ACWORTH — Allatoona got dominant pitching performances from Logan McGuire and Fisher Paulsen to sweep Sequoyah in the opening round of the Class AAAAAA state playoffs Thursday at Buccaneer Field.
McGuire needed only 84 pitches to post a two-hit complete game for a 6-1 victory in Game 1, while Paulsen threw 88 pitches in Game 2, giving up four hits in a 6-0 complete-game win.
The series sweep means the Buccaneers will host Winder-Barrow and the Bulldoggs’ elite shortstop, Brady House, in Round 2.
“This will be a final four, state championship-type of matchup,” Allatoona coach Keith Hansen said.
Sequoyah gave Allatoona a taste of what it might be like against Winder-Barrow, with strong pitching outings of its own from Ryder Moye and Adam Brooks.
The Buccaneers jumped out early in Game 1, getting three runs in the first inning behind RBI singles from Will Mosley and Ethan Sutton, but Moye settled down and did not allow another hit until a two-out single in the fifth.
Allatoona opened the bottom of the sixth inning with a single from Sutton and an RBI double from Jackson McElvy to knock Moye from the game. Hunter Paulsen added an RBI single off reliever T.J. Murphy to close the scoring.
That was more than enough for McGuire, who pitched what may have been his most efficient game of the season, getting ahead of hitters early with his fastball. It took a few innings for his breaking pitches to settle in, but after they did, McGuire closed the game with 11 strikeouts and retired the side in order the last four innings.
“I threw three days ago, and my breaking ball was the best it had ever been,” McGuire said. “(Thursday), I didn’t have it, but I was able to pitch off my fastball. About the third inning, I was able to find my breaking stuff, and I was able to pitch off my slider.”
Sequoyah got its only run of the series in the third inning when Brayden Campbell walked and scored on an RBI single by Porter Burns.
Seeing what his teammate did in the opener, Fisher Paulsen said it gave him a little extra spark to make sure he started Game 2 the way McGuire ended Game 1. Paulsen struck out five of his first seven hitters, including striking out the side in the second inning.
“I got the ball the next game,” said Paulsen, who finished with eight strikeouts. “(After watching McGuire), I kind of had big shoes to fill. It’s kind of like a competition. You can’t let him one up you.
“My curveball was on, and my two-seamer was running all night. It was running where no one was touching it.”
Only twice did a Sequoyah runner get as far as second base in nightcap, with the Chiefs’ biggest scoring threat coming in the seventh when Kolby Kimberely and Ty Moores had two-out singles, but Paulsen induced a grounder to third to get out of the inning.
The Buccaneers took a 1-0 lead in the second after Mosely opened the inning with a double to center and came home on a sacrifice fly by Haden Soley.
That was the only run Allatoona scored off Brooks until the fifth when Ben Crowley walked and came around to score on an RBI single from Brett Blomquist.
The Buccaneers took advantage of four errors over the last two innings to push across four more runs. Soley, who was 3-for-3 and drove in three in Game 2, singled in the sixth and went to second on a throwing error. He came around on Sutton’s RBI single to make it 3-0.
In the seventh, a walk and two errors loaded the bases. With two outs, Hunter Paulsen walked, and then Soley followed with a two-run single to right.