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No place like home: ELCA to host first GHSA playoff

By Doug Gorman

It's hard to beat the same team three times in one season.

The Eagle's Landing Christian Academy baseball team apparently didn't get the message.

Saturday afternoon in the third meeting this year between the Chargers and region foe Mt. Paran, ELCA won the biggest contest of them all.

Trailing 5-3 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, the Chargers scored five times, and then held off Mt. Paran's rally attempted in the top of the seventh, complete with a game-ending double play to secure the 8-5 win.

The victory gives the Chargers second place in the Region 5-A standings, and guarantees them that they will be home in the first round next week's Class A GHSA playoffs. The second-place finish in the region comes in the team's first season as a member of the GHSA.

"This is pretty amazing," said head coach Joe Shadowens. "We weren't really sure what to expect this season , we just wanted to make a good showing and try to hold our own."

The Chargers' baseball team made the jump from GISA to GHSA with just two seniors. Micah Usry, a four-year member of the baseball program, and Zach Werho, a transfer this year from Jonesboro, are closing out their high school seasons, by contributing to the team's playoff run.

"I can't say enough about what these two have met to this team," Shadowens said.

Usry singled and Werho walked in the sixth to help pace the Chargers' five-run inning. The sixth inning wasn't the only time the Chargers' needed a rally.

Mt. Paran started the game by scoring two runs in the top of the first inning.

Eagle's Landing Christian tied the game with two runs in the bottom of the third inning.

Werho and Bradley Eady each singled and scored in the inning to ignite the Chargers' offense. A single by Satterfield scored Werho. Christian White reach base to score Eady.

The game stayed tied until the fifth inning when Mt. Paran scored three times to take a 5-2 lead.

Eagle's Landing Christian added a run fifth when Satterfield singled and scored after the Mt. Paran outfielder mishandled the ball on a single by White. White landed at second on the play, and the Chargers cut the lead to 5-3 by the end of the inning.

The Chargers' offense exploded in the sixth with everything falling into place for ELCA, including a two-out rally.

Usry's and Brian Moss singled, and Luke Caison execute a perfect bunt to move both runners over. and even though Jon Kirkland grounded out, a run scored on the play to cut the lead to 5-4.

Then with two-outs, the momentum shifted ELCA's way.

Werho and Eady walked and scored on a two-base error that allowed Satterfield to take second. Then, White and Campbell came up with key RBI singles to help push the Chargers into the lead for good.

Mt. Paran's rally attempt was short lived in the top of the seventh. Despite getting its lead-off man on board with a single, a pop up and a double play ended the game, and secured the Chargers second-place finish in Region 5-A.

Eagle's Landing Christian is expected to play Georgia Military High School in the first round of the playoffs in the best-of-three series.

Two games are set for Friday, with the third and deciding contest set for Saturday. Starting time for both games will be announced later in the week