October 24, 2020

Braves blast Central in regular season finale

(Carrollton, GA) — The Braves ended a five game losing streak with a big 12-5 win at Central Friday afternoon to close out the regular season. It was an important win momentum wise for the team as they embark on the postseason next Friday at home versus Pepperell.

The Braves finished the season with a solid 18-10 record and could be contenders for the state crown along with several other Class AA squads.

“You know we hit a lull over the last week and a half offensively, but it seemed like Wednesday we got some really good at bats against that hard throwing pitcher from Whitefield and then were able to get it going today,” said Bianco Friday. “It’s nice to see the good at bats especially going into the playoffs.”

Despite the disappointment of not winning the region title and earning a No. 1 playoff seed, Bianco believes his squad can make another good run at state to follow up Elite 8 appearances the last two seasons. The Braves entered the playoffs as a No. 3 seed in 2016 so they have proven they can win big playoff games on the road.

“It’s been a really good year for these guys — 18-10 is nothing to laugh about especially with the schedule we’ve played. We are just hoping we can make another good postseason run this season and that starts with Pepperell next week.”

Senior Lee Kay conquered a big milestone during Friday’s win when he tallied his 100th RBI as a Brave, an outstanding accomplishment for a high school player.

“It’s pretty special for anyone to get 100 RBI’s — it just speaks volumes to how hard he’s worked and also says a lot about our team to be getting on base in front of him these past few years. Lee has come up with some big hits in some big spots for us,” says Bianco.

Senior Drew Hopkins also had a nice performance Friday notching two hits, two RBI’s, and three stolen bases. The first year Brave was a welcome addition to the lineup for Coach Bianco and the Braves finishing the regular season with a .324 average.

Tanner Collins also continued his solid work at the plate with two hits Friday.

Senior Trey Alford went five innings to pick up his fifth win of the season and drove home a run with a double.

The Region 5-AA No. 2 seeded Braves (18-10, 9-3) will host the Region 7-AA No. 3 seeded Pepperell Dragons (13-16, 10-4) at Alford Field next weekend in a best-of-three series to open the GHSA Class AA State Playoffs.

The teams will meet in a doubleheader Friday with a game one first pitch at 4:30 PM and if the two team split a third and deciding “if” game would take place Saturday at 1:00 PM also in Franklin.

The winner of the series will meet the winner of the Early County/Bleckley County series. Bleckley is the No. 1 seed in Region 3-AA and Early is the No. 4 seed in Region 1-AA.

The Braves would travel to Bleckley or host Early County if they advance to round two.

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