Parkview’s Andrew Dorminey (18) reacts after Lambert’s Seth Beer (8) hits a solo home run during the seventh inning in Game 1 of Monday’s Class AAAAAA semifinal game at Parkview. (Photo: Kyle Hess)
LILBURN — The big inning has been Parkview’s trademark throughout the Class AAAAAA state baseball playoffs.
But despite several chances, the Panthers couldn’t put together any extended rallies during their state semifinal doubleheader against Lambert.
The visiting Longhorns got clutch pitching from four hurlers, including starters J.D. Dutka and Dylan Biumi, and even more clutch defense to post wins of 3-1 and 4-2 to sweep their way into the state championship series Monday at Hugh Buchanan Field.
“We squandered away a lot of opportunities,” Parkview coach Chan Brown said after his team’s season came to an end at 29-7. “We made some uncharacteristic mistakes we haven’t made this year. It was (Lambert’s) day, and they’re a good ball club. They took advantage of some walks and they got the big hits and we didn’t.”
Mac Marshall (9-1) pitched a solid game in the opener, scattering six hits and two earned runs with six strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings.
But an RBI single by Jake Chickowski in the top of the first and Tucker Maxwell’s solo homer in the fifth put the senior left-hander and the Panthers into a hole.
Parkview did answer with Brandon Hill’s solo homer to lead off the bottom of the second, which tied the game 1-1 at the time.
But Dutka (10-1), who is normally not Lambert’s Game 1 pitcher, managed to keep the Panthers from erupting for the big inning that they and their fans have become accustomed to during the postseason.
“All four guys we threw (Monday) did their job,” Lambert coach Jamie Corr said after his team improved to 34-1. “Just calling time out and going out there and trying to settle (the team) down, and it’s very comforting when I get out there, and they don’t need to be settled. They’re calm, they’re poised, and we just know that if we keep making routine plays, we’re going to get out of it.”
Dutka, who transferred from North Gwinnett over the summer, rose to the occasion, clinging to a one-run lead when it looked like Parkview might put together such a rally in the bottom of the sixth, though the junior right-hander had a little help from his defense on a play that was far from routine.
Daino Deas jumped on Dutka’s first pitch for a single into centerfield and moved to second when Michael Craig lashed a single off the glove off third baseman Chris Cummings.
But the Lambert junior came up with a huge play when Isiah Gilliam went with a pitch on the outer half of the plate and sent another smash down the third-base line that appeared to be ticketed for the left-field corner and extra bases,.
Cummings, who was already positioned slightly towards the line, ranged to his right and snagged the liner for the crucial first out of the inning.
“That was hard,” Cummings admitted. “(But) I was looking at the (spray charts) on the wall (of the dugout), and it shows where (Gilliam) hits it. It showed he hits the ball all over the field.”
Then, after Dutka got Jordan Kelly to fly out to center, Hill’s grounder to second looked like it might turn into an inning-extending error when the throw bounced over to first.
But first baseman Ian Kimbrell made the scoop to record the third out, and keep the Longhorns up 2-1.
Seth Beer then gave Lambert a little breathing room with his solo homer off reliever Andrew Dorminey in the top of the seventh, and Dutka pitched out of another jam after Parkview brought the tying run to the plate with one out in the bottom of the inning to preserve the Game 1 win.
The Panthers had several more chances in the nightcap against Biumi (10-0), especially in the first inning, when Deas led off with a double and went to third on Gilliam’s single to left.
But Deas was cut down at the plate after trying to score when the throw in towards the plate skipped away, and Parkview eventually left four runners stranded in the first three innings.
Still, Christian Vann (5-5) also did his share of stranding Lambert runners.
And the Panthers gave him a 1-0 lead on Austin Biggar’s sacrifice fly to deep center in the fourth, though the lead could have been more with Jim Wagner still on second with only one out.
But Biumi struck out David Draper and Trevor Brown to get out of the jam, which was rewarded when Lambert struck for Kyle McCann’s RBI single and Trey Logan’s sacrifice fly to give the Longhorns a 2-1 lead.
Once again, it looked like Parkview might be in line for a big inning after Deas led off the fifth with a solo homer that tied the game at 2-2, with Craig following with an infield single and Gilliam drawing a walk.
But Craig was picked off during an unsuccessful sacrifice bunt by Kelly, and Biumi struck out Hill and Jim Wagner to keep the game even.
Chickowski then put Lambert back in front with his two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the inning, and relievers Thomas Redden and Turner Scruggs set down six of Parkview’s final seven hitters to close out the game, and the series.
Deas finished the day 3-for-7 to lead the Panthers, while Gilliam was 3-for-5 and Hill was 2-for-5.