Every baseball player has dreamed of being at the plate with runners in scoring position, facing a full count and a chance to win the game.
In Denmark’s winner-take-all game against North Gwinnett on Thursday, Teddy Davenport got to live out the moment. He said he thought about nothing other than doing his job and getting the winning run in.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Davenport drove the ball deep into center field, breaking a tie and scoring the game-winning runs in Denmark’s 7-3 win to send the Danes to the Elite Eight.
“I feel like I’m seeing it well,” Davenport said. “But really it’s our whole line up right now. We’re locked in.”
After pitching six innings in Wednesday night's game two against North Gwinnett, Smaran Ramanathan knew that the game would be his in the seventh inning to get the save.
“They come to me and say what they have available before the game,” Denmark coach Jamie Corr said. “[Ramanathan] said he definitely had the single-inning close if we needed him.”
The inning went by easily for Ramanathan, getting three quick outs and collecting the save.
“I knew I was going in,” Ramanathan said. “Tried to get my mind straight and I knew if I just made my pitches, the defense was gonna play behind me. Game threes are always tough, and you have to rely on the entire team.”
North Gwinnett took an early 2-0 lead off of a Tyler Hower single that drove in two runs. Using that momentum, starting pitcher Jackson Abernathy kept Denmark hitless through the first two innings.
“The key to a game three is to get ahead,” Corr said. “Strike first and put doubt in the other team’s mind. North Gwinnett did that and could have sent us into a lull.”
However, Ramanathan, Harry Harris and Drew Clare pitched in relief, allowing only one run through five innings on a Tyler Bak single in the top of the sixth to tie the game 3-3. Despite allowing the run, Clare earned the win for the Danes.
The Danes mustered only five hits in the winning effort, but drew seven walks and two hit batsmen. Connor McGinn added two huge insurance runs off a single after Davenport’s sixth-inning double.
Denmark advances to the Class 7A Elite Eight, where they will travel to Parkview and battle the baseball powerhouse for a spot in the Final Four.
Corr knows a thing or two about coaching against Parkview. The last time Corr took a team to Parkview in the state tournament, it was the semifinals for Lambert in 2014. All Corr’s team did was sweep the Panthers and go on to win a state championship.
“We know we’re going to a hostile environment,” Corr said. “It does create an energized atmosphere that provides a great high school baseball experience.”
The next round will start Tuesday.