Gatewood scored early and held on late as the Gators from Eatonton took a 7-3 victory over the Bulloch Academy Gators Tuesday afternoon.
Each squad used four pitchers and shuffled players around to try and solidify their rosters in the glorified practice, which was the final regular-season game for both teams prior to the first round of the GISA state playoffs.
Gatewood, the second seed from Region 1-AA, hosts the Westwood Wildcats of Camilla, the third seed from Region 3-AA, this weekend in a best two-of-three series.
Bulloch, the second seed from Region 4-AAA, hosts the Mount de Sales Cavaliers of Macon, the third seed from Region 2-AAA. The opening game of the series will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday with the second game to follow. If a third game is needed, it will be held Saturday starting at noon.
On Tuesday, GW scored two in the first, two in the second and three in the fourth for the win.
Down 4-0 going into the bottom of the third, Bulloch (12-7) scored three runs to pull within striking distance.
In the inning, Mathew Blitch singled to right, Bailey Smith was hit by a pitch and Loy Waters singled to shallow left to load the bases with one out. Harrison Averitt blasted a hot shot to first which ricocheted off the first baseman’s glove and into foul territory. Blitch scored easily and Smith raced home and slid in under the tag. With two outs, Hobby Mills singled to right, scoring Waters but Averitt was tagged out at the plate.
GW retaliated with three in the top of the fourth.
In the fifth, Smith singled to right center, stole second and advanced to third on a ground out. But he was caught sliding into home on Averitt’s suicide squeeze. Jarret Humphries singled and Mills was hit by a pitch to load the bases by Smith Reeves was called out on a close play at first to end the inning.