By Alicia Couch Payne
The North Gwinnett baseball team did not have a straight path to reach this year’s final four. In their elite eight appearance at home against Etowah, the Bulldogs won their first game 6-1, Etowah rallied and took game two 3-0. This forced a third game that they started playing on Thursday night but rain caused the rest of the game to be postponed until Friday night.
In game one, Brandt Pancer delivered a solid pitching performance for North going the whole game. He had five strikeouts and gave up only five hits and one earned run. On the offensive side, North had 11 hits and put six earned runs on the board. Michael Borah had a home run, went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Jarrett Burney had an RBI double while Jayden Perrine added an RBI with his sacrifice fly. Other offensive contributors for North were Brian Leimkuehler, Corey Collins, William Bennett, and Parker Waggoner.
In game two, North’s offense struggled and never managed to get on the board causing North to lose to Etowah.
Game three started out on Thursday night with North’s Jayden Perrine on the mound. The game was suspended after two innings on Thursday due to rain. The teams returned to the field at North Gwinnett High School on Friday night to finish what they had started. Perrine pitched a shutout game against Etowah. North’s batters proved too much for Etowah with a 7-0 win to advance to the final four.
North Gwinnett (31-6) will host No. 1 Parkview (32-4) on Tuesday for a doubleheader with the “if” game falling on Wednesday in the State AAAAAAA Final Four. The winner of this matchup will face the winner of the Grayson – Hillgrove game for the State Champion title.