POWDER SPRINGS -- Hillgrove did most of the clutch hitting in the first game of its Class AAAAA state quarterfinal series against Parkview on Tuesday and Parkview got most of the key hits in the second.
In a rematch of last year's state championship, the Hawks won 6-3 to start the series on their home field, while the defending state champion Panthers bounced back to win 4-1 in the nightcap.
The two teams will play the deciding game today at 5:55 p.m. Parkview has yet to name a Game 3 starter and Hillgrove is planning on going with Sean O'Leary.
"This time of year, it's survive and advance," Parkview coach Chan Brown said. "You've got to do everything you can to lay it on the line and try to get a win."
Both games were won in the sixth inning.
Hillgrove overcame a pitching duel between its starter Chase Adkins and Parkview ace Matt Olson in the first game by scoring four runs in the sixth. Chad Adkins got it started with a solo home run over the left-field wall. Later in the inning, with runners on second and third with one out, Brian Johnson delivered an RBI hit and Dwayne Carroll followed with a two-run single.
After Hillgrove's Game 2 starter Tyler Graham carried a one-hitter into the sixth inning of the nightcap, Parkview began its comeback. It started with a two-run home run by Olson, and Jarrett Freeland scored Parkview's third run of the inning on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Blanton.
"Matt's done a lot for us," Brown said. "(Hillgrove) had his number all night long, and I'm glad he came through when he did."
The first game showed hints of a potential blowout in Parkview's favor in the first inning when Josh Hart hit a two-run home run over the fence with Edwin Arias on base. Arias opened the game with a single.
But Adkins settled and kept Parkview off the scoreboard until the top of the seventh. Hillgrove played stellar defense behind him, particularly at shortstop where Wesley Drain made a couple of key plays to save hits. Hillgrove tied the game 2-2 in the third on RBI hits by Tyler Weyenberg and Tyler Mauzy, who was 3-for-3 in Game 1.
Adkins worked 6 innings, giving up three runs on six hits. He walked four and struck out three to get the win. Relief pitcher Nick Andrews came in with the bases loaded in the seventh and recorded the final two outs by inducing groundouts from Olson and Freeland.
"Our kids competed (after the first inning) and were resilient," Hillgrove coach Dave Richardson said. "We had some really good at-bats. Nick Andrews came in a tough spot, facing the heart of their lineup, and we were able to get some outs from some key hitters."
Hillgrove had seven hits in the nightcap, but couldn't get enough timely hits off Parkview starter Jesse Foster. The Hawks stranded a baserunner in every inning except the sixth.
The Hawks' biggest scoring opportunity came in the fourth when Matthew Viccaro and Tyler Graham led off the inning with singles. Then Brian Johnson attempted a bunt that was caught by Foster, who turned the double play by throwing out Viccaro at second.
Olson had three RBIs in the second game with his first coming in the first inning on a groundout that scored Arias. Hillgrove tied it up in the fifth on an RBI hit by Chad Adkins.