Payton Smith Pitches Fifth Place Roswell Past Second Place Milton
Sophomore hurler pitches complete game.
Thanks to starting pitcher Payton Smith, Good Friday turned into great Friday for the Roswell baseball team.
The fifth place Hornets desperately needed a win against second place Milton to keep their playoff hopes alive and behind a brilliant performance from Smith, Roswell got the much needed win.
The rocket armed sophomore starter threw a complete game seven-hitter as Roswell dominated the host Eagles 7-1. With the win, Roswell (5-5, 11-11) now only sits a half a game behind Milton, Alpharetta and Centennial for the final playoff spot in Region 6-AAAAA. The top four teams qualify for the playoffs – North Forsyth currently sits alone in first with a 5-3 record while Milton, Alpharetta and Centennial are tied for second at 5-4.
"It was a big win," Roswell coach Mike Power said afterward. "We didn't play well yesterday [a 13-7 loss to Alpharetta] and we needed to come back today and have a good effort and we did."
Smith was pretty much untouchable for the entire game. Milton sent only four batters to the plate in six of the game's seven innings. Two Eagle hitters – Scott Slappy and freshman Dalton Ewing – combined for six of Milton's seven hits.
"Payton Smith threw a hell of a game," Power said of his sophomore starter. "He was getting ahead of all of the hitters. He was pounding the strike zone, changing speeds, I thought he dominated both sides of the plate."
Smith [pictured right] got all the run support he would need in the top of the first when Roswell managed to get two runs in. Chad Woodhead and Andrew Chester both crossed the plate for the Hornets, Woodhead scored on a Kurt Kaiser sacrifice.
Roswell would tack on two more in the second inning and three in the fourth to give Smith a nice cushion.
Milton starter Jason Richman held his own in the game, but his defense struggled behind him. The Eagles committed seven errors on the day; only two of Roswell's seven runs were earned.
Richman surrendered both earned runs before being relieved in the top of the fourth by Matt Phillips.
Chad Woodhead and Connor Johnstone had the only multi-hit games for the Hornets. Both batters hit two singles in 2-for-3 performances. Johnstone scored two of Roswell's seven runs.
Smith, who got the win, struck out three and only walked two.
Heading into the final week of the regular season, both teams control their playoff destinies. Milton will most likely need to win two of three to qualify – they play North Forsyth, West Forsyth and Centennial.
Roswell will close with Northview and North Forsyth. The Hornets will probably need two wins to get in, but a 1-1 showing could do it.