Wolves rally in Game 2

CALHOUN - The Class AA semifinal series will go to a deciding third game today.

What would you expect from a matchup of the No. 1 and No. 2 teams.

No. 2 Wesleyan (28-5-1) scored three times in the bottom of the seventh inning to stay alive with a dramatic 11-10 victory in the second game of a wild doubleheader Monday night.

Top-ranked Calhoun (32-2) won the opener 12-5 to end Wesleyan's 21-game winning streak, but the Wolves wouldn't let the Yellow Jackets complete the sweep.

Calhoun, the visiting team for the second game despite being the host, scored twice without a hit in the top of the seventh to break a tie. Wesleyan wasn't going to quit, however.

Calhoun didn't even get an out in the bottom of the inning. The Wolves used five straight hits to get the comeback win, Greg Gossett's infield hit put Wesleyan within a run and then Andrew Donovan singled up the middle off Calhoun reliever Charlie Culberson to bring home the tying and winning runs.

The deciding game is at 4 p.m. today, with the winner advancing to play Holy Innocents' for the Class AA title this weekend. The Bears, which finished second to Wesleyan in Region 6-AA, swept Callaway 17-2 and 10-0 Monday.

There was no sweep to be had between Calhoun and Wesleyan. Just a lot of hits and drama.

The teams boast two of Georgia's top high school pitchers - senior Josh Smoker of Calhoun and junior Grayson Garvin of Wesleyan. But neither lived up to his billing.

Although he improved to 12-0 in the opener, Smoker allowed just one less earned run than he had all season. The left-hander came in with a 0.66 ERA, but gave up five runs on seven hits.

Then in the second game, Garvin allowed 17 hits and eight runs in six innings, throwing 127 pitches. He had recently gone 482⁄3 innings without allowing a run and is 10-1.

Wesleyan scored five runs in the bottom of the first inning in the second game, highlighted by James Ramsey's eighth homer of the season with two on. With that kind of cushion Garvin would have normally been in control. But not against Calhoun.

The Yellow Jackets scored five times themselves in the second inning and then the teams battled back and forth the rest of the way.

Down 7-5, Wesleyan tied it in the fifth inning, Gossett getting a big pinch-hit single. Then each team scored in the sixth, with Connor Winn hitting his 11th homer of the season for Wesleyan.

But Calhoun scored twice without a hit in the top of the seventh and it looked like Wesleyan's season might be over.

It wasn't. Not at all.

Singles by Garvin, Parker Brunelle and Gossett loaded the bases and Calhoun coach Chip Henderson pulled starter Brodie Pullen (10-1) in favor of Culberson, the shortstop who had been the hitting star of the doubleheader.

But Rick Anderson delivered an infield single for an RBI and Donovan, the losing pitcher in the opener, came through with his winning hit.

Freshman Brooks Colquitt, who gave up the two runs in the top of the seventh after issuing a walk and hitting a batter, ended up getting the victory.

The right-hander (4-0) is scheduled to start today's game, with Culberson (6-1) starting for Calhoun.

Culberson reached base eight times in nine trips in the doubleheader, but that wasn't enough.

Wesleyan battled back twice against Smoker in the first game, only to see Calhoun score seven times in the sixth inning on six hits and two walks, one intentional.

Donovan (5-2) was pulled with the bases loaded and one out, and the Wolves' bullpen couldn't keep the Yellow Jackets from a big inning.

Kevin Ruiz walked in a run, then allowed RBI singles to Brad Moss and Smoker before being replaced by Phillip Freeman.

He didn't fare any better, giving up a bases-clearing double to Curt Welch and a RBI single to Michael Johnson.

Culberson hit his sixth homer of the postseason and 16th overall to give Calhoun a 3-0 lead in the second inning. But the Wolves tied it the top of the fourth on Brunelle's two-on blast to left field off Smoker. It was Brunelle's fifth homer of the season. The Wolves soon found themselves behind again, though, as Calhoun scored two tainted runs in the bottom of the fourth. But Wesleyan came back again, Anderson driving in two runs with a two-strike single against Smoker to tie the game.

Wesleyan had seven hits off Smoker and the five runs he allowed were the most he'd given up all year. He struck out eight, walked four - two intentional - and hit two batters. Smoker threw 102 pitches, 66 of them strikes.

Donovan struck out seven and both of the walks he issued were intentional. But he gave up 10 hits and eight runs, seven earned.

Culberson led Calhoun with his homer, a double and a single, scoring three times and driving in two. Smoker, Moss, Welch and Johnson all had two hits for Calhoun, which finished with 14 hits.