Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Peachtree Ridge starting pitcher Tyler Haswell (22) delivers a pitch to a Mill Creek batter during high school baseball action at Peachtree High School in Suwanee on Wednesday. Peachtree Ridge defeated Mill Creek 5-4.
SUWANEE -- It has become apparent that Cole Rives has a flair for dramatic finishes during his senior year at Peachtree Ridge.
Back on November 21 in the Bulldog Classic at North Gwinnett, Rives sank a 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds remaining in the game to the Peachtree Ridge basketball team a 67-64 victory over Greater Atlanta Christian.
Wednesday, on Peachtree Ridge's Senior Night, Rives drove a 2-2 fastball from Mill Creek reliever Kevin Kirk over the left-field wall to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Lions a dramatic 5-4 win in a crucial Region 7-AAAAA game.
With the win, Peachtree Ridge (16-9,11-6) remained alive for the No. 2 seed out of 7-AAAAA in the state tournament and will play at Norcross on Friday in the regular-season finale.
Mill Creek (17-8, 12-5), despite the loss to Peachtree Ridge, wrapped up the 7-AAAAA title and the No. 1 seed heading into next week's state tournament.
"The first couple of innings we didn't play well, but we preach the big inning and got one in the third to get us back in it," said Peachtree Ridge head coach Ryan Hanik. "And then Cole came up big for us. Cole is a competitor and I couldn't be happier for a kid like him."
Mill Creek jumped out to a 3-0 lead with two runs in the second and one more in the third.
In the second, Dillon Kokinos reached on an error that scored Logan Moseley (3-for-4) to make it 1-0 Mill Creek.
Tyler Boldt followed with an RBI single to score Tad Newman and the Hawks were out in front 2-0.
Mill Creek added a run in the third when Nick Tillman scored on a single from Tim Hernandez and a pair of throwing errors on the play by Peachtree Ridge to stretch the lead to 3-0.
But Peachtree Ridge rallied in the bottom of the inning with a four-run outburst to take a 4-3 lead.
Rives drove home Tripp Miller with a sacrifice fly and Robert Sanchez came up with a two-run single to score Steve Tomlinson and Chris Wanger to tie the game at 3-3.
Brian Hanberry's fielder's choice pushed across Billy Best to give Peachtree Ridge its fist lead of the game at 4-3.
Mill Creek eventually tied the contest at 4-4 in the top of the fifth as Hernandez (2-for-4) singled home Tillman.
That only set the stage for Rives.
"That was huge tonight," said Rives, "We were playing the No. 1 team in our region and one of the top teams in the state. We knocked them off and now we need to win Friday to get that No. 2 seed. I had seen a fastball earlier that I missed, so I wanted another chance and got it."
For Mill Creek, it was a tough way to lose, But it was also rewarding to wrap up the region title and the No.1 seed out of 7-AAAAA.
"Region titles are special," said Mill Creek head coach Doug Jones. "That's the ultimate goal to win the region title and get to the state tournament. Then you move to the next level in the state tournament and just take it one series at a time. I'm heart-broken for our kids right now, but proud of them for they've accomplished so far.