UPDATE Monday morning: Game 2 location changed by the GIAA Sunday.
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – A minor league ballpark could not contain Jackson Thomas Saturday.
The big John Milledge Academy senior blasted a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the second that easily traveled 350 feet, and would have gone much further if not for the high-rise apartments beyond SRP Park’s left-field fence. The residents of the apartment Thomas bombed even came outside to see what was going on. It kickstarted the Trojans as they went on to defeat Pinewood Christian Academy 6-0 to take Game 1 of the GIAA Class AAA championship series.
Thomas also got the ball to start Saturday’s Game 1, and never gave it up. He pitched all seven innings and struck out six while allowing only two hits, both of which by the same Pinewood batter. The John Milledge gloves played well behind him, committing no errors in the championship opener.
The solo homer stood as the game’s only run until the bottom of the fourth. Briggs Eady was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame and stole second before being bunted over to third by catcher Brady Rollins. Thomas’ turn in the order came around again, and again he produced. This time it was an RBI double to left off Pinewood ace and TCU signee, Jax Lewis. Blake Bellflower got the first of his two hits to make it 3-0 after four played.
The defending state champion Trojans grabbed a little more insurance in the sixth even though it wasn’t needed.
Pinewood is now in a very precarious position facing a 1-0 deficit in the series and their top arm having already thrown 113 pitches. League rules allow hurlers 120 pitches per series, so Lewis is nearly done. JMA head coach Chad Starley, meanwhile, has options moving forward.
The best-of-three series now shifts to the Georgia School for Innovation & Classics (GSIC) Monday at 2 p.m. The GIAA championships were supposed to be wrapped up Saturday, but Thursday’s rain in the Augusta area wreaked havoc with the schedule. The Trojans and Patriots meet for Game 2 at the aforementioned time Monday with Game 3 to follow, if necessary.