Photo: Karl L. Moore Parkview's Jarrett Hood (28) is congratulated by head coach Chan Brown after hitting a 3-run home run in the bottom of the 7th to beat Etowah during Monday's state playoff game at Parkview.
LILBURN -- All Parkview needed was a single. Instead, Jarrett Hood made sure the Panthers went out with a bang.
With the score tied 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh inning and one out, and runners at first and second base, Hood unloaded on a 1-0 fastball and hit a laser to left for a three-run homer that gave the Panthers a 6-3 win over Etowah on Monday night in the third and deciding game of its first-round Class AAAAAA playoff series.
Hood's homer sends the Panthers to the second round, where they will host Peachtree Ridge on Wednesday.
"Coach just told me to stay back and make him pitch me a fastball," said Hood, who finished the day 3-for-3 with two doubles, one walk, a home run and three RBIs with one run. "I lucked up and he gave me one. I was just hoping the ball was going to get down so (the left fielder) wouldn't catch it."
Hood's homer came off of Bryan White, who came in the game in relief of starter Joey Hume in the sixth inning. White was the winning pitcher in Game 1, but his earlier appearance gave Hood an advantage on already having seen him throw.
"He had slowed up a little bit (since Friday) and I kind of knew what he was going to throw me," Hood said.
The first six innings were a back-and-forth affair with Parkview (22-7) taking the lead in the bottom of the fourth off a long solo homer to right from Josh Hart. Hart finished 2-for-3 with one RBI and one run.
Etowah (18-11) bounced back in the top of the fifth with two runs when the Eagles finally got to starter Hunter Thornton with a pair of solo home runs from Destin Porche and Noah Karst.
Thornton, who normally is the starting catcher for Parkview, delivered five strong innings with two runs on just three hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
"Today we wanted to give the ball to one of our seniors who's been through all the wars and (Thornton) showed up today," Parkview head coach Chan Brown said. "He did a heck of a job for us."
After Etowah took the lead 2-1, the Panthers came right back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth to reclaim the lead.
Rob Youngblood led off the inning with a double to left center and was moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from Sam McCoy. Coach Brown then went to his bench and called Zach Langley in to pinch hit, who delivered a sacrifice fly to right to tie the score at 2-2.
Ryan Blanton, who finished 2-for-4, then gave the Panthers a 3-2 lead with a solo homer to center, but as it did all series, Etowah fought back in its next at-bat.
In the sixth, Thornton was replaced on the mound by Mac Marshall, but the lefty was greeted rudely when the first hitter he faced in William Campbell tied it at 3-3 with a solo shot to center, his second homer in the series.
Marshall wouldn't last much longer as he walked two of the next three, prompting coach Brown to bring in Sam McCoy.
McCoy put out the fire in the sixth and set down the side in order in the seventh, leaving the door open for Hood's winning blast.
McCoy, who was also the winning pitcher in relief of Game 2, improved his record to 5-1.
"Sam has been there all year for us," Brown said of his side-arming righty. "Some of the guys were saying that he wouldn't be effective because Etowah was used to seeing that because their first-base coach throws like him and has pitched batting practice to them. He got hit a little in the first game but kept it down in the last two games."
Thanks to that effort, and Hood's heroics, the defending state champions are still alive.
"I'm proud of these kids because they just fought and fought and fought all series and found a way to win," Brown said. "Etowah came in here ready to play and have a heck of a baseball team and should be proud of what they accomplished this year."