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Conn pitches Peachtree Ridge past Mountain View

Posted on Apr. 12, 2018 - 8:00am

Peachtree Ridge's Logan Conn notched his seventh win of the season in pitching the Lions to a 3-1 win over host Mountain View in Region 6-AAAAAAA baseball on Wednesday.

Conn went five innings and allowed three hits while Grayson Duffy earned his seventh save in the victory.

Ashton Shepherd led the offense with three hits, drove in a pair and scored a run. Ben Mottet also added three hits, was hit by a pitch, scored a run and stole a base, while teammate Kohl Nguyen contributed two hits and drove in a run for Peachtree Ridge (21-5, 11-3).

Dominic Canale took the loss for the Bears (16-9, 8-6). Canale went six innings and yielded eight hits and three earned runs while striking out five. Chase Chaney had a double and scored Mountain View's only run when Matthew Lee connected on one of his two hits.

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Peachtree Ridge edges Cherokee at East Cobb

Posted on Apr. 8, 2018 - 9:00am

Peachtree Ridge rode a complete game from starting pitcher Jack Rasmussen and topped Cherokee 4-3 on Saturday.

Rasmussen picked up his sixth win of the season and allowed zero earned runs in his start.

The Lions were tied 2-2 when Ashton Shepherd drew a leadoff walk, moved to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on a bunt from Kohl Nguyen. Shepherd scored when Nguyen tried to steal and the throw sailed. Reeve Holley delivered a pinch-hit RBI single to give the Lions (20-4, 10-2) a 4-2 lead.

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Pitching, added confidence have Peachtree Ridge surging in the 6-AAAAAAA baseball standings

Posted on Mar. 30, 2018 - 10:00am

In seemingly every high school baseball season, there is at least one team that surprises a lot of observers by making a dramatic jump in wins from the previous season.

On the surface, Peachtree Ridge seems like a good candidate among Gwinnett County’s teams for the 2018 campaign.

At 16-4 overall, the Lions have already surpassed last year’s win total, when they finished a mere 13-18, with still a full month to go in the regular season.

With a 9-2 record in Region 6-AAAAAAA play after Wednesday night’s win at Discovery, they are very much in the hunt for the region championship, locked in a four-way horse race with Mill Creek, defending champion North Gwinnett and Mountain View all within two games of each other.

As big a jump as that is, it hasn’t necessarily come from out of the blue. At least, that’s the way second-year Peachtree Ridge coach Nick Hogan sees it.

“The difference is, I think, it’s just Year 2 (since the coaching change),” Hogan said. “We have a good mix of seniors and sophomores, and some really key juniors that are there. It hasn’t been very pretty wins, but they’ve found a way to get it done when they need to.

“Really, the thing we keep talking about is eventually, we’ve got to hit the baseball.”

The bats perhaps haven’t struggled quite as much as Hogan perceives. The Lions came into Wednesday’s game hitting .294 as a team, with a few players like infielder Riku Wada (.317, 1 HR, 12 RBIs), outfielder Ashton Shepherd (.357, 12 RBIs, .966 OPS) and shortstop/pitcher Jack Rasmussen (.412, 6 RBIs) who have stood out at the plate.

They’ve also been producing runs — about six per game — aided by speeding baserunning that has produced 65 stolen bases heading into Wednesday’s game, equalling the total from all of last season that set a school record, lead by Dominick McIntyre (16 SBs), Ben Mottet (12) and Kohl Nguyen (10).

That all said, pitching has clearly been the key to Peachtree Ridge’s surge this spring, with an impressive team ERA of 1.58.

The three-man starting rotation of right-hander Rasmussen (3-0, 1.62 ERA, 20 K, 26 IP, .229 opponent BA) and lefties Logan Conn (3-0, 1.05 ERA, 18 K, 26 2/3 IP, .163 opponent BA) and Thomas LeMaster (4-2, 1.77 ERA, 21 K, 31 2/3 IP, .198 opponent BA) has done the bulk of the work, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the team’s innings so far this season.

However, the improvement has been seen throughout the pitching staff, which Hogan credits in part to a new, more structured approach set by Tyler Collins, a former assistant under Hogan at Central Gwinnett who took over the Black Knights program last year before rejoining his older mentor this year as his pitching coach.

“Our pitching staff has done an incredible job,” Hogan said. “We added Tyler Collins, who was with me at Central Gwinnett and took over when I left. We’ve got him over here now as our pitching coach and he’s done a fantastic job making sure that the pitchers are getting better every day, and that they have something to do versus just hanging out. He’s got a plan for them and they’ve been executing the plan tremendously.

“At some point, we’re going to have to use the bullpen. Our bullpen has been very, very good, too. When we’ve had to go to them, they’ve held up their end of the bargain. Our starters have done tremendously well with, basically, just competing. Sometimes they’ve got one pitch (working well), sometimes they’ve got two pitches, sometimes they’ve got all three. But they compete on the mound, which is really good.”

The bullpen has, indeed, upheld its part of the bargain over the course of the season, especially Grayson Duffy.

The senior right-hander logged 31 innings primarily as a starter last year, but has transitioned in the closer’s role, where he’s excelled with a 1-1 record with a team-best five saves, a 0.62 ERA, 13 strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings and a .196 opponents batting average in eight relief appearances this season.

Like Hogan, he credits Collins with giving him a different way of approaching his pitching and thinking about it, though he also credits his teammates for giving him opportunities to throw in clutch situations, where he believes he can excel.

“I think there is a big difference,” Duffy said. “(Former pitching) Coach (Jim) Hunter did a great job last year, but there’s been a lot more focus on mechanics here and more pitching drills and workouts compared to past years.

“This year, the team’s been putting us in situations to get the saves. For me, it’s really about the team and trying to keep us in the game. Nothing’s really changed. We were just sent into games that really weren’t close last year.”

The way Duffy has responded to more clutch situations is the same way the rest of the team has responded.

Shepherd, who has seen first how past Peachtree Ridge teams — including older brother Cameron, now an All-SEC infielder at Georgia — have handled their business, said the biggest key has been an increase in the team’s confidence and camaraderie this season.

“I feel like there is a different atmosphere in the locker room and the dugout this year,” Shepherd said. “I feel like everybody’s more energetic, everybody’s more focused. And I think that’s contributing to the showing on the field. I feel like we’re playing a lot better.

“I think if we stick to the plan, stick to our approaches, just keep grinding, keep practicing and trying to get better, I think soon enough it will all work out.”

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Peachtree Ridge 3, Chattahoochee 0

Posted on Apr. 7, 2018 - 11:00pm

Peachtree Ridge shut out Chattahoochee 3-0 on Friday night at East Cobb Baseball Complext in a non-region game.

Logan Conn was the winning pitcher, upping his record to 6-0, while Grayson Duffy picked up the save.

Jack Rasmussen led the offense, going 2-for-2 with an RBI.

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Peachtree Ridge 12, Sequoyah 2 (six innings)

Posted on Apr. 7, 2018 - 11:00pm

Peachtree Ridge topped Sequoyah 12-2 in six innings on Thursday night at East Cobb Baseball Complex in a non-region game.

Thomas LeMaster (5-2) started and threw three hitless innings, giving up no walks, no runs and striking out four to earn the win.

Luke Jones sparked the offense, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs, while Kohl Nguyen was 2-for-3 and drove in two. Ben Mottet also finished 3-for-3 for the Lions (18-4, 10-2).

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Rasmussen's outing helps Peachtree Ridge avoid sweep against North

Posted on Mar.25, 2018 - 10:00pm

SUWANEE — Peachtree Ridge starting pitcher Jack Rasmussen pitched seven innings, allowed five hits and one run to help the Lions avoid a region sweep 5-1 against North Gwinnett Friday night at McDaniel Field at North Gwinnett High School.

The Lion’s (14-4, 7-2) held the Bulldogs (13-5, 5-1) to their lowest run total of the season. Rasmussen held the Bulldogs scoreless through 5 ⅔ innings before Corey Collins drove in Chase McCouloch on a sacrifice fly. That was the only blemish on an otherwise efficient outing.

Peachtree Ridge redeemed Wednesday’s loss at home when the Lions led 1-0 late in the game, but a handful of errors opened the door for the Bulldogs to rally and win 3-1. Wednesday’s experience scared the Lions straight enough to never doubt North’s ability to rally, even up 4-0 after five innings.

“It’s a huge region win, they’re one of the best teams in the nation,” Rasmussen said. “To pull one (of three games), it’s good for us and I think it’s a good morale booster as well.”

North’s Brandt Pancer pitched five innings charged with four runs, two earned, struck out two batters and walked two more.

Peachtree Ridge first threatened in the third inning when Dominick McIntyre reached on a leadoff singles and advanced into scoring position when he stole second. He scored the Lions’ first run on a wild pitch. North nearly tightroped out of the inning turning a double play, but catcher’s interference negated the twin killing. Peachtree Ridge added one more run when Riku Wada drew a bases-loaded walk, but the Bulldogs turned another double play to tightrope out of the inning with two unearned runs.

Still, North advanced three runners into scoring position through seven innings and stranded two of them. North’s otherwise potent lineup was caught off balance by a mixture of Rasmussen’s stuff and his command.

“They’re very aggressive and Jack really took advantage of getting ahead and allowing his control to carry him,” Lions head coach Nick Hogan said. “Not for a minute did I think they were out of it, I thought they were going to have a push at some point, it’s just about whether or not you keep the ball in the ballpark here.”

North’s batter did begin to square up Rasmussen’s pitches late in the game, but none of them found their ways out of the ballpark.

Peachtree Ridge tacked on two runs in the fifth inning on an RBI double from Ashton Shepherd, who scored on single from Kohl Nguyen. Luke Jones drove in Ben Mottet for one more reassuring insurance run in the top of the seventh inning.

“That fifth run was huge with a two-out RBI,” Hogan said. “Shepard had two big hits tonight to keep the game going. Offensively, we were much more in control and much more confident.”

North plays two games at Mountain View next week before returning home Friday night. Peachtree Ridge will return home Monday to host the first of three games against Discovery.

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Peachtree Ridge Sweeps Collins Hill With 6-1 Win

Posted on Mar. 17, 2018 - 2:00pm

SUWANEE — Peachtree Ridge stayed unbeaten in Region 6-AAAAAAA with a 6-1 win at home over Collins Hill on Friday night.

Jack Rasmussen pitched a complete game, allowing one unearned run on five hits with five strikeouts and no walks.

The offense for the Lions (13-2, 6-0) was led by Kohl Nguyen, who went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and one run, while Luke Jones finished with a walk, double and an RBI.

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LeMaster pitches Peachtree Ridge past Collins Hill

Posted on Mar. 13, 2018 - 8:15am

SUWANEE — Thomas LeMaster performed well Monday night, pitching Peachtree Ridge to a 2-0 victory over Collins Hill in Region 6-AAAAAAA play.

LeMaster gave up only two hits in his six innings, striking out four and walking none. Grayson Duffy pitched the seventh for the save.

Luke Jones had a sacrifice fly for the Lions (11-2, 4-0).

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Peachtree Ridge Gets Home Win Over Duluth 4-1

Posted on Mar. 8, 2018 - 10:15am

Peachtree Ridge defeated Duluth 4-1 in Region 6-AAAAAAA on Wednesday.

Logan Conn was the winning pitcher for the Lions (9-2, 2-0). Conn went six innings and allowed four hits and no earned runs. Grayson Duffy came in for the save.

Jack Rasmussen had two hits, drove in a run and stole a base to lead the offense. Matthew Gill added two hits, scored twice and added a sacrifice bunt in the victory.

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Peachtree Ridge Defeats Duluth 14-2

Posted on Mar. 5, 2018 - 7:15am

Peachtree Ridge scored at least one run in six different innings, including four in the top of the seventh, as the Lions pulled away with a 14-2 win at Duluth on Monday in both team’s Region 6-AAAAAAA opener.

Thomas LeMaster (2-1) went five innings for the win, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits.

The Lions (8-2, 1-0) were led on offense by Riku Wada, who went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer and three runs, while Jack Rasmussen was 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs.

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Peachtree Ridge rallies for 7-6 walk-off win over Winder-Barrow

Posted on Feb. 24, 2018 - 9:00am

Peachtree Ridge’s baseball team trailed Winder-Barrow 6-0 after four innings, but rallied to nip the Bulldoggs 7-6 Friday night.

The Lions (5-1) scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth, two in the fifth and received the game-winner with two outs in the seventh on a single by Grayson Duffy.

Luke Jones also went 2-for-3, while Dominick McIntyre had two walks, was hit by a pitch, had a sacrifice bunt, stole two bases and scored twice.

The win went to Luke Beindorf, who recorded the final out in the top of the seventh after Winder-Barrow had loaded the bases.

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