ROCKMART — The Rockmart Yellow Jackets are Macon-bound after rallying late Wednesday in Game 3 of the Class AA Final Four round for a 7-5 win over Callaway.
Rockmart head coach Kenny Yanzetich said this was the Jackets’ first Final Four series win, and the first time he knew that the team would play for a state championship.
"I'm excited for the kids. This is incredible," Yanzetich said. "These guys don't quit. They've worked hard for us and made a decision to play together as a team this year."
Patience won out for Rockmart's batters in the top of the seventh as they sparked a rally with Reed Couch getting a lucky bounce on a ball for an RBI that cut the visiting Cavaliers’ advantage to 5-3.
Sam Sanders and Cole Deems drew walks before Andrew Morris hit a two-out, two-run single to tie the game. CJ Culver later made it to third on a hit that pushed two more runs across to give the Jackets the lead.
The dramatic night ended with one more trip to the mound for Rockmart junior Ty Floyd, who came on in relief in the bottom of the frame after throwing a no-hitter in Game 2 on Tuesday. Floyd got a batter to pop out to third and closed the game with a pair of strikeouts to send the Jackets to the championship.
Yanzetich said that it was the combo of good at-bats for Sanders, Deems, Morris and Culver back-to-back that won the series for Rockmart.
"We've got to get right back to work," Yanzetich said.
Rockmart (28-9) will play Jeff Davis in the best-of-three Class AA championship series after the team from Hazelhurst took a 13-12 win over Bleckley County in Game 3 of their series on Wednesday.
The series will be held at Luther Williams Field in Macon beginning Monday with a doubleheader starting at 5 p.m. If Game 3 is necessary it will be played Wednesday, also in Macon.
Rockmart faced Jeff Davis (30-6) in the Elite Eight of the 2017 Class AA state playoffs and was knocked out of contention.
The Jackets used four pitchers Wednesday night to outlast Callaway, starting with Griffin Pace who gave up three runs in the third inning before Luke Queen came in to try and clean up, but only got in a pair of walks before Logan Shelton took over.
Evan Ratcliffe got Rockmart on the board in the bottom of the second inning with a two-run double, and the Jackets didn't score again until their late-game rally, allowing Callaway to take a 5-2 lead.