Metter Tigers are state champs

By Selby Cody-Voss, The Metter Advertiser

History was made two weekends ago! The Metter High Tiger Baseball Team took it all in a best-of-three series this past weekend against Gordon Lee, winning the title of GHSA Class A State Champs!

This was a true match-up of David and Goliath as the Tigers, with 13 players, faced off against the much larger and more seasoned Gordon Lee team of Chickamauga.

Gordon Lee, a five-time state champion, proved to be a worthy and fierce opponent, but the Tigers pulled out and secured the win in a close “if” game on Saturday.

“We played tough,” said Tiger Head Coach Zach Rackett. “I would say our tenacity really stood out.”

The Trojans captured the win in Game 1, despite a valiant seventh-inning effort from the Tigers, winning 7-4.

In Game 2, with Brian Crooms on the mound for the Tigers from the first pitch to the last, Metter claimed a 2-1 win, forcing the “if” game on Saturday.

The final match saw the Tigers rally from a 5-2 deficit with a four-run inning to take a 6-5 lead, which they held to secure the win -- and the title!

Friday’s double-header and Saturday’s championship game were all played at the Historic Grayson Stadium in Savannah, and the Tiger fans were out in large numbers to cheer their team on.

“Looking at the players, coaches, people in this community, parents of these players, my wife, my parents and in-laws and just seeing the joy and happiness they had was a moment I will never forget,” Rackett said.

The experience, said Rackett, was “humbling. I am just happy for the community.

“These are likable, talented kids who, as we progressed, grew closer as a team. They were a close-knit group, but going through this season, I saw them grow closer. Our last meeting on Friday night in the hotel, I saw a group (that was) 100 percent bought into winning for each other just watching basketball, relaxed and happy. You could tell there was nowhere else in the world they wanted to be.”

“It was so wonderful how the community stepped up and came out to support this team and these coaches,” said Metter High Athletic Director Vicki Bowen. “It was all so unbelievable.”

Bowen received the State Championship trophy on behalf of the Tigers from Candler County Farm Bureau Agency Manager Ron Rushing. Georgia Farm Bureau is the official sponsor of the Georgia High School Association Sports.

Rackett acknowledged the Tigers’ support network during the season, including assistant coaching staff members Skyler Smith, Parker Gordon, Riley Kingery and Nick Waters. “They deserve a lot of credit,” he said. “They poured into these kids and the program.

“When you have a superintendent like Dr. (Bubba) Longgrear, who your players knew would do anything for them if it would allow them more success, it made things easier. The administration went above and beyond. Dr. (Robbie) Dollar and Mr. (Ronnie) Doolittle, who is director of baseball operations, were at almost every game. We had strong support from our Principal, Ellis Strobridge and, of course, our Athletic Director, Vicki Bowen, who has shown her support and love for this community, as well as Assistant Athletic Director Eric McNair.

“I also want to recognize all the parents and specifically the fathers in this community that coached these boys growing up and poured so much time into their baseball skills. It ultimately produced a State Championship for our community.

Game 1

The first game, which started at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 21, saw Gordon Lee run away with an early lead. The Tigers fell behind early and couldn’t catch up in the 7-4 loss.

Gordon Lee got on board in the second inning when Griffin Collins singled on the first pitch, scoring one run.

The Trojans added four runs in the sixth inning with two singles by Jacob Neal and Brody Cobb.

Jake Poindexter was credited with the Gordon Lee victory. The pitcher went six and two-thirds innings, allowing four runs on five hits and striking out ten. Brodie Genter threw one-third of an inning in relief out of the bullpen.

John Luke Glanton took the loss for Metter. Glanton went five and a third innings, allowing seven runs on ten hits and striking out two.

Glanton, Antoine Deloach, Brian Crooms, Rustan Rigdon and Kyzer Anthony each had one hit to lead the Tigers.

Gordon Lee tallied 11 hits with Brody Cobb, Jake Poindexter and Nate Dundee collecting multiple hits.

Game 2

Metter defeated Gordon Lee 2-1 in the second game on Friday in a low-scoring affair.

Both teams were strong on the mound. Gordon Lee fired up their offense in the first inning when Brody Cobb singled on a 1-0 count, scoring one run.

However, the Tigers pulled away for good with two runs in the third inning when John Luke Glanton singled on a 1-2 count, scoring one run, and an error scored one run.

Brian Crooms earned the victory for the Tigers. The pitcher surrendered one run on two hits over seven innings, striking out 11.

Bo Rhudy took the loss for Gordon Lee. Rhudy surrendered two runs on three hits over seven innings, striking out nine and walking zero.

John Luke Glanton, Reese Hadden and Reco Coney each managed one hit to lead the Tigers. Metter didn’t commit a single error in the field. Glanton had the most chances in the field with 11.

Game 3

In the nail-biter of a tie-breaker, the Tigers stole the lead late in the game, securing a 6-5 victory over Gordon Lee and taking the State Championship.

Gordon Lee took an early lead in the second inning by scoring three runs. Jake Poindexter hit a single. Jacob Neal drew a walk, scoring one run.

Freshman Rustan Rigdon pitched Metter to victory. Rigdon went four innings, allowing two runs on three hits, striking out four and walking one.

Riley King started the game for Gordon Lee. King surrendered four runs on six hits over four and a third innings, striking out six.

Brodie Genter took the loss for the Trojans. The pitcher lasted one-third of an inning, allowing two hits and two runs while walking zero.

Rustan Rigdon led the Metter Tigers with two hits in three at bats. Gordon Lee tallied six hits.

Tiger parade

The community was invited to come out and celebrate with the State Champion Metter Tigers on Thursday afternoon, May 27. A Tiger parade began at 4 p.m, following the usual parade route from the library through downtown Metter. The Tigers then assembled in the downtown park to talk with fans.

Souvenir t-shirts

To celebrate this historic state championship, Metter Graphics is selling souvenir t-shirts. The shirts can be pre-ordered at (under the “Metter Baseball” tab). Shirts are $16 each ($19 for 2XL and 3XL).

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