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Bone's base-clearer lifts Wolves past GAC 5-4

Staff Photo: John Bohn Greater Atlanta Christian's Jackson O'Brien (18) attempts to bunt during the first inning against the Wesleyan School on Saturday. Catching is Wesleyan's Grant Colton.

Staff Photo: John Bohn Greater Atlanta Christian's Jackson O'Brien (18) attempts to bunt during the first inning against the Wesleyan School on Saturday. Catching is Wesleyan's Grant Colton.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Greater Atlanta Christian's Austin Miller (17) is tagged out on an attempted steal at third base by Wesleyan School's Johnny Richards (23) during the second inning of a baseball game played on Saturday.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Greater Atlanta Christian's Jordan Dudek (7) prepares to place a tag on Wesleyan School base runner Sam Carver during this second inning steal attempt during Saturday's game.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Greater Atlanta Christian's Rafe Chapple (9) catches a throw in time to put out Wesleyan School baserunner Griffin Bone during the second inning of Saturday's game.

PEACHTREE CORNERS -- With both Wesleyan and GAC struggling in the field throughout their baseball game Saturday afternoon at Donn Gaebelein Field, simply putting the ball in play became imperative.

And Griffin Bone did so in a big way by delivering a three-run double that helped the host Wolves come up with a come-from-behind 5-4 win and sweep the week long, three-game Region 6-AA series.

"That's one of the phrases we live by -- you hit the ball on the ground and good things happen," Wesleyan coach Brian Krehmeyer said after his team improved to 10-2 overall and 3-0 in region play.

Bone's big hit actually came in the air, but grounders and throws were an adventure most of the day, with the two teams combining for five errors that led to seven unearned runs.

That helped contribute to pitchers Trey Mannion, Andrew Sauer and Christian Stark of Wesleyan and GAC hurlers Justin Lewis and Carter Willyerd having to toil hard throughout the game.

Still, the Spartans (6-6, 0-3) had the upper hand most of the afternoon, with Greg Burland's bloop single driving in one unearned run in the first inning and Jordan Dudek's RBI single and Jackson O'Brien's sacrifice fly breaking a 1-1 tie in the fourth to give GAC a two-run lead.

But after the two teams exchanged runs in the bottom of the fourth and top of the fifth to leave the Spartans' lead at 4-2, GAC's second error of the day on Conner Woerner's one-out grounder opened the door for Wesleyan in the bottom of the fifth.

After a single by Jamai Jones and a walk to Grant Colton loaded the bases, Lewis tried to bounce back by striking out pinch-hitter Sam McWhorter for the second out of the inning.

But Bone, who had made one of the Wolves' three errors in the field earlier in the game, was ready to redeem himself.

"I was thinking (Lewis would throw) a fastball," the senior first baseman said. "So, I was just waiting back for my pitch and put all I had into it. I just had enough, but it was close."

Indeed, Bone got his fastball and launched it deep to left, where a running Austin Miller couldn't catch up to it as it one-hopped the fence.

Bone was thrown out at third trying to stretch his hit into a triple, but he cleaned the bases and vaulted Wesleyan into its first lead of the game at 5-4.

Stark then entered his first varsity mound appearance of the season, retired six of the seven batters he faced over the final two innings -- pitching around a lead-off walk to Burland in the seventh -- to record his first save and give the win to Andrew Sauer, who gave up a hit and an earned run with a strikeout in an inning and two-thirds.

It also was a disappointing end to the first varsity start of Lewis, who got a late start to the season while helping GAC's basketball team to a state title, but threw well, scattering six hits and just one earned run while striking out five in five innings.

"He pitched a couple innings a (junior varsity) game just to get him some work, so we didn't know what to expect (Saturday)," GAC coach Cliff Shelton said of the 6-foot-5 junior right-hander. "He exceeded our expectations. As a matter of fact, we were concerned who was going to be our third starter. ... We don't have that question any more.

"We don't score enough runs to give (opponents) a lot of extra outs. We just don't. We give extra outs, we're going to lose. Our guys know that. They work hard to do the best they can, but that's just part of the game."

Bone finished the day with two walks to go along with the three-run double, while Jones was 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI and Sam Carver was 2-for-2 with a sacrifice bunt.

Burland led GAC with two walks and a hit batsman to go along with his RBI single, while Miller was 2-for-3 and drove in a run and Rafe Chapple added an infield single and a sacrifice bunt.