Pinecrest Academy entered Thursday’s game against Gilmer at No. 22 in the latest GHSA Class A Power Rating. With Gilmer being the Paladins’ final regular season game, Pinecrest needed to make a statement to try to stay within the top 24 teams who will qualify for the state playoffs.
The Paladins made a statement, loud and clear.
Pinecrest senior Ryan McCarthy went 5-for-5 with a home run and three doubles, and the Paladins cruised to an 11-4.
“We knew what we needed to do today,” Pinecrest head coach Ryan Weingart said.
Pinecrest accumulated a total of 13 hits, five of which came from McCarthy. The Citadel football signee punished Bobcat pitchers with three doubles and home run.
However, if the fence at Father’s Field was 10 feet in, McCarthy would’ve had four home runs.
“I think he missed those three home runs by an accumulative two feet,” Weingart said. “And he did all that with a wood bat. I bet you no other player could do that.”
Along with McCarthy, junior catcher Micky Mangan went 2-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs.
“We are a very young team,” Weingart said. “It’s huge to see our younger guys play really well.”
The youth showed as Pinecrest had freshman Caleb Bohn take the mound. Bohn went for six innings allowing three runs on five hits and striking out two to earn the win.
Bohn’s strong outing has now given Pinecrest a chance to make the playoffs in the GHSA for the first time in school history.
“It’s huge to have a chance to possibly make state,” Weingart said. “The program in the time before I came here, and even for some time while I was here, wasn’t very good. We had one good year back in (2014), but we fell short. It’s big for these seniors to have the possibility to lay down a foundation here.”
“We want to leave our legacy,” senior second baseman John Reed said, “and we know with the talented youth on this team we can build a new foundation – a foundation of winning.”
Pinecrest will now wait for the final Power Ratings state rankings to see their fate. In the meantime, the Paladins finished the regular season 12-12.