WOODSTOCK — Preston Gunnell’s sacrifice fly scored Gabe Wuerth and pushed Woodstock to a 2-1 win against South Forsyth on Thursday in the decisive third game of the second-round Class AAAAAAA state tournament.

The Wolverines (26-8) earned their seventh win in nine games and advanced to the state quarterfinals for the third time in the last four complete seasons to play North Paulding in Dallas.

The series will begin with a doubleheader Tuesday, with a third game Wednesday, if necessary.

“I feel great. We scored just enough to win,” Woodstock coach Jeff Brown said. “Kevin Maurer did a great job on the mound and kept South Forsyth off-balance the whole game. He was just able to throw a lot of strikes and did exactly what we needed him to do.”

Maurer pitched a complete game, giving up four hits and one run.

“It’s always good to have a momentum win right there at the end. It definitely feels good making it to the elite eight,” Brown said. “Any team that is left is going to be tough competition, and it is exciting to be able to keep playing baseball next week.”

Woodstock scored its first run in the second inning with an RBI single from Andrew Ianitello to bring in Lawton Bowers.

South Forsyth (22-14) tied the game in the top of the third inning with a RBI single from Mitchell Thompson to score Jacob Bateman. Woodstock followed with Gunnell’s sacrifice fly.

“We’ve got 12 seniors this year, and they have given us everything they have had for the last four years,” Brown said. “I feel bad they weren’t able to finish their season last year due to COVID-19, but they have taken advantage of it this year to be able to keep playing baseball.”


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