Blue Devils top Troup to advance to state finals

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Pierce Ressmeyer hit a two-run homer in the first and Avery Seckinger went the distance, throwing a four-hitter, to lead Columbus to a 7-1 win over Troup on Tuesday at Randy Jordan Field to win game three of their GHSA Class AAA semifinal series and advance to the state championship.

Ressmeyer's shot to left center staked the Blue Devils to a lead they would never relinquish, and was the big hit in a three-run first.

J.T. Phillips also had a good day at the plate, going 2-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI.

Ressmeyer made one mistake all afternoon, which was topped by a Troup baserunning blunder that cancelled it out.

Dalton Hadley hit what appeared to be a two-run homer with two outs in the fourth inning. But while being mobbed by his teammates in the celebration, Hadley failed to touch home plate. The Blue Devils appealed, and the plate umpire ruled Hadley out, nullifying one of the two runs.

"It was Jackson Wells in the dugout," said catcher Pierce Ressmeyer. "We always tell the dugout to keep watching the game, stay focused during the whole game, and that paid off right there with Jackson calling that one."

Wells said the credit belonged elsewhere.

"Really, it was our trainer, Rachelle (Weisenburger)," the junior infielder said. "She pointed it out to me and then I told Coach Howard. It was the turning point in the game, that's for sure."

The play killed any momentum the Tigers had built up in their comeback attempt.

The Blue Devils iced the game in the seventh inning on a two-run pinch-double by Tony Dalponte and an RBI double by Keith Sims.

Meanwhile, Seckinger held the Tigers at bay, tossing that four-hitter with three strikeouts. He credited the big opening inning with giving him a chance to settle down in his first start in over a month.

"The three runs in the first inning really helped me get comfortable out there and let me pitch with a lead," said Seckinger, "so I just worked on my stuff. I didn't have to worry about my team getting runs for me."

"I felt like my control was there," he added. "I don't know if my velocity was there as much as it has been during the season, but definitely my control and my off-speed was there."

"The whole key was Seckinger," said head coach Bobby Howard. "I thought we had a lot of chances early to put them away and didn't, but that was just more credit to Avery. He just kept going back out there and wouldn't give into them."

The Blue Devils will play at Ringgold for the state title. The Tigers beat Gainesville 11-3 in their own game three on Tuesday to earn the right to host the finals.

According to the GHSA schedule, the series-opening doubleheader is supposed to be played on Saturday, but that's the day Columbus High's graduation ceremony is scheduled.

The series will likely begin on Monday with the if-game on Tuesday, but the final schedule is not expected to be announced until Wednesday morning at the earliest.

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