keep Lassiter at bay in the last of the seventh to sweep the series 2-0 and return to the Final Four for the second consecutive season which is a program first.

Vick Gann led HoCo in rbis with three followed by Eli Stephens with two and Noah Odom and Isaiah Galson with one a piece while Rennen Kelly was responsible for the Trojans’ lone rbi of Game Two. HoCo’s SP Landon Tankersley pitched five innings and he surrendered one earned run on two hits, walking one, and striking out seven in the process.

Carson Small relief pitched the final two innings innings for HoCo and he surrendered no runs on one hit, walking two, and striking out two in the process while Lassiter’s pitchers combined to allow eight earned runs on seven hits, walking six, and striking out seven in the process.

The Bears improve to 29-7 overall and will travel to Marietta to play the Pope Greyhounds in a doubleheader in the Final Four on Saturday in a rematch of last season’s state final and the times are to TBA at this time. The Trojans wrap up 2024 at 21-16 overall. Game Two of tonight’s doubleheader was HoCo skipper Matt Hopkins’ 200th game as the head coach of the Black, Silver, and White and he has a record of 156-44 which is a .780 win percentage.

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