Wesleyan catcher Grant Colton hit four home runs in a state-playoff game Tuesday in Savannah – and his team still lost.
Benedictine advanced to the Class AA championship series with a 19-16 Game 3 victory. The teams had split their double-header on Monday, with Benedictine winning 9-6 and Wesleyan winning 7-0.
Benedictine scored six runs in the top of the seventh inning Tuesday for a 19-9 lead, then sweated it out as Wesleyan scored seven runs and Colton, a Samford University signee, hit his fourth homer. Colton had seven RBI. He had only four home runs in the regular season but hit six in the playoffs.
Wesleyan’s Christian Stark was 4-for-5, and Jahmai Jones was 2-for-3 with a home run. Wesleyan used six pitchers.
Benedictine, which reached its first state final since winning a title in 1961, had several hitting stars of its own. Ben Wright was 4-for-5 with a double and a triple. Ryan Woidwode was 3-for-4 with two RBI. Patrick Maguire was 3-for-4 with five RBI.
Stevie Powers, Benedictine’s fifth pitcher, got the final two outs in what was Benedictine coach Kevin Farmer’s 300th career victory. Powers was 2-for-4 at the plate.
‘’Thirty-five runs? That was incredible,’’ Powers told the Savannah Morning News. “That’s a football score. When we got that big lead, I didn’t think they would fight back like they did. As it started getting closer, I looked at Coach Farmer and he smiled at me. I knew he was going to bring me in.”
Wesleyan coach Brian Krehmeyer had this take on it: It’s not like there were a bunch of errors being made, and the pitching wasn’t that bad. Both team’s hitters were simply on, and neither team wanted to surrender to the other. It was an epic test of wills by both teams and the individuals on those teams. Every batter went to the plate with the determination to get a hit. It was as if one team said, ‘So you scored that many runs in your half of the inning; well, we’ll score the same or more in our half [of the inning].”
State records for Georgia high school baseball aren’t kept, but Colton’s four home runs in losing effort isunprecedented in Georgia baseball history. The Braves’ Bob Horner hit four homers in 1986 in a game against the Expos. The Braves lost 11-8. That’s the only time it has happened in the major leagues since 1901.
The 19-16 score isn’t close to a state record for total runs scored. Providence Christian beat King’s Ridge in a 2011 playoff game 27-18.
Benedictine will play Greater Atlanta Christian in Savannah for the title. The teams will play a double-header on Saturday with a third game Monday if necessary.